I know there have been a lot of Maryland maps posted on DKE in the past two years. I even remember the time when every single diary on the DKE sidebar was about gerrymandering Maryland. So I’ve decided to add my own.
The question you may be asking is, why? Why is this map different from all other maps? Well, here’s why. I made this map with several constraints. First, all 8 districts had to be at least 58% Obama 2008. As it happens, the two least Democratic districts voted 58.7% for Obama, and all the others were more than that. Second, the districts had to be realistic. The districts all had to satisfy both their Democratic incumbents and parochial concerns among other Democrats, and of course the Democratic incumbents had to live in their districts. This includes Steny Hoyer. This means that since Hoyer wants College Park and Greenbelt in his district, then he gets that. This also means that no two Democratic incumbents will have to face each other in a primary. Third, the districts were only allowed to use water contiguity if there was a bridge across the water. Thus, the crossing of Chesapeake Bay is done at the bridge from Chester to Arnold.
How was this done? Follow me past the fold to find out.
First, here is a map of the whole state:
2008: 59-40 Obama
This district takes in the northern part of the Eastern Shore (the part that is mostly white) and then includes coastal Harford County (which Ruppersberger specifically wants) and parts of North-central Baltimore County (including his hometown of Cockeysville) and northern and eastern sections of Baltimore City. The district is 66% white and 23% black VAP (all demographic numbers below are in VAP). The first draft of this map had Towson in this district, but I had to take it out because Rep. Sarbanes lives in Towson. This also helps grant the wish of the city of Baltimore that three districts include parts of it, as this district, the 7th, and the 8th all include parts of Baltimore. SAFE D.
District 2 (green): Steny Hoyer (D-Mechanicsville)
2008: 60-39 Obama
This is one of three districts that is relatively similar to incumbent’s current district (the others are the 4th and 5th). Hoyer retains Charles, Calvert, and St. Mary’s Counties, as well as northern Prince George’s County, and he gains Annapolis. The district also loses a few percentage points in the black population, which should keep Hoyer safe from a primary challenge. The district is 59% white and 27% black. This district swung toward Obama in 2012, mainly due to an influx of blacks into Charles County, and Hoyer is completely safe. SAFE D.
District 3 (purple): Donna Edwards (D-Fort Washington)
2008: 71-28 Obama
Seeing as the state legislature ignored Edwards when she wanted parts of MoCo in her district, and instead gave her a heavily Republican section of Anne Arundel County, the legislature should have no problem giving Edwards a district like this. Edwards retains a large, heavily-black section of Prince George’s County, but she gains a narrow stretch of territory through central Anne Arundel County, then crosses the Chesapeake Bay on the creatively-named Chesapeake Bay Bridge, and takes in the southern part of the Eastern Shore, which has a substantial black population. My goal here was to unite the black areas of PG County with areas that were conservative, but still had a sizeable black population. The district is 40% white and 50.1% black, and should be completely safe for Edwards. SAFE D.
Also, as an addendum, you might think that splitting the Eastern Shore violates the rules by ignoring parochial concerns. However, most of the Eastern Shore’s state legislators are Republicans, and since Republicans have no role in the Maryland redistricting process, the Democrats who are in charge of the process should be fine with this. Not splitting the Eastern Shore is a parochial concern among Republicans, while Democrats really have no reason to object to it.
District 4 (red): John Delaney (D-Potomac)
2008: 61-38 Obama
This district is relatively similar to its current version. It contains all of Garrett, Allegany, and Washington Counties, and then a small part of Frederick and a large swath of Montgomery. The district is 70% white, 9% black, and 10% Hispanic. Delaney had a dominating performance in 2010, getting more than 59% of the vote while Obama got less than 56%, so with the added Democratic performance, Delaney is completely safe here. SAFE D.
District 5 (yellow): Chris Van Hollen (D-Kensington)
2008: 60-38 Obama
This district is also relatively similar to its current version. It contains most of Frederick County, parts of Carroll and Harford, and the areas of Montgomery not near the Potomac River. This district is 60% white, 15% black, 12% Hispanic, and 11% Asian. I’m not sure if Van Hollen lives in this district as drawn, but if he doesn’t, then the border between the 4th and 5th could be easily adjusted so that Van Hollen lived in the 5th. SAFE D.
District 6 (teal): Open Seat
2008: 60-39 Obama
This district is the one open seat in this map. It contains most of Carroll County, including the Comically Dedicated Racists there, and then goes down to Howard to take in a small section of Columbia as well as the Laurel/North Laurel area. The district also includes a large, strongly conservative area of Anne Arundel County as well as some mostly-black inner areas of Prince George’s County. The district is 53% white, 29% black, and 11% Hispanic. Since this district is effectively a pinwheel centered in Laurel, going out in three directions, it would make sense for the Representative of this district to be from Laurel. Any Laurel-based Democratic state legislator would easily win this district. SAFE D.
District 7 (gray): Elijah Cummings (D-Baltimore)
2008: 66-33 Obama
This district is the second black-majority district on the map, and the one in the Baltimore area. It takes in almost the entire west side of Baltimore, as well as the heavily-black western suburbs in Baltimore County. It also includes the strongly-conservative northern areas of Baltimore and Harford Counties, as well as a small Republican portion of Anne Arundel. This district is 44% white and 50.1% black, and Cummings would be completely safe here. SAFE D.
District 8 (slate blue): John Sarbanes (D-Towson)
2008: 59-40 Obama
This district takes in an interesting array of areas near Baltimore. It includes Towson, Essex, and Dundalk in Baltimore County, and then the south side of Baltimore City. It then takes in a Democratic-leaning portion of Anne Arundel, and then goes into Howard, where it takes in Ellicott City and the rest of Columbia. This district is 66% white and 20% black, and John Sarbanes would be very safe here.
So there you go. An 8-0 map of Maryland that all Democrats should be happy with. And while the lines may be messy in places, it’s much neater than the current map. If O’Malley & Co. do a mid-decade redistricting of Maryland, I think this is the map they should use.
P.S. Notice how I don't even mention Andy Harris in the descriptions above. This is because he is so screwed under this map that he wouldn't even win 40% in any of the districts. Bye bye Andy!
Comments, questions, ideas, and suggestions are all welcome.