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This map started out as an exercise in trying to draw a district for Gretchen Whitmer (who is awesome, but the way) to run for congress in. I turned into an attempt to drawn a semi-clean statewide map. The map comes out to about 8-3-3, and no district has more than 2 split counties.

Detroit Closeup:

Details below the fold:

District 1 (Blue, Dan Benishek):
54.3% Obama, 44.0% McCain.
The UP district get a lot bluer, going from 48 to 54% Obama. It does it by dumping huge swaths or red rural Northeastern Michigan and picking up a lot of Democratic stuff along the lake Michigan coast, including Traverse City, Manistee, Ludington, and Muskegon. Benishek would have lost in 2010 under these lines.

District 2 (Green):
52% Obama, 46.3% McCain
This district doesn't really resemble any existing districts and has no incumbents, however, there's a good chance David Camp would run here. It contains parts of of the old 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 5th districts. It connects norther rural Michigan to Saginaw and Bay City. At only 52% Obama, this district undeniably leans Republican, however it is definitely winnable for a Democrat, especially since over half of Camp's constituents would be new.

District 3 (Purple, David Camp):
52.9% Obama, 45.4 % McCain
The core of this district is the same: Grand Rapids. However, instead of being attached to the Rabidly Republican remainder of Kent County, it goes further north for some more moderate turf. Justin Amash does not live here and would not want to run here. A Republican would probably be favored, but it would be very winnable for a Democrat. David Camp lives here and might run here, however, that's no given, as the 2nd is probably a better fit for him.

District 4 (red, Justin Amash, Bill Huizenga):
40.3% Obama, 58.0% McCain.
This is the Mother of all GOP vote sinks. It combines the blood red Grand Rapids suburbs and the blood red turf in Ottowa and Allegan counties. Both Bill Hulzega and Justin Amash live here, which would set up an entertaining primary.

District 5 (Yellow, Fred Upton):
55.0% Obama, 43.4% McCain.
Fred Upton's district gets a point more Democratic by picking up Calhoun County and Battle Creek. Upton's probably fine here, but if he retires or is primaried, the Democrat is probably slightly favored. Mark Schauer lives here now and could run here.

District 6 (Teal, Dale Kidlee, Mike Rogers):
57.0% Obama, 41.4% McCain.
This district is the successor to Dale Kidlee's district. Mike Rogers lives here and might run here, however, most of his old constituents are in the 7th. This district is still reasonably solidly Democratic, however, we might lose it with a bad candidate in a bad year. I'm actually not sure if I was too greedy in dropping the Obama percentage to 57 I actually even drew an alternate map in which this district had the city of Saginaw, the 2nd had Newago County, and the 3rd had Gratriot County. The result was that this district was 59% Obama, but our chances of picking up the 2nd and 3rd were reduced. I guess it's mostly a matter of how much risk you're willing to take.

District 7 (Grey):
57.4% Obama, 41.0% McCain.

This is the district that started it all. It's centered around Lansing, takes in Jackson, and would hopefully elect Gretchen Whitmer. It most closely resembles Mike Roger's old district, and he might run here, but would be the underdog.

District 8 (Slate Blue, Tim Walberg):
60.2% Obama, 38.2% McCain.
Now this is just delicious. Tim Walberg in a 60% Obama district. It's not really a question of wether he would lose so much as to whom.

District 9 (Cyan):
46.1% Obama, 52.0% McCain.
Cadince Miller's district drops it's Macomb county portions to mop up Tuscola and Lapeer counties, as well as the bad parts of Oakland County. The best part? She doesn't even live in the district anymore! This district, while not quite as Republican as my MI-04, is still a pretty brutal Republican vote sink.

District 10 (Pink, Gary Peters):
53.8% Obama, 44.7% McCain.
This is basically Gary Peter's old district, although it gets two points more Republican and is pretty evenly split. I think Peters would do pretty well here assuming we didn't have a repeat of 2010, though. Thad McCotter might run here as his old district got obliterated.

District 11 (Chartreuse, Sandy Levin, Cadince Miller):
57.9% Obama, 40.3% McCain.
Levin's district takes in a lot more Macomb county and gets a bit more Republican, but he should be fine.

District 12 (Cornflower Blue, Hansen Clarke):
79.5.0% Obama, 19.5% McCain. 50% Black VAP.
Clarke's district has to expand, so it snakes further south. It still satisfies VRA and is still overwhilming Dem.

District 13 (Salmon, John Conyers, Thad McCotter):
77.1% Obama, 21.8% 50% Black VAP.
Conyer's district had to be a bit more creative to avoid serious retrogression, going down to Romulus and into southern Oakland County. Hilariously, Thad McCotter lives here, but would probably not be stupid enough to run here. (On the other hand, he did run for president...)

District 14 (Olive, John Dingell):
59.0% Obama, 39.4% McCain.
Instead of going over to Ann Arbor, Dingell's district snakes around to southern oakland county. At 59% Obama, the Dean of the House should be fine.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Interesting. (0+ / 0-)

     I think I would rather have fewer swingy seats and more safe seats. also, for district 4 I think you switched the Obama/McCain numbers.

     Benishek might be my least-favorite in a shockingly bad Michigan Congressional delegation. Please do better in 2012, Michigan. Students for a New American Politics!

    by redrelic17 on Sun Nov 06, 2011 at 08:50:51 PM PST

    •  Actually, I was copy+pasting the district headings (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      James Allen, redrelic17

      and just forgot to change the Obama / McCain% for district 4. Fixed, and thanks for pointing it out!

      •  CD1/CD2 (0+ / 0-)

         Is there any way to make one of them safe Democratic while abandoning the other. Is this area not the home of the "Michigan Militia?" Students for a New American Politics!

        by redrelic17 on Sun Nov 06, 2011 at 09:09:08 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  NOt really (0+ / 0-)

          I already did a lot to make the 1st a lot safer for Democrats. I suppose I probably could have given the 1st Apena and Presque Isle Counties instead of Emmet, Charlevoix, and Antrim counties, but picking up some random counties on Lake Huron looks a lot uglier than what I did in essentially going down the Lake Michigan Coast, and probably wouldn't change the occasion more than a half a point. The first is actually a reasonably strong district for Dems, as Obama didn't do nearly as well there in comparison to other Democrats as he did in the rest of the state.

          And as I noted, if I was gonna concede the second, it would be to shore up Kidlee's district by giving him Saginaw.

        •  considering the territory in the 1st, I think (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          bumping it up as much as he has makes it pretty safe.

          I changed by not changing at all, small town predicts my fate, perhaps that's what no one wants to see. -6.38, -4.15

          by James Allen on Sun Nov 06, 2011 at 09:25:45 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Nice. (0+ / 0-)

    I changed by not changing at all, small town predicts my fate, perhaps that's what no one wants to see. -6.38, -4.15

    by James Allen on Sun Nov 06, 2011 at 09:03:10 PM PST

  •  I was all into this sort of thing last year (0+ / 0-)

    and into this spring, but not sure what the point is now that the maps are what they are. Are we going to spend the next ten years playing fantasy politics?

    Not complaining, just wondering.

    Mark E. Miller // Kalamazoo Township Trustee // MI 6th District Democratic Chair

    by memiller on Sun Nov 06, 2011 at 09:11:12 PM PST

  •  Candice Miller lives in northern Macomb... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BeloitDem, nycyoungin

    So technically she lives in your 11th District, though obviously she'd run in your 9th District.

    Two observations; I think your 3rd, 4th and 5th are pretty close to what Democrats would actually draw if they controlled the trifecta. However, it's more likely they'd include Muskegon County in the 3rd District instead of in the 1st, as it'd just too different than the Upper peninsula or Northern Michigan. They're both economically populist and organized labor plays a big part in the politics of both areas, but for different reasons (i.e. heavy industry in Muskegon and mining/timber/tourism up north). Democratic legislators from both areas would never be in favor of it.

    What would be more likely to happen would be for Democrats to draw the rest of Bay City into the 1st, making it more like a combination between the current 1st and the old 5th that was represented by Jim Barcia in the 1990's.

    District 1 (Hypothetical)

    This district would be 51.2% Obama - 56.9% McCain.

    Is neither cool, nor named Ben. MI-06 (Home), MI-02 (College), Male, 20. -7.25, -0.26.

    by koolbens on Sun Nov 06, 2011 at 09:16:13 PM PST

  •  Not bad at all (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    pretty solid Democratic gerrymander that doesn't even look to ugly.  Obviously it could be tweaked to probably get at least 10 solid Dem districts but that would involve a lot of cracking counties and drawing tendril districts.  Your map is a lot more realistic and entirely fine by me.

    Now somehow we just gotta figure out how to take back the Michigan government...

  •  Better late than never... (0+ / 0-)

    I've been meaning to post a comment , but just haven't done it until now...

    This is a good redistricting for Michigan and, given the restrictions of following county lines as much as possible, avoiding tentacles, and (barely) having two black-majority districts, about as good as it gets for Michigan, but I wouldn't consider it a gerrymander.

    My definition of a gerrymander is when you can get a majority of the seats with a minority of the vote.  As an example, the 2002 districting here in Michigan resulted in Bush carrying 10 of the 15 districts in both 2000 and 2002, despite losing the state 46/51 to Gore and 48/51 to Kerry

    This actually is a redistricting that's reasonably fair for either party.  Evaluating the districts at a 50/50 vote split, I get 7 D districts (6-8 and 11-14) and 7 R's (1-5 and 9-10).  If the Dems get 48%, they win four districts (8 and 12-14), and if the Dems get 46% they win only the two Detroit-based districts.  On the upside, at 52% they pull in district 5 for a total of eight, and at 54% they add districts 1 and 10 and a 50/50 split in 3 for a total of 10.5 (matters are asymmetric because of the two monster D vote sinks in districts 12 and 13).

    Not that this is how the districts actually would shake out at the congressional level.  Incumbency counts for a lot, and so does the quality of candidates (Gary Peters in particular is awesome at campaigning and making ad dollars count).

    This just points up the problem the Dems would have were they ever to be in control of redistricting in a state like Michigan.

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