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Redistricting a 5-3 Democratic Wisconsin

by: BeloitDem

Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 2:14 PM EDT

This is my first foray into the redistricting game, so I decided to use my adoptive home state of Wisconsin. I tried to create the most Democratic map possible while maintaining reasonably compact districts and for the most part respecting communities of interest. The result was a map that should go 5-3 democratic in all but the very worst of years.

Madison / Milwaukee Close-Up:

Detailed analysis of the districts below the fold

BeloitDem :: Redistricting a 5-3 Democratic Wisconsin
1st (Blue, Ryan): Okay, so I know the smartass way to nuke Paul Ryan is to draw Janesville into Tammy's district and give the new first district a huge chuck of Milwaukee proper so he can't move, but I felt that that didn't really respect communities of interest, so this is the next best option. What I did was get rid of Waukesha and the annoying parts of Racine, and gave him Whitewater, the rest of Rock County, Green, some of the less annoying (although still probably mildly Republican) parts of Jefferson, and southern Dane county. With a strong Dem candidate, this district should boot Paul Ryan, and continue electing that Democrat for the foreseeable future.

2nd (Green, Baldwin): To some extent, Tammy's district got cannibalized to make some of the other districts more democratic. I had her eat half of Jefferson County, all of Dodge, Half of Fond du Lac County, and even gave her corners of Waukesha and Washington. I took some steps to avoid weakening her district too much, though. She still has all of Madison proper, over half of her votes are still in Dane, and I gave her Oshkosh in addition to some of the more heavily Republican stuff.

3rd (Purple, Kind): Ron Kind's district is perhaps a smidgin more Republican, but if so, not by much, and he probably still would have beaten Kapanke last year in it. It drops Eau Claire and Dunn Counties, but picks up Columbia and a corner of Dane from Tammy and Adams and most of Marquette from Petri. All of that is light blue turf except for Marquette County, which doesn't have a terribly huge population.

4th (Red, Duffy): Duffy will have an extremely hard time hanging on in this district. I left him with the already Democratic parts of his district (Sevens Point and the Superior stuff) while throwing in the heavily democratic Eau Claire and Dunn and hollowing out a lot of the reddish rural stuff that he had. Any competent democrat should be able to win this district.

5th (Yellow, Moore): Not much to see here. Milwaukee is a huge Democratic vote sink, but there's not much I can do about that if I want to respect compactness and communities of interest.

6th (Teal, Sennsenbrenner): Basically, Sennsenbrenner's district moves south a bit to eat up the parts of Ryan's district I wanted to get rid of. Still solidly Republican.

7th (Grey, Petri): This was the most frustrating district for me. I struggled a lot with the decision to give Petri Appleton, but if I hadn't, I would have had to give him a lot of Rural turf up north, which would have been a bit snake-like for the sort of map I was trying to draw. I also probably could have made this district a bit cleaner (and forced Petri to move) by giving Tammy Fond du Lac city and some more of Washington or Waukesha instead of Oshkosh, but I thought that might be pushing it. Despite the addition of Appleton, probably still pretty safely republican.

8th (Slate Blue, Ribble): Alas, while Ribble would be forced to move, getting rid of Appleton makes this district far more safe for Ribble, although a Democrat could probably still win in a really good year. Not much else to say here, besides that Ribble also ate a lot of Duffy's reddish rural turf.

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Very nice and effective
Do you think a 6-2 is possible?  With one "circle of ignorance" district and one with the other GOP parts of Eastern Wisconsin?  Or is that too much dummymander potential....

21,Democrat, NY-02, male

You could probably create another lean Democrat district
By throwing Appleton, Green Bay, and Oshkosh together, but you'd either have to give Tammy Baldwin a lot more of Waukesha and Washington, which could risk being a dummymander in bad years, or give her her old turf from the first back and throw communities of interest by the wayside by giving Ryan a lot of Milwaukee.

Plus no matter how you drew it, Petri's district wouldn't be compact at all.

[ Parent ]
This is what a 6-2 Wisconsin map would look like:

As you can see, it doesn't really respect compactness at all (although it does respect communities of interest).

And the Green Bay to Oshkosh District would be democratic, but not very safe.

[ Parent ]
Yeah, the Ribble district wouldn't be safe but..
don't you think Kagen would have won re-election under these lines, or at least lost very narrowly?  I'd say this is a 6-2 map barring a 2010ish wave, and even then, odds are even that it stays.

21,Democrat, NY-02, male

[ Parent ]
Kagan's election would have been a lot closer
but I suspect he still would have lost. In pretty much any other year that district would be pretty solid for a Democrat. My primary reason for not drawing it that way in my original map was compactness.

[ Parent ]
Here is a potential 6-2
The 1st and 8th are incredibly gerrymandered but I think this map would produce a reliable 5-3, with a swingy 7th and maybe in a best case scenario we could capture the 6th.


The Southeast:


I don't really see us winning Petri's district in any of these maps even under optimal conditions
especially when we're drawing Oshkosh, Neenah, and Manitowoc and Sheboygan cities into Kagan's district. All of those counties are pretty darn red outside of their cities, and the potentially sorta swingish stuff up north doesn't have enough population to counteract that.

[ Parent ]

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