Republican official shares Democrats’ redistricting plan

Print More
A possible congressional redistricting map.

A possible congressional redistricting map.

A Republican official passed along a version of a congressional redistricting map that he was told was one of the top options for Democratic leaders.

With multiple maps floating around, there is no way to verify the accuracy of the source. But the map and the accompanying chart of population and voting statistics suggest that this is a credible option for how Democratic officials would redraw the 6th Congressional District to make Republican Rep. Roscoe Bartlett vulnerable in 2012. This is a map that favors a Republican in only one of Maryland’s eight congressional districts – Rep. Andy Harris in the purple 1st Congressional District, which votes even more heavily Republican than it does now.

Because one redrawn line causes a shift somewhere else, the changes to benefit a Democrat running against 10-term incumbent Bartlett, who is 85 and has only a modest campaign chest, also cause shifts in other congressional districts.

The map shows almost half of Montgomery County being added to the 6th District, which would also include the most heavily Democratic areas of southern Frederick County, including the city of Frederick.

Most of northern Frederick County would be attached to the pink 8th Congressional District, now represented by Rep. Chris Van Hollen, and all of Carroll County would go to the yellow 7th Congressional District, now served by Rep. Elijah Cummings.

The light purple 2nd Congressional District (Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger), and the orangey 3rd Congressional District (Rep. John Sarbanes) would remain heavily truncated, with Sarbanes picking up more of Howard County. The deep purple 5th District (House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer) would stretch from Point Lookout on the tip of St. Mary’s County to Annapolis.

Rep. Donna Edwards in the green 4th Congressional District would lose parts of Montgomery County and pick up part of Anne Arundel, which would remain sliced into four congressional districts – a slicing widely opposed by county residents at the Annapolis hearing of the Governor’s Redistricting Advisory Committee.

The most telling part of the map is not the shapes, which are fairly vague in this scanned paper version, but the charts. The chart shows the vote in each district in the 2010 governor’s race between Martin O’Malley and Bob Ehrlich, the vote in the 2008 presidential race between Barack Obama and John McCain, and percentage of voting age African Americans.

How people actually vote in top-of-ticket races is a much better indication of their partisan leanings than their voter registration.

In all but the proposed 1st Congressional District, which would include most of northern Baltimore County, voters preferred Democrat O’Malley to Republican Ehrlich and Obama to McCain. In the Harris district, Ehrlich and McCain won by wide margins. As the current 6th District exists, Ehrlich and McCain won that district as well.

In the next several weeks, the governor’s committee will make its recommendations and Gov. O’Malley will propose it to the legislature which he is expected to call into special session the week of Oct. 17 so that the lines will be redrawn in time for the April 3rd presidential primary.

–Len Lazarick