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Redistricting 2011: Florida & Louisiana

by: Nathaniel90

Mon Mar 23, 2009 at 7:40 PM EDT

Episode 5 in my redistricting series, and as you can see, I'm picking up the pace, having just covered Georgia and New Jersey yesterday. Because the Census released 2008 county estimates last week, I feel like knocking out these diaries for the states I already mapped using 2007 numbers. Of course, because they're 2007 numbers, they're not quite up to snuff, but in most cases, the lines wouldn't look too dramatically different using newer stats.

Previously covered:
Diary 1: Massachusetts and Texas
Diary 2: Michigan and Nevada
Diary 3: Iowa and Ohio
Diary 4: Georgia and New Jersey

Geek out below!

Nathaniel90 :: Redistricting 2011: Florida & Louisiana

Now, this is the single hardest state I had to tackle. More so than Texas, more so than Ohio, more so than Pennsylvania. That's because Florida is perhaps the most masterful Republican gerrymander in the nation; a state that voted 51% to 48% for President Obama is represented in Congress by 15 Republicans and 10 Democrats, and before 2006, the skew was 18-7. Considering Democratic dominance in South Florida and clear Dem trends along I-4, that's pretty astounding cartographic craftiness by the GOP.

Unfortunately, unless we pick up the governor's mansion in 2010 (virtually impossible, IMHO, unless Crist runs for the Senate, and even then, the GOP bench in Florida is quite deep), Republicans are set for another round of redistricting monopoly in 2011-12 (one caveat: a nonpartisan commission initiative is on the ballot in 2010, but since it needs 60% to pass, I'm skeptical). While Republicans' room for growth is limited, what with Dem trends in Central FL and the Cuban districts softening, there could be at least one Dem casualty along with a new GOP seat, for a 17-9 delegation, though 16-10 would be a lot easier for legislators to ensure, since it's not exactly a cinch to dismantle a moderate I-4 Dem like Suzanne Kosmas. Note: there is an outside chance that Florida will pick up two seats in reapportionment, but the disastrous real estate market has brought that long-famed migration to the Sunshine State to a grinding halt. In 2008, even recession-battered California grew faster. So I'm betting on a one-seat gain; the explosive growth in Florida between 2000 and 2006 more or less ensures at least that one gain, but I can't envision a sufficiently large uptick in growth between now and the Census for a 27th District.

To sum it up, I'm actually not very satisfied with this map. It's revoltingly gerrymandered, though no worse than the current iteration, and I'm not sure about some of my boundaries (is Alcee Hastings' 23rd still VRA black-majority with these lines?). But I tried to maintain the best possible lines for the Republicans (i.e. mostly the status quo), with an emphasis on incumbent protection. I may have done things a bit differently if I'd used 2008 numbers, so an eventual do-over on my part isn't out of the question.

To the point: the GOP has a real problem along I-4: with Orange and Osceola Counties decidedly Democratic, and Adam Putnam's soon-to-be-open seat a near-tie between McCain and Obama, they can only play offense so much. I figured that since Orlando is becoming so progressive, they would concede Alan Grayson's seat (assuming he is reelected in 2010) and hurt Kosmas only by roughly maintaining the current, Feeney-drawn lines. Meanwhile, FL-12 (Putnam) is shored up by moving into some hardcore Republican territory, and a new 26th District is created from Central Florida leftovers (unfortunately for them, it only barely leans Republican in a neutral year as I've drawn it, and in a year like 2006 or 2008, might well elect a Democrat). Again, I tried my best to be devious, but when a state is already so gerrymandered for one party and the trends are running against that party in key regions of said state, "safety first" is the likely tack.

As for South Florida, my boundaries are imprecise, so the summary descriptions are a bit more informative. Basically, I tried to replicate the current boundaries in most of these cases, while cleaning up the 23rd (as I mentioned, though, it probably can't be as cleaned-up as I drew it since it is a VRA seat). If more specific Census estimates were available, I could have known how to, for example, boost the Cuban-American percentage in Districts 18, 21, and 25, but instead, I was left with a sloppy, low-tech method as the Miami metro area goes.

For now, this is the map I've got:


Ugly? You bet. Want a logical map? The Sunshine State GOP wouldn't hear of it.

District 1 - Jeff Miller (R-Chumuckla) -- contracts in area; still the most conservative district in the state.

District 2 - Allen Boyd (D-Monticello) -- still an old-school district of Jimmy Carter white Democrats who vote GOP for President. When Boyd retires, we will be in trouble here, as even the boosted black turnout of 2008 only resulted in a 54-45 McCain victory.

District 3 - Corrine Brown (D-Jacksonville) -- well, it's not quite as grossly drawn as before, but it must remain a VRA African-American seat, so I had to get creative.

District 4 - Ander Crenshaw (R-Jacksonville) -- random trivia: did you know there were Civil War battles in this district?

District 5 - Ginny Brown-Waite (R-Brooksville) -- I tried to clean up this and the 6th, both previously with needlessly messy lines; this one stays safely Republican, but now only splits one county (Pasco).

District 6 - Cliff Stearns (R-Ocala) -- stays heavily Republican but looks a bit more aesthetic. No, I don't like Gainesville being represented by a Republican any more than you do, but it is a blue island in a sea of red (much like Athens, Georgia).

District 7 - John Mica (R-Winter Park) -- by only encroaching a bit into Orange County and making St. Johns County the largest population source, I attempted to help Mica, but the long-term trends here are not advantageous to him. If he moved out of Orange County, he could be drawn a safer seat.

District 8 - Alan Grayson (D-Orlando) -- entirely within Orange County, meant to soak up Democrats to allow for a Republican 26th and to prevent Kosmas from getting too comfortable. I think if there's one painful concession the GOP will have to make, this is it.

District 9 - Gus Bilirakis (R-Palm Harbor) -- jumps around north Tampa Bay looking for Republicans, doesn't change too much.

District 10 - Bill Young (R-Indian Shores) -- entirely within Pinellas, probably still a 50/50 district. This is a seat they may well lose when Young calls it quits. With both A) the need to protect Bilirakis, and B) Castor's 11th being maxed-out on Democrats, it's another uncomfortable decision for the Republicans not to shore this district up very much. As long as the aging Young stays on the ballot, they don't have to worry.

District 11 - Kathy Castor (D-Tampa) -- still the bay-dancing Tampa-St. Petersburg seat, concentrating Democrats and with a significant black minority.

District 12 - Adam Putnam (R-Bartow) -- since McCain won here by a mere inch, and Putnam is leaving in 2010, I figured protecting the 12th for future elections will be a major priority (if a Dem wins in 2010, the GOP will seek to dismantle that person before targeting Grayson or Kosmas). So, even as slightly GOP-leaning Polk County dominates my 12th, Sumter, Hardee, and DeSoto put it over the edge to produce a McCain victory of at least 53-46.

District 13 - Vern Buchanan (R-Sarasota) -- this is only a tad more Republican than before, with the whole inclusion of Manatee County aiding GOP numbers.

District 14 - Connie Mack (R-Fort Myers) -- dominated by Lee County with remainders of Sarasota and Charlotte. Still the quintessential Gulf Coast GOP mecca.

District 15 - Bill Posey (R-Rockledge) -- in retrospect, I'd do this differently, as this is one district the GOP would probably weaken a bit to harm Kosmas or solidify the new 26th.

District 16 - Tom Rooney (R-Tequesta) -- stretches from Charlotte to Palm Beach, much like before. If Rooney is easily reelected in 2010, he will be another incumbent they loosen up to cement weaker districts.

District 17 - Kendrick Meek (D-Miami) -- should stay the most heavily black, most overwhelmingly Democratic district in the state.

District 18 - Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Miami) -- while Ros-Lehtinen can probably hold on quite a few more cycles, this is the only GOP district other than Bill Young's 10th that voted for Obama, and as Miami Hispanics trend toward the Democrats, all three Cuban-American Republican seats will be endangered. What happens when Ros-Lehtinen and/or the Diaz-Balarts retire? I'm not exactly sure how to solidify these three seats, as the nearest turf they could grab is mostly liberal-leaning anyway. Perhaps they could snag some Gulf Coast Republicans, but that would dilute the VRA Hispanic percentages...

District 19 - Robert Wexler (D-Boca Raton) -- the most liberal of the three "Jewish districts" (I say that, of course, tongue firmly in cheek, as the Jewish percentage is a distinct minority in all three seats).

District 20 - Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Weston) -- the second of the three, nearly as Democratic as the 19th.

District 21 - Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-Miami) -- as with Ros-Lehtinen and the 18th, I don't know how to shore up the three traditionally GOP Cuban seats.

District 22 - Ron Klein (D-Boca Raton) -- still a coastal stretch; I think the GOP won't change the lines much here, unless they can find a way to pack Democrats here who would otherwise be left in the 18th, 21st, or 25th.

District 23 - Alcee Hastings (D-Miramar) -- regardless of how my lines appear, Hastings' seat will stay majority-black under the VRA.

District 24 - Suzanne Kosmas (D-New Smyrna Beach) -- the closest I could come to targeting Kosmas was to only take in 10% of Orange County, along with 64% of GOP-leaning Seminole and 67% of narrowly Dem-leaning Volusia. Once again, Republican gerrymandering in Central Florida can't possibly get much more aggressive without sacrificing a couple seats.

District 25 - Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Miami) -- see the 18th and 21st.

New District 26 - Central FL, Leans Republican -- Osceola and St. Lucie Counties favor Democrats, so it is no accident that I made the largest pop. source here 56% McCain-supporting Lake County, cutting through heavily GOP Okeechobee. Due to the inclusion of Osceola, there will be a significant Hispanic minority here, and a Dem base vote of about 46-47%, rendering it vulnerable to a future loss. Is there a way to draw this that is better for the Republicans? Probably, and I'm sure their computers will find it...but Putnam, Posey, Rooney, Bilirakis, Brown-Waite, and Stearns all need to be protected at the same time. The balance along I-4 really is that tenuous for them.

Overall, my map is flawed, as is the current map in Florida. I intended for realism's sake to create a masterful Republican gerrymander and ended up with a plan that would, at best, maintain the status quo with a 16-10 GOP edge (with the best possible scenario being an eventual 18-8 if Boyd retires, Kosmas is defeated, and every Republican seat stays intact...quite a tall order indeed). Unless Central FL swings decisively to the Republicans in 2010, there is minimal room for offense on their part...and how to stave off Dem advances in Miami-Dade? In the end, to everyone's surprise, the biggest winners from the next map may be incumbent Democrats like Klein, Grayson, and Kosmas who picked up seats drawn to reelect Republicans. It really is in the GOP's interest to salvage what they have in Florida rather than get too greedy.


This was a lot easier, though not exceedingly comforting for a Democrat. The severe population loss in the New Orleans area means that there may no longer be a strong Dem seat in Louisiana, let alone a VRA district. No doubt my proposed District 2 would retain a large black percentage, but I'm far from certain it would be anything near a majority. Might the same judicial system that once rejected Cleo Fields' "Z district" as a racial gerrymander change its tune in the name of the Voting Rights Act?

As for the political dynamics in Louisiana, Jindal will still be Governor at least through 2011, when redistricting starts, and the legislature is perilously close to flipping to the GOP (the House is already run by a de facto GOP-friendly coalition, with a Republican Speaker to boot). Even if the Senate remains in Democratic hands, Louisiana Dems aren't exactly known for their party loyalty.

But the task here is simple, and Democratic strength in the Pelican State has collapsed so rapidly that partisan considerations aren't nearly as influential as they would seem. Everyone agrees that a New Orleans-area seat has to be eliminated, so here's roughly what I imagine the somewhat Republican-esque legislature coming up with:


Note: Technically, Charlie Melancon's home was put in the 1st for population reasons, but I would expect him to run in the 2nd instead.

District 1 - Steve Scalise (R-Jefferson) -- had to expand in land, but stays heavily Republican.

District 2 - tentatively, Joseph Cao (R-New Orleans) vs. Charlie Melancon (D-Napoleonville) -- Melancon would do well to move here, as the boundaries do vaguely resemble his old 3rd, but since the bulk of district population is in Jefferson and Orleans Parishes, it's his seat that was cracked and eliminated. A New Orleans pol would be favored geographically, and I'm not sure what the political leanings would be here (my guess is competitive, with Dem strength in New Orleans offset by GOP dominance in Jefferson Parish). This might make a worthy court challenge, depending what the race stats are here (and I have no idea what they would be, nor does anyone else post-Katrina).

District 3 - John Fleming (R-Minden) -- still quite Republican and trending more so.

District 4 - Rodney Alexander (R-Quitman) -- other than the 1st, the most Republican district in the state.

District 5 - Bill Cassidy (R-Baton Rouge) -- I thought including some more former Melancon territory might help Cassidy and lessen the influence of Dem-friendly Baton Rouge, but it might also prompt Melancon to move here and mount a long-shot challenge instead of battling it out with a New Orleanian in the urban/suburban-dominated 2nd.

District 6 - Charles Boustany (R-Lafayette) -- expands in area, but is still the conservative Cajun seat.

Other than what happens with the eliminated seat, there shouldn't be too much drama in Louisiana, since Jindal's loyal GOPers and the conservative Dems will likely seek a consensus plan that somehow cracks Melancon's seat and consolidates it with NOLA. Actually, the real drama may arise in the courtroom re: racial demographics in each district.

Coming soon: Pennsylvania and Utah, followed by Arizona and New York. Eventually I may tackle other states as well, but I haven't even mapped New York yet.

EDIT: Clearly my Louisiana map is something of a flop, and I blame the fact that I drew it some weeks ago using 2007 estimates. If I'd known Orleans Parish had regained nearly 73,000 residents between 2007 and 2008, I would have drawn the lines a lot differently, and probably could have more easily retained that VRA New Orleans-area seat. I still imagine Melancon's seat being cracked, but the majority-black 2nd will remain (just expand due to population loss from 2000).

Hopefully my Florida effort was less ill-informed?

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There's no way in hell that the Justice Department lets them obliterate the VRA district in LA seeing as the state is still about 33% black. I may be wrong, but it looks like your current 2nd isn't going to be much more than 40% black. I'd be shocked if they even tried to pull that crap.

What seems most likely is that the current 6th gets eliminated with the 2nd taking in the African-American-heavy precincts in the center of Baton Rouge and the 1st district taking in the suburbs. Now, that doesn't mean that they may not try to dislodge Melancon. Maybe he'll have to take in a bunch more the uber-conservative suburbs as Scalise sees his turf shift West? For that matter, they might draw Scalise and Melancon into a very Republican district together, with Cassidy picking up the leftovers after soon-to-not-be-Cao's district has to eat up the core of his. That would be a gamble for them, though.

22, Democrat, AZ-01
Peace. Love. Gabby.

I agree
And LA-02 will almost surely get back in Democratic hands in 2010, and whoever wins the district would be heavily favored to beat Melancon if the latter is put in the New Orleans district.

[ Parent ]
I agree there should be a VRA seat in Louisiana
but is black population concentrated enough anywhere for one to be drawn without utterly bizarre lines that the SCOTUS would throw out à la the gerrymanders of LA-04, NC-12, GA-11, TX-18, et al. during the 1990s?  

20 years old, male, GA-12 (home), GA-10 (school); previously lived in CA-29, CA-28, CA-23, IL-06, IL-14, GA-01.

[ Parent ]
After some quick research...
It seems to me that unless Orleans Parish is a lot more populous than we think it is, the best hope for a black majority district is a reconstruction of Cleo Fields' LA-04 from the '90s...something curling down the Mississippi River from the eastern end of Rodney Alexander's district to Baton Rouge and New Orleans. If it's the only shot for a VRA seat, maybe the courts would accept it this time.

20 years old, male, GA-12 (home), GA-10 (school); previously lived in CA-29, CA-28, CA-23, IL-06, IL-14, GA-01.

[ Parent ]
New Orleans is already back at 400,000 people, and that's not the only thing in LA-02, there's also parts of Jefferson Parish, St. Bernard, St. John the Baptist and St. James parish.

Call no man happy until he is dead-Aeschylus

[ Parent ]
Census 2008 estimates say Orleans Parish has
311,853 people, which will be worth roughly 40% of district population. When I drew this map I was using 2007 estimates (239,124 people in Orleans Parish) that difference of 72,729 people is pretty significant in how the lines are drawn. If NOLA is up to 400,000 by the Census, it will be pretty easy to retain a VRA black seat in the 2nd, just between Orleans and Jefferson.

So I've now found the first significant casualty of my using 2007 stats instead of 2008.

20 years old, male, GA-12 (home), GA-10 (school); previously lived in CA-29, CA-28, CA-23, IL-06, IL-14, GA-01.

[ Parent ]
yeah the area is still seeing some population growth
but like I said, it will still remain Dem. Under your map Melancon woudln't run there. He'd jump over and run against Boustany and they would risk that.

Call no man happy until he is dead-Aeschylus

[ Parent ]
or Cassidy for that matter

Call no man happy until he is dead-Aeschylus

[ Parent ]
I kinda doubt it has to be that drastic
I'm digging through it right now and so far it looks like a New Orleans to central Baton Rouge map district would work out just fine. Don't forget that a lot of times there are heavily African-American areas of counties that are strongly White. Like for example a lot of the towns in Jefferson Parish that are south of the Mississippi river are plurality or majority Black (or at least were in 2000; it doesn't look like things have changed all THAT much since 2000, but that's always going to be the complicated thing about doing Louisiana). A district could still easily eat up a nice amount of population down there while staying the hell away from lily White places like Metairie.

22, Democrat, AZ-01
Peace. Love. Gabby.

[ Parent ]
A straight line to Baton Rouge
May be all thats needed. It really may be as simple as that, and not needing to go into Melancon, Scalise or Alexander's.

[ Parent ]
Even if it would no longer be anywhere as minority-heavy, could Melancon really ever win the Democratic primary? Wouldn't an African-American still be heavily favored? Or is the district too large spatially for that to happen?

Cao will be defeated in 2010
by a black Democrat.  So it is more likely that the Repubs will combine the seats of Melancon and the black Dem, or if there are enough Dems and non-partisan Repubs to revolt at that, Cassidy and Melancon might be put in the same district in a fair fight.  This district would consist of most of the current 6th, getting rid of the black areas of Baton Rouge to the 2nd, and Livingston County to the first, and then adding areas of the 3rd.

nobody seems to
understand they can't do this.  

Call no man happy until he is dead-Aeschylus

[ Parent ]
Another fascinating diary! (and another question from me)
So I don't know if this is possible, but my sense of Republican gerrymandering tactics is that they would, if they could, try to use the New Orleans-centered district to draw from both Melancon's and Cassidy's old districts while retaining its overwhelmingly Democratic lean, and maybe making LA-01 and LA-06 a little less flamingly conservative to call it a wash.

That would serve the dual purpose of pushing any moderate-to-conservative Democrat that could challenge Cassidy or Fleming even further to the right, and setting up the New Orleans seat as a self-perpetuating fundraising machine for the Louisiana Republican Party ("That New Orleans liberal is at it again, send in fifteen dollars to help make sure we keep him contained!").

What makes me ask this is that it seems like LA-03 and LA-01 basically look like the old LA-04 and LA-01 they replaced.  You might have already done this and I'm just not knowledgeable enough to catch it, but it was a thought.

That's a possibility
There are many ways they can get rid of Melancon, but they all bring up the question of how to handle the VRA issue. I agree with comments in this thread that my map is fatally flawed not to have a black-majority district, but am wondering how the legislature would draw one that isn't thrown out in court. Melancon's seat is low-hanging fruit and is the most likely to be cracked and eliminated from the delegation, but the leftovers won't be enough, from what I can see, to ensure a black VRA district unless the lines are radically altered from their 2002 iteration.

Anyone have thoughts on Florida?

20 years old, male, GA-12 (home), GA-10 (school); previously lived in CA-29, CA-28, CA-23, IL-06, IL-14, GA-01.

[ Parent ]
I don't see all of Collier county in the 25th
I don't think the white, conservatives would take too kindly to being represented by a Cuban-American no matter if it's a Republican or not plus I think this would make the 25th Hispanic enough. I'd think you'd have to put Naples (Collier County) into the 14th, where it currently resides.

[ Parent ]
a lot of Collier is in the 25th right now
but Naples is in the 14th, I think. Yeah, it should probably remain split. There were times when my reformist urges (avoid county-splitting, make logical shapes) took over, even when mapping horribly gerrymandered Florida.

More Florida comments?

20 years old, male, GA-12 (home), GA-10 (school); previously lived in CA-29, CA-28, CA-23, IL-06, IL-14, GA-01.

[ Parent ]
they can't get rid of Melancon
Dems control the Senate, you forget this, and they still control the house too. Melancon will retain a Cajun district and the NOLA district will remain dem as well. What they will try to do is shore up Cassidy even more and possibly even eliminate a North LA district so that Melancon and Boustany can take in significant parts of Central LA, along with Cassidy. Leaving Scalise and whoever beats Cao to swap some territory, liekly making NOLA not as overwhelmingly Dem, but probably still a 60-40 Obama district.

Call no man happy until he is dead-Aeschylus

[ Parent ]
Dems do control the Senate 23-16
and the House nominally (though by a single seat, and with a GOP Speaker at that), but there's a lot of recent history in the South of Dem legislatures shooting their own party in the foot when it comes to redistricting. Remember that Dems ran redistricting in Mississippi in 2001 and actually drew a map that all but ensured Ronnie Shows would lose to Chip Pickering (had something to do with turncoat Amy Tuck - can't remember the story).

Anyway, like I said, Dems in the Louisiana legislature aren't known for their party loyalty. With a de facto GOP-conservative Dem coalition commanding a majority in the legislature, why wouldn't Melancon be odd man out? As long as they keep a VRA seat (the real flaw in my map), no one will raise a stink in court about it.

20 years old, male, GA-12 (home), GA-10 (school); previously lived in CA-29, CA-28, CA-23, IL-06, IL-14, GA-01.

[ Parent ]
well Mississippi also had something
to do with black dems wanting all of the black and Democratic areas of Hinds put into Bennie Thompson's seat so they kind of screwed Ronnie Shows into a position of being in a wealthy white suburban Republican district he never had any chance of winning.

Call no man happy until he is dead-Aeschylus

[ Parent ]
Melancon's very popular
my hope is that Dems maintain their positon.

Call no man happy until he is dead-Aeschylus

[ Parent ]
as a Louisiainan I can tell you this map will be a NO!
One Cao will never be around in 2012, and two Melancon will never ever be drawn in with a NOLA area seat.

What's more likely to happen is Scalise and Cassidy will be drawn into the same district except heavily Black Baton Rouge is split between Melancon and whoever beats Cao. The sixth is more like to move into Central LA, not take tendrils of Melancon's district, and the 4th will probably move further south and take in Pointe Coupee and parts of Evangeline to cover massive population loss there.

New Orleans will lose a seat, but it won't be like that.

Call no man happy until he is dead-Aeschylus

My lack of racial data, more than any other single factor, really screwed up my Louisiana map. I also figured that Jindal and the rather conservative legislature wouldn't go for any plan that messes with Scalise or Cassidy.

Believe me, I'm 97% sure Cao will lose in 2010, which is why I called the Cao/Melancon matchup "tentative"'ll come down to a (probably black) Dem and Melancon. But I have no idea where to start with a true VRA seat in the wake of Katrina.

20 years old, male, GA-12 (home), GA-10 (school); previously lived in CA-29, CA-28, CA-23, IL-06, IL-14, GA-01.

[ Parent ]
dems have suffered lot lately for sure
but if they still control the senate they won't screw Melancon over. I could imagine the 4th and 6th combined even. They'll probably stick Melancon against Boustany and have the 4th take in parts of the areas around north lafayette Lake Charles too if they wanted to screw Melancon badly. Probaly not. If Dems control it they'll take out as much of Boustany's base as possible and leave Democratic Leaning Lake Charles in.

Call no man happy until he is dead-Aeschylus

[ Parent ]
how do you draw these congressional districts?
what tools do you use, I'm going to draw a "Dem Friendly" map, along with one for Mississippi and Arkansas.

Call no man happy until he is dead-Aeschylus

[ Parent ]
very low-tech
Census county pop. estimates, Mac equivalent of Microsoft Paint, and a calculator. That's literally it. Hence the imprecise results.

20 years old, male, GA-12 (home), GA-10 (school); previously lived in CA-29, CA-28, CA-23, IL-06, IL-14, GA-01.

[ Parent ]
no, no, how do you make the graphics?

Call no man happy until he is dead-Aeschylus

[ Parent ]
county map from Wikipedia + drawing on Paint

20 years old, male, GA-12 (home), GA-10 (school); previously lived in CA-29, CA-28, CA-23, IL-06, IL-14, GA-01.

[ Parent ]
so you just color
how do you make the precise county splits?

Call no man happy until he is dead-Aeschylus

[ Parent ]
not that precise
I use the calculator to figure out what % of each county will go to each district, then draw the lines with a Paint pencil cursor thingy to guesstimate the population percentages. It's a poor substitute for Maptitude, to be sure, but such is this private citizen's interest.

20 years old, male, GA-12 (home), GA-10 (school); previously lived in CA-29, CA-28, CA-23, IL-06, IL-14, GA-01.

[ Parent ]
how do you get maptittude?

Call no man happy until he is dead-Aeschylus

[ Parent ]
you spend mucho dinero

I'm pretty sure it runs in the thousands of $.

20 years old, male, GA-12 (home), GA-10 (school); previously lived in CA-29, CA-28, CA-23, IL-06, IL-14, GA-01.

[ Parent ]
More than I can afford
Supposedly, Larry Bartels drew the NJ legislative districts using it on a Thinkpad over a weekend in 2001.

It's powerful if you know what you're doing and have the right data.

[ Parent ]
Ya, I don't get the LA map
Dems will have just as much of a say as republicans.  Not sure why we're working under an assumption that repubs will have a stronger say.  I cannot see any scenario in which there isn't a heavily black New Orleans based seat and a seat pretty much safe for Melancon.

It's repubs who will have to sacrifice a seat barring a Dem pickup outside of LA-02 in 2010.

[ Parent ]
Good job with Florida
That map is very close to what I see playing out, unless Grayson gets ousted in 2010, which I doubt.  

Keeping the status quo and adding a new republican seat for a 16-10 delegation seems most likely for the short-term.  The republican bench in that new 26th district you drew is quite deep, so I doubt we could win it unless 2012 is a VERY good year for Democrats.  Grayson and Kosmas's seats would be far too difficult for republicans to bother making more republican.  If they don't concede those they risk seriously hurting themselves in surrounding districts.

Of course the long term prospects are very good.  The only Dem-held district we probably lose in the long-term in the 2nd district when Boyd retires.  However, the South FL Cubano districts are all trending Democratic.  We should get at least 1 or 2 of those three seats by the end of next decade.

I do like what you did with my district (FL-24).  It soaks up a good deal more of my county of Volusia, which is Suzanne Kosmas's base of support.  It also appears that it would increase the black voter base quite a bit which helps her.

why not just split
Bay County into some other Republican districts and have Boyd's district take in Gainesville?

Call no man happy until he is dead-Aeschylus

[ Parent ]
Republicans won't do that
As long as Republicans run redistricting in Florida, they will keep Boyd's district GOP-leaning so that it's theirs when he finally retires. His personal popularity prevents a pickup until then.

20 years old, male, GA-12 (home), GA-10 (school); previously lived in CA-29, CA-28, CA-23, IL-06, IL-14, GA-01.

[ Parent ]
Voting rights issues
If you take Gainesville away from the 3rd and give it to the 2nd it probably violates the voting rights act.  As things currently stand the 3rd district is drawn to encompass most of the heavily black precincts stretching through Jacksonville, Gainesville, Daytona Beach and into Orlando.  Take away Gainesville and the black portion of the district falls bigtime.

[ Parent ]
I figured Jacksonville, with a much bigger black population than Gainesville or Daytona, could pick up the slack. But I defer to the resident Floridian, as I'm up here in Savannah, fully two hours from the FL border.

20 years old, male, GA-12 (home), GA-10 (school); previously lived in CA-29, CA-28, CA-23, IL-06, IL-14, GA-01.

[ Parent ]
Oops, nevermind
I thought you were addressing my 3rd District; didn't realize you were speaking about the idea of moving Gainesville to the 2nd.

My 3rd District doesn't touch Gainesville or Daytona; it entirely avoids Alachua and Volusia Counties. Instead, it's heavy on Jacksonville with a touch of Orlando, and the rest in between. My notes indicate that my proposed 3rd contains 47% of Clay, 40% of Duval (presumably the most heavily black portions), 10% of Lake, 16% of Marion, 11.5% of Orange (again, the minority-heavy parts), and all of Putnam. Do you think it would still constitute a VRA black district as I drew it?

20 years old, male, GA-12 (home), GA-10 (school); previously lived in CA-29, CA-28, CA-23, IL-06, IL-14, GA-01.

[ Parent ]
It didn't, pre-2002
The pre-2002 version of the 3rd district didn't include Gainesville. It met VRA standards with communities from Duval, Seminole, and Orange County alone. The Black population of Alachua County is only 20% of 240,000, per the Census. I would expect that the 3rd's part of Alachua County has only a Black minority and that it is a partisan gerrymander first and foremost.  

[ Parent ]
Thanks for commenting on Florida, LOL
So as a Floridian, you agree that the smartest thing the GOP could do is play status quo? Considering how effective their 2002 gerrymander was, that's the sense that I get (even though the Dems have picked up three seats since then, they've all been in places where GOP influence is receding -- near I-4 for Grayson and Kosmas, and in liberal-leaning South FL for Klein).

They could probably be a little harder on Kosmas than I was (crack up Volusia County a bit less advantageously for her), but not too much without seriously endangering some of their Central FL concoctions or sacrificing the new 26th...particularly with Dem strength on the rise in the region.

I'm glad to have a Sunshine Stater's stamp of approval. Florida was the toughest map I had to tackle.

20 years old, male, GA-12 (home), GA-10 (school); previously lived in CA-29, CA-28, CA-23, IL-06, IL-14, GA-01.

[ Parent ]
South Florida
Republicans have no "wiggle room" there.  The three Cubano districts are already as republican as possible and there's nothing they can do but keep the districts static and hope their three incumbents can hold out for as long as possible.  

The other South FL district drawn for a republican was the 22nd and it was made as republican as humanly possible for Clay Shaw, who was defeated in 2006.  There's nothing they can do to oust Klein.

Kosmas is actually from the southern part of Volusia, New Smyrna, which is about 10 miles south of me.  They can't screw with that district much or risk hurting people like Mica and Posey in surrounding districts that are only marginally republican as is.  Kosmas is already  in her mid-60's and Dems have very little bench in the 24h, so they might just try to wait her out.

Even that new 26th district you drew to be marginally republican reminds me a lot of the 8th district in that it will probably trend Democratic firly quickly as the supposedly republican 8th district did this decade.

[ Parent ]
These all matched my impressions
I figured they could only do minimal damage to Kosmas, and Grayson and Klein are pretty much set. Boyd's district is as conservative as it'll get and every Republican is just waiting for him to retire. Obviously the other six Dem seats are ridiculously safe.

And yeah, I sense that with Osceola voting 60-40 for Obama, even my proposed 26th has an expiration date on its Republican tilt...and as you can tell, I went out of my way to draw a GOP-friendly map.

20 years old, male, GA-12 (home), GA-10 (school); previously lived in CA-29, CA-28, CA-23, IL-06, IL-14, GA-01.

[ Parent ]
With the turnout of a Presidential election
I would expect the Dems to target this district, bench or no.

I think it's likely that gerrymanders will rise or fall on the popularity of the President.  

[ Parent ]
Any idea on the Hispanic population in the new seat?
I'd imagine it has to be over20%, maybe closer to 30% given Osceola County is majority Hispanic.  I'm reasonably sue both parties have a bench of Hispanic elected officials in the area.  It would probably be wise to nominate one, especially in a year Obama and Bill Nelson are on the ballot.

[ Parent ]
Scratch that about Osceola
Here are the 2005 demographics on Osceola County.

2005 estimates
As of 2005 Osceola County's population was
49.8% non-Hispanic white
37.8% Hispanic
10.1% African-American
2.8% Asian
1.9% non-Hispanic persons reporting more than one race

The county has 172,000 people in 2000, undoubtably much higher by now.

Given that almost all of the growth in Osceola is Hispanic it could well be the anchor of a new 26th district as you drew it.  I'd imagine by 2012 the Hispanic poopulation will be approaching 50%, with the white population significantly lower than the just below 50% number it's at now.

[ Parent ]
I expect the 22 to be made
much safer for Klein in the next round. It will be the 3rd Jewish S-FL district.  

[ Parent ]
I'm not sure why they would do that.
Klein's district is home to the only two legislative Republicans left in the legislature from Broward and southern Palm Beach County: Hasner and Bogdanovich. Republicans have every incentive to pack the 19th and 20th districts with more Democrats and make this district more competitive in the hopes that the national environment will favor a Republican there again.  

[ Parent ]
It's very clear why they would
They need the Republican votes for other more marginal districts that they already have.  

[ Parent ]
Normally I'd agree
But in looking at the map of FL-22 it seems that the district is surrounded by very democratic districts.  I'm not sure making the 22nd more solidly democratic would help the other south FL republican districts much if any.

[ Parent ]
It could trade some territory
with IRL over the water, and some of her new Republican strength could be cascaded west.  

[ Parent ]
didn't they already draw FL-22 as Republican as they possibly could to help Clay Shaw (who had barely been reelected in 2000)?

20 years old, male, GA-12 (home), GA-10 (school); previously lived in CA-29, CA-28, CA-23, IL-06, IL-14, GA-01.

[ Parent ]
Yes they did
I believe the lean is something like D+4.  I seriously doubt even the most creatively re-drawn map could make it anywhere less than D+3.

[ Parent ]
and Obama's victory in FL-22 was only 52-48
So you think if they target anyone for defeat, even marginally, it'll be Klein rather than Grayson or Kosmas?

20 years old, male, GA-12 (home), GA-10 (school); previously lived in CA-29, CA-28, CA-23, IL-06, IL-14, GA-01.

[ Parent ]
No, not really
I don't think they'll really target any Democratic incumbents.  They may try to weaken FL-02 and FL-24 a tad though.  And I don't think they'd even do that to defeat Boyd or Kosmas, but rather to weaken those seats because both incumbents are already up there in age and they would have a good shot at taking them when they retire.

I'll bet they just leave the FL-22 boundaries similar to what they are now and just hope they have a good year and can oust Klein or in hopes Klein leaves the seat eventually to run statewide.  

Grayson, especially if he wins easily in 2010, will probably just get a more Democratic seat in order to shore up surrounding republican seats like the 12th (which is trending our way) and a new 26th district.

The only instance I can forsee a serious targetting of a Democrat for defeat would be if our candidate in the 2010 12th district open seat race manages to win.  The  republican is going to be favored, but we have a great recruit who definately has a chance.  Unfortunately should she win she'd be fairly easy to redistrict out of her seat in 2012, similar to how Karen Thurman was redistricting out in 2002.

[ Parent ]
Thurman barely lost in '02,
which was a pretty terrible year for Democrats.

[ Parent ]
True, but with population growth, they could shift it north and take even more Republican territory from FL-16. The main obstacle there is that Tom Rooney lives in Tequesta and grew up in Palm Beach Gardens, so he's already at the extreme southern end of his district and won't move just so a Republican can have a marginally better shot at FL-22.

I don't know enough about the tendrils at the southern part of the district and do feel that they've maxed out Republican strength there.  

[ Parent ]
With your FL map did you consider the state legislative leadership that will be responsible for redistricting and creating the new FL-26? The guy who will be House speaker during redistricting is from Orange and the Senate President is from Brevard/Indian River. I don't see anything for them with this map. Impossible to think that one of them could carve something out, a la Feeney?

Wasn't just Feeney
I think Diaz-Balart drew the new 25th district for himself in 2002 as well.

But ya, with likely only one new seat it will probably be drawn by one of the FL GOP leaders in Tallahassee with himself in mind.

[ Parent ]
Good call. He was head of the redistricting committee.

[ Parent ]
And it worked out so well for both
Feeney got clobbered in a 16 point blowout loss in 2008 and Diaz-Balart's district is becoming more marginal by the day, barely hanging on in a 53-47 win last year.

[ Parent ]
Yeah, trying to circumvent the demographic shift has really hurt them
Wonder what the rest of the map would look like assuming that the new seat goes to someone in FL GOP leadership - a seat carved out by the senate prez. would really foul things up in that part of the state (Brevard/Indian River) for Repubs..Posey, Rooney, and Putnam's open seat could all be affected. Same goes for the Orlando speaker - hard to draw a new Repub seat in central florida without shoring up both Grayson and Kosmas and maybe weakening Mica/Posey.

Not to mention
Nathaniel's map is probably in target in that the new seat would probably have to eat up a good chunk of Osceola County, which will probably be a majority Hispanic county fairly early in the next decade.  And I'm not talkign republican-leaning ones, I'm talking heavily democratic-leanign Hispanic groups.  The district would start out in 2012 as being republican-leaning, but there's a very good chance it would turn into a dem-leaning district after a couple election cycles.

[ Parent ]

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