Saturday, November 24, 2012

Gerrymandering Results

1. Pennsylvania - No one does gerrymanders like Pennsylvania. Their imagination goes beyond what most of us can draw. Their 2001 gerrymander was incredibly ugly. And they outdid themselves this time.

In 2010 Republicans won 5 districts and had 2 other incumbents sitting in Obama D+3 and D+5 districts. The state was losing a seat. And it was sure to be a year that Barack Obama and Bob Casey carried the statewide vote.

Republicans congressmen carried all 7 of those districts by at least 13 points. On top of that they drew a district to make sure two Democratic congressmen challenged each other and not take on a Republican incumbent. And then they won that district too. Outside of that district I don't see Republicans losing any of the other districts this decade. Maybe PA-8 in a wave year.

2. Illinois - I put it #2 because the Democrats weren't redrawing as many questionable districts, but this job was equally impressive. It impressed me because I expressed skepticism that they'd take more than 2 Republican districts.

Barack Obama's win dropped 8 points in Illinois, a fairly substantial drop when he only dropped 4 points nationally. Democrats still took out 4 GOP incumbents and came very very close to winning a fifth Republican seat. They won 3 of them in the Chicago area and they did this all without endangering any surrounding Democratic seats. The fear that IL-12 was in trouble proved unfounded.

I'm not sure that IL-10, 12, and 17 will be in play this decade, but IL-13 certainly will.

3. Ohio - They gave Chabot, Gibbs, and Stivers safe seats and drew seats good enough for Johnson and Renacci to beat a current and former congressman by 5 and 7 points. The Democrats got the Republicans to redraw OH-10 and it still wasn't competitive.

4. Maryland - It's tough to rate this one higher because Democrats only gained one seat and none of their congressmen was in danger. Yet every one of their incumbents won by 27 and Delaney took MD-6 by 20.

5. North Carolina - Republicans did manage to draw three good wins, but the 9th was closer than than it should've been and Mike McIntyre pulled out a squeaker.

6. Wisconsin - You could probably rate this state higher since all five Republicans won by double digits.

7. Virginia - The GOP protected all their wins and only one of those districts was close. We'll see what happens if Randy Forbes or Frank Wolf decide to retire.

8. Michigan - The state did go was D 1, so they achieved their goal, but MI1 was way too close, MI-3 was closer than it should've been, and you have to wonder how Bentivolio will do against a good opponent.

9. Missouri - They eliminated Russ Carnahan and every Republican won by 23 points. So mission accomplished.

10. Indiana - They made IN-8 safe, but IN-2 was close. Still passable.

11. Georgia - It was nice that GA-6 and 7 don't look like they'll be in danger, but the GOP had a major fail in GA-12. The candidate was weak, so maybe we'll re-evaluate.

12. Oklahoma - There really wasn't a question that OK-2 was going to be easy to take.

13. Massachusetts - I don't know if the Mass legislature was really trying to freeze out the GOP and Republicans didn't try in most districts. They were 9 for 9.

14. Tennessee - I suppose Republicans should get credit that Scott DesJarlais won his district so easily, but they could've drawn a district they could challenge Jim Cooper.

15. South Carolina - I suppose that it's an accomplishment to draw 6 districts Mitt won by at least 12 points in a state he won by 10.5, but SC-7 ended up much closer than it should have.

16. Utah - How hard would it have been to draw a district that Jim Matheson couldn't win?

17. Arkansas - There are now four safe Republican districts drawn by... the Democrats.

Honorable mention
Florida - FDF was in effect to make sure Florida wasn't a partisan gerrymander. It's clear to me that a few districts violate that, notably the 5th, 14th, 22nd, 26th, and 27th. Three of those gerrymandered districts actually went to the Democrats, however, and FL-27 wouldn't be in danger if it were even if it were more compact. Republicans went from 19-6 to 17-10, which isn't bad, considering two of the losses were more the candidates than the maps.

In a redraw they can create FL-21 as a Palm Beach district and FL-22 as a Broward district. This may mean Republicans have no shot at either, but that's a small price to pay. I would draw it but the maps in DRA continually move in my computer.

Texas - Republicans ran afoul of the law here too and these maps are also likely to be redrawn. The GOP did lose TX-23, but they preserved the other seats.

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