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Redistricting the Maryland General Assembly (Dem Gerrymander)

by: Rupper

Thu Jul 22, 2010 at 11:28 AM EDT


So yeah, I've been working on a map of the state legislature for a while. I had one ready months ago, but there were a few things I hated about it, so I didn't post it. I finally came up with something that satisfies me about 80-90%.

My goals were as follows:

- As many Democrats as possible, with a focus on protecting incumbent Democrats.

-Make the Dem districts as liberal as possible to aid in getting some real liberal legislation through.

- As few county-crossings as possible, to avoid a potential court challenge. I also tried to be mindful of municipal and cultural boundaries, although in Maryland it's really the counties that people focus on.

- The same or more majority-black districts.

So, without further ado, here we go.

Rupper :: Redistricting the Maryland General Assembly (Dem Gerrymander)

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District 1: Western Maryland: Garrett, Allegany, and Washington (part) Counties
New district: 93% white, 33% Obama (current 32% Obama)

1A - all of Garrett, part of Allegany: 98% white, 28% Obama (current 27% Obama)

1B - part of allegany: 89% white, 41% Obama (current 34% Obama)

1C - part of Allegany, part of Washington: 93% white, 34% Obama (current 36% Obama)

Current 1C was drawn to help former speaker Casper R. Taylor, but now that he's gone we should put all of our effort into helping Kevin Kelly by tying Cumberland and Frostburg together.

District 2: Washington County
New district: 83% white, 44% Obama (current 44% Obama)

2A - Hagerstown periphery: 84% white, 42% Obama (current 39% Obama)

2B - Southern and Eastern Washington County: 84% white, 38% Obama (current 40% Obama)

2C - Hagerstown: 79% white, 57% Obama (current 55% Obama)

2A and 2C get more Democratic, maybe someday the Senate district and 2A could be within reach.

District 3: Frederick County (including city of Frederick)
New district: 70% white, 56% Obama (current 54% Obama)

I got rid of the subdistricts in order to consolidate Democratic support within the district. A Republican or 2 could possibly slip by for the time being, but by 2020 this should be firm Dem territory.

District 4: Frederick, Carroll, and Washington Counties (only a small part of Washington County)
New district: 92% white, 36% Obama (current 37% Obama)

4A - Frederick County (small part of Washington County) - 2 delegates - 92% white, 38% Obama (current 39% Obama)

4B - Carroll County (small part of Frederick County) - 1 delegate - 93% white, 32% Obama (current 33% Obama)

District 5: Carroll County
New district: 91% white, 33% Obama (current 33% Obama)

I moved the district completely into Carroll County (to make it more compact and to give Carroll County a whole district to call its own). Got rid of subdistricts, since Carroll County is pretty uniform, so they'd be pointless.

District 6: Baltimore County (southeastern)
New district: 79% white, 43%-46% Obama (somewhere in that range) (current 45% Obama)

This one I struggled with a lot. I ultimately decided to just keep it somewhat as is for a number of reasons. First, this district is blue-collar, and even making it 60% Obama would still give people that impression, so the reps are not likely to be liberals no matter what (and it's thus better to shore up some surrounding districts). Second, the Republican bench is weak as hell here, and the district votes as much as 70-80% for local Democrats, so I still like our chances here. Third, this was where Glendenning's plan was shot down in 2002, so I don't want to mess with this district much. Fourth, adding a large part of the city could potentially mean the Dem nominee (or nominees) would be African-American, which could potentially lead to a loss in this district even if you make it 55-60% Obama-supporting. Thus, it's better to just leave sort of as-is and just write it off if necessary.

District 7 - Baltimore and Carroll Counties
New district: 90% white, 35% Obama (current 39%)

Basically a combination of the old 7 and the old 5B.

District 8 - Baltimore County and Baltimore City
New district: 59% white, 71% Obama (current 48% Obama)

Finally, a real Baltimore liberal district. Todd Schuler currently represents the 8th (which voted for McCain), and he's the only delegate in the Baltimore area who openly supports gay marriage. He's not running for reelection, but he could def have his old seat back if he wants it.

District 9 - Howard County (eastern)
New district: 64% white, 61% Obama (current 43% Obama)

Completely moved from one side of Howard to another. Should add 3 new Dem delegates and one new Dem senator to the caucus, and even if not right away, Republicans will always be on defense here.

District 10 - West Baltimore County
New District: 53% black, 74% Obama (current 87% Obama)

I don't like how the current district packs black votes (this may be a remnant of an earlier time when this was necessary), so I made a district that the current representatives would be very happy with, as it does not endanger them in any way and it gives black voters more of a voice in surrounding districts.

District 11: West and North Baltimore County
New District: 62% white, 64% Obama (current 66% Obama)

Similar to before, but covering a larger territory to make District 42 more Democratic

District 12: Southwest Baltimore County
New district: 58% white, 61% Obama (current 58% Obama)

No more swingy subdistricts, no more awkward gerrymandering for no reason. District is now more Democratic and completely within one county.

District 13: Howard and Montgomery Counties
New District: 64% white, 60% Obama (current 65% Obama)

Dem support here is growing, and all the incumbents can run here again, so no fears about the drop in performance.

District 14: Montgomery County (east)
New District: 58% white, 65% Obama (current 65% Obama)

District 15: Montgomery County (west)
New District: 68% white, 65% Obama (current 65% Obama)

District 16: Montgomery County (south central)
New district: 43% white, 74% Obama (current 76% Obama)

District 17: Montgomery County (Gaithersburg-Rockville)
New District: 48% white, 71% Obama (current 71% Obama)

District 18: Montgomery County (Bethesda)
New District: 78% white, 74% Obama (current 76% Obama)

District 19: Montgomery County (Olney)
New district: 52% white, 68% Obama (current 68% Obama)

District 20: Montgomery County (Silver Spring)
New district: 32% white, 85% Obama (current 85% Obama)

District 21: Prince George's County (Laurel-College Park)
New district: 34% black, 78% Obama (current 75% Obama)

No longer stretches into Anne Arundel County. I wanted to make it majority-black, but it's actually somewhat difficult to get all majority-black districts out of north PG without making the lines too crazy. However, since the district is not currently majority-black, I didn't worry about it.

District 22 Prince George's County (Greenbelt-Hyattsville)
New District: 53% black, 88% Obama (current 85% Obama)

District becomes majority-black, as it is not currently.

District 23 Prince George's County (Bowie)
New district: 58% black, 83% Obama (current 81% Obama)

District is only barely majority-black now, so I made it moreso. Got rid of subdistricts because I don't know what the point of them was.

District 24 Prince George's County (Greater Upper Marlboro) and Anne Arundel County (southern rural parts)
New district: 55% black, 72% Obama (current 98% Obama)

I wanted to break up Southern PG County some because it was just insanely packed with black voters. In exchange for making this district less black, 22 is now majority black, and 47 and 23 are more black, so I don't see how anyone could sue.

District 25 Prince George's County (Capitol Heights, District Heights)
New District: 83% black, 96% Obama (current 96% Obama)

Did not want to pack this much, but had to.

District 26 Prince George's County (National Harbor)
New District: 79% black, 93% Obama (current 94% Obama)

District 27 Prince Georges County (Upper Marlboro) and Calvert County
New district: 66% white, 62% Obama (current 71% Obama)

Got rid of sub-districts, took in all of Calvert county instead of just part.

District 28 Charles County (most)
New District: 53% white, 63% Obama (current 63% Obama)

District 29 St. Mary's County and Charles County (part)
New district: 73% white, 47% Obama (current 44% Obama)

29A - Central and Northern St. Mary's - 85% white, 39% Obama (current 39% Obama)

29B - Southern St. Mary's County - 67% white, 48% Obama (current 47% Obama)

29C - West St. Mary's and part of Charles - 68% white, 53% Obama (current 45% Obama)

No more Calvert County; both current Dem districts get some shoring up.

District 30: Anne Arundel County (Annapolis)
New district: 73% white, 55% Obama (current 52% Obama)
A little more Dem, but stays similar in shape.

District 31: Anne Arundel County (Glen Burnie)
New District: 60% white, 60% Obama (current 40% Obama)

Time for a bonafide liberal district out of AA County.

District 32 Anne Arundel County (Ft. Meade) and Howard County (North Laurel)
New district: 59% white, 62% Obama (current 54% Obama)

Yet another AA County liberal district, with help from Howard of course. Between 31 and 32 there's more than enough love to go around between incumbent Dems.

District 33 Anne Arundel County (Severna Park)
New District: 87% white, 37% Obama (current 43% Obama)

Loses Dem areas and just becomes one big Rep vote sponge in north AA County. No more subdistricts.

District 34 Cecil and Harford Counties
New district: 88% white, 40% Obama (currently 48% Obama)

34A 1 delegate - Harford County - 86% white, 38% Obama (current 55% Obama)

34B 2 delegates - Cecil County - 89% white, 41% Obama (current 37% Obama)

I wanted liberal districts, so I had to throw this one to the wolves to make 46 more than just a swing district. It was bound to happen anyway though, as conservative Harford and Cecil Counties have had high growth and deserve an extra Rep district, plus the senator is already a Republican, so no big deal. I realigned the subdistricts so that Cecil gets 2 delegates and Harford gets 1 (due to population growth in Cecil). I decided not to divide Cecil further because Del. David Rudolph lives in Rising Sun, which is extremely conservative, so if anything keeping Elkton and Rising Sun together will only help him out (in fact, I moved his district 4 points more Democratic while the district moved 8 points more Republican - amazing).

District 35 Harford County (Bel Air)
New district: 92% white, 30% Obama (current 31%)

Damn, now thaaat's conservative. Only subdistrict 1A is more conservative. No more subdistricts - they're unnecessary.

District 36 Cecil, Kent, Queen Anne's, and Caroline Counties.
New district: 89% white, 39% Obama (currently 41%)

36A - Cecil and Kent Counties - 86% white, 46% Obama

36B - Caroline and Queen Anne's Counties - 81% white, 36% Obama

36C - Queen Anne's County - 88% white, 35% Obama

Split into subdistricts because having one huge district doesn't serve anybody. Plus, that Kent district could elect a Democrat possibly.

District 37: Talbot, Dorchester, part of Somerset, and part of Wicomico (Salisbury) Counties.
New district: 63% white, 49% Obama (currently 46% Obama)

37A - one delegate - Somerset and Wicomico - 50% black, 64% Obama (currently 65% Obama)

37B - two delegates - Somerset, Wicomico, Dorchester, and Talbot - 73% white, 45% Obama (currently 39%)

Yes it does split an extra county, Somerset, but this should be allowed, as it makes creating a majority-black district much easier, splitting fewer towns in the process. Also worth noting is that the subdistrict and senate district as a whole are now potentially winnable.

District 38: Somerset (part), Wicomico (part), and Worcester Counties
New district: 81% white, 40% Obama (currently 41% Obama)

38A - 1 delegate - Somerset and Wicomico - 82% white, 36% Obama (currently 45% Obama)

38B - 2 delegates - Somerset, Wicomico, and Worcester - 80% white, 43% Obama (currently 41% Obama)

This Senate district is sacrificed forever, but the 2 Dems in 38B get a district that's 2 points safer. 38A becomes a wasteland.

District 39: Montgomery and Frederick Counties (Germantown-Urbana)
New district: 64% white, 63% Obama (currently 71% Obama)

Becomes less Democratic, and goes into Frederick County to pick up some high-growth areas (so as to not waste Dem votes). Remains safe Dem.

District 40: Baltimore City (Northwest)
New district: 64% black, 87% Obama (currently 93% Obama)

District 41: Baltimore City (Western)
New district: 65% black, 90% Obama (currently 87% Obama)

District 42: Baltimore County (Towson-Pikesville)
New District: 68% white, 60% Obama (currently 53% Obama)

Made the district more liberal by grabbing territory to the West. This district sorta hugs the inner beltway.

District 43: Baltimore City (central and Inner Harbor)
New district: 64% black, 86% Obama (currently 91% Obama)

District 44: Baltimore City and Anne Arundel County
New district: 55% black, 70% Obama (currently 92% Obama)

Yeah I have 2 districts that cross the city line, but both are justifiable due to population shifts. At 55% black (and with most Anne Arundel residents registered Republican) the district should be fine for the incumbents.

District 45: Baltimore City (Southeast)
New district: 59% black, 85% Obama (currently 90% Obama)

District 46: Harford County (Edgewood-Aberdeen) and Baltimore County (Middle River-Rossville)
New district: 65% white, 56% Obama (currently 72% Obama in Baltimore City)

This district of course had to be completely moved out of Baltimore City (this may be the last time the city loses a district, as growth is rebounding). Since Harford County has seen so much growth, I dare anyone to show me where it would make more sense for this district to go. Since District 8 has a good margin now, I decided to have the district head towards Rossville to pick up some liberal areas there that would be in 8. That brings the total up to 56% Obama, which should be safe for the 2 incumbents in 34A, plus a new Dem Delegate and a new Dem Senator. As an aside, I do not believe the district was majority black when in the city (as the Obama % is so low and it takes in many majority-white areas), so I don't think there will be any trouble with VRA.

District 47 Prince George's County (Cheverly-Glenarden)
New district: 61% black, 93% Obama (currently 92% Obama)

Was only like, 51% black, but the black percentage is shored up to prevent any ruckus over lowered (but still safe) black percentages elsewhere. Was going to create a plurality-hispanic district, but there would have been no point, as there are not enough registered Hispanic voters to make a difference.

So yeah, that's it, the final breakdown is:

Obama over 60%:  94 Delegates 31 Senators
Obama 55-60%:     10 Delegates  3 Senators
Obama 50-55%:      1 Delegates  0 Senators
Obama 45-50%:      4 Delegates  2 Senators
Obama 40-45%:      9 Delegates  4 Senators
Obama under 40%: 23 Delegates  7 Senators

Obama won in 74% of the delegate seats (66% with over 60%) and 72% of Senate seats (65% with over 60%)

Let me know what you all think.

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I'm not very comfortable
with the non-contiguous district on the Eastern Shore, but you've done a fine job here. Thanks for your work.

37A vs 38A
I may be showing my ignorance -- but why aren't those two swapped, so that the senate districts are contiguous?

And am I correct in assuming that Maryland has exactly 3 delegate spots embedded in each Senate district, but doesn't care whether they're at-large or multi-member districts?


[ Parent ]
Swapping 37A & 38A
would put each Senate district out of reach.

And, yes, your assumptions are correct.


[ Parent ]
hmm
About the districts - yeah, MD had 3 per senate district, and depending on the districts, voters either choose 1, 2, or 3 delegates at once. It's a weird system, but we like it.

Yeah, about 37 and 38, I guess I was just trying to keep the districts similar to what they are now, so I didn't even think of that. Forget what I wrote before; here's what I should've written:

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District 37: Talbot, Dorchester, Somerset, and Worcester Counties
New district: 77% white, 42% Obama (currently 46% Obama)

37A - Somerset and Wicomico Counties - 79% white, 37% Obama (currently 45% as 38A)

37B - Dorchester and Wicomico Counties - 69% white, 45% Obama

37C - Talbot and Dorchester Counties 83% white, 42% Obama

District 38: Wicomico, Worcester, and Somerset Counties
New District: 67% white, 51% Obama (currently 41% Obama)

38A - Wicomico and Somerset Counties - 50% black, 64% Obama (currently 65% in 37A)

38B - Wicomico, Worcester, and Somerset Counties - 79% white, 45% Obama (currently 41%)

Okay, so end result of this is bye bye Lowell Stoltzfus, such a secessionist demagogue could never survive in a 51% Obama district. We also stand a good chance at holding 38B, which becomes 2 points more Dem than I had it before. I also split 37 into 3 subdistricts this time for the hell of it. 37A and 37C are wastelands; there's an outside chance at taking 37B. Overall this is pretty sweet; thank you for pointing that out.

21, Male, Democrat, MD-02 (home/registered), MD-05 (college)


[ Parent ]
I like your map ...
overall ...

What I like:

Dis. 6 - you make good argument for keeping dist. out of Balto. City

Dist. 8 - didn't know one of reps. is for marriage equality; good idea to shore up the district as you did

Dist. 31, 32 - I REALLY liked the 60% and 62% Obama districts you created; and it looks like the POS Don Dwyer can now stew in the multi-candidate GOP primary where all 6 of the current Dist. 31 and Dist. 33 GOP delegates have to compete for just 3 spots.

Not so fond of:

Dist. 44 - not sure if this would work b/c it looks very similar to the district in Glendening's original 2002 plan (thrown out by the Courts) where he linked the same part of Baltimore City w/ Dundalk ... except here it's linked w/ Riviera Beach (which demographically is quite similar to Dundalk) ... and also, since your Dist. 8 already crosses Balto. City line (and I like what you did there), not sure if Courts would like another Balto. City-based dist. to cross the city lines also, esp. one combining inner city Balto. w/ suburban areas that don't have much in common ...


About District 44 and 8
Sorry for the long post, but I want to explain my thought process:

1) It's not like the people have a right to complain about being in a district that they don't feel doesn't represent them. How many African-Americans in Wicomico County hate the fact that Stoltzfus represents them in the State Senate? (he wants the Eastern Shore to secede from Maryland. So I don't want to hear it that they don't want to be represented by black representatives; if anything, doing this (combining communities) is better than just having monolithic black districts, which is what you'd have if we tried to make it so only one district crossed the city line.

2) As for having 2 districts cross the city line instead of 1; well, currently Harford County, Carroll County, Howard County, Baltimore County, Prince George's County, and Frederick County all have 2 or more districts that cross county lines, each time into a different county. In this case, the two city districts cross 2 different county lines; once into Anne Arundel County, and once into Baltimore County. To treat Baltimore City any differently than the other counties would be a clear-cut case of racial and/or economic discrimination.

3) In order to reduce the risk of a lawsuit over too many city-county districts, one of the 2 pretty much has to go into Anne Arundel County just to offer variation. The district is shaped as it is because it needs to maintain a black majority, and the only way to do that is to draw it as shown. The district has to cross a little water no matter how it's drawn just to get that extra piece of territory in South Baltimore City. From there it goes into Anne Arundel County, where everything is connected by land and roads.

4) Having a district that looks like this was by far not the worst problem with Glendenning's plan - take a look:

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In his plan, 42, 43, 8, 44, and 46 all cross the city-county line just between Baltimore County and Baltimore City (no attempt to vary it up by going into Anne Arundel). Not only that, but 31 connects 2 pieces of unconnected territory in Anne Arundel and Baltimore County. I think I managed to avoid such a catastrophe, no?

21, Male, Democrat, MD-02 (home/registered), MD-05 (college)


[ Parent ]
thanks ...
I posted my 2nd comment before I had a chance to see your explanation here ... indeed, Glendening's 44th was a lot more convoluted than the one in this plan (and the 31st extending to Sparrows Point probably contributed to it being thrown out) ...

the idea of 31 and 32 at 60%+ Obama is very appealing to me, and drawing 44 the way you did does work in tandem w/ 31 and 32 at the high Dem. levels, so maybe this could work indeed -- but again, I think it would help if the A-A pop. goes up just a bit ...


[ Parent ]
I tried
I tried to get it as high as possible, and this is about as high as it will go. I think it should be fine, I mean, 25% Obama throughout some areas of the Anne Arundel part, there may be a few Democrats left in the area, but I just can't see them staying that way for long; they've really moved away much further than Dundalk-Essex has. I mean, the black areas of the city are not only shrinking, but they're getting whiter as well, so the argument can be made that it's tough to maintain so many Baltimore City-based African American districts; one may even have to become a white-Hispanic district or something in the 2022 redistricting.

Also, I just noticed that I mislabeled 33 as 31 in some of the pics; for those confused, 33 is the blue one, 31 is in yellowish-white. 33, the blue one, of course is the Republican district, while 31 is the dem stronghold.

21, Male, Democrat, MD-02 (home/registered), MD-05 (college)


[ Parent ]
and in your favor ...
it's 70% Obama, so as long as an A-A candidate makes it through the Dem. primary, he/she will be safe in November ...

[ Parent ]
re. Dist. 44 ...
Following up on my first comment, perhaps if you make your new Dist. 44 a bit more African-American this could work (?) 60% instead of 55% may be more palatable to the politicos in MD that draw the lines ... could easily siphon off A-A voters from neighboring 40,41,43 and still have those at above 60% A-A.  There's actually still a good number of white Dems. in this part of AA Co. (ie. Stoney Creek Democratic Club) as well as some in the Brooklyn/Curtis Bay part of the city, where 55% A-A may not be enough ....

in your favor, you can argue that the dist., even though it crosses the city/county line, still maintains some semblance of community cohesion, for ex. zip code 21226 encompasses both Curtis Bay in the city and Stoney Beach area in AA Co. and a lot of people who once lived in the Brooklyn/Curtis Bay area have moved out to Riviera Beach/Pasadena (Glendening's district that was thrown out combined inner city w/ Dundalk, connected only by a part of south Baltimore and the Key Bridge and the two parts had absolutely nothing in common) ...



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