The debate right now for the GOP is whether to play is "safe" with a 9-5 map or to go greedy and a 10-4. I'm undecided on what I think is best. Much of that has to do with the APOL standards regarding limiting the county and municipal breaks, as well as the shape of the district (they prefer squares to snakes). APOL applies to state districts, but there is question to what extend they apply to the federal districts. Part of the problem is that fed law trumps state law, and by fed law, there is no variation (one person max) among district population. That means there will be a lot more breaks. This map that I did stretchs APOL a bit. I took a few things in mind when I did this map. 2004 and 2008 numbers, voting rights act, strength of the candidates/likely candidates, and likelihood of us taking 10 of these seats, and avoiding what happened to Joe Knollenberg in 2008. I think this is a probable 10-4 map, and at worse 9-4-1 or 9-4-2 if someone retires. I used the Obama numbers as a near worse case scenario (McCain quitting the state, outorganized, wave election)
The tough part, from a GOP standpoint is what those who follow redistricting call the blue sinks. Democrat strongholds. In order to do a 9-4 map, I have to spread enough blue sinks around without it backfiring (as it did in Pennsylvania).
To save time, I didn't do 3rd party votes, so my percentages are off slightly. These are all approximations, since I can't do 1 vote difference with Dave's Redistricting software. Dave Gardow did a great job on this. I don't share his politics, but he has the best redistricting software I've seen out there.
District 1. Under the current district 1, Obama won it 49.99-48.11, and Bush won it 53.28-45.58. This one is a near 50/50 split as well. Obama won the two party vote 50.41-49.59 and Bush won it 55.34-44.66. It is currently held by Dr. Dan Benishek, who beat a strong opponent in Gary McDowell by 10 pts.
|Dan's Proposed 1st District.|
This district covers the entire UP. He also has in the lower peninsula Alcona, Alpena, Antrim, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Crawford, Emmet, Iosco, Montmorency, Ogemaw, Oscoda, Otsego, and Presque Isle.
Grand Traverse, Kalkaska and Roscommon would be new to this district. Grand Traverse County is republican, although Traverse City is a light blue sink. Kalkaska is strongly Republican. Roscommon County is a swing county which voted for Bush, Obama, Camp, and Sheltrown. I removed rural Bay County, Arenac County, and Gladwin County, which are all swing to slightly democrat areas.
District 2. The current District 2 went 59.99%-39.05% Bush and 50.74-47.61% McCain. This one has the two party vote going 50.65% McCain and 59.16% Bush so it is slightly less Republican. Bill Huizenga is a 1st term rep who won easily in the current district. Here's the map he'd have under this scenario.
|Dan's proposed 2nd District|
The old district covers Benzie, Lake, Manistee, Mason, Muskegon, Newaygo, Oceana, Ottawa, Wexford, a small part of Kent County, and part of Allegan County. Under this proposed map, Huizenga keeps Benzie, Lake, Manistee, Mason, Muskegon, Newaygo, Oceana, and Ottawa. He removes Allegan, Wexford, and the Kent County Portion. He adds Leelanau, and part of Isabella County. (Sherman, Broomfield, Deerfield, and Union Townships, along with Mt Pleasant.) I wanted the 2nd district to pick up a blue sink, and I didn't want Camp to get too many because I had to finess that district a bit.
District 3. This was a tough one to peg. It's Gerry Ford county, went big for Bush and Ehlers, but Grand Rapids itself's been going blue in a big way, and Obama and Granholm did extremely well in West Michigan. The current district is most of Kent County, and all of Barry and Ionia Counties. The current rep is first termer Justin Amash who won an upset in a primary (by a big margin) and did better than expected against the democrat considering the RINO's backing him. The old 3rd was 59.09-39.93% Bush and 49.49%-48.81% McCain. The proposed district is about the same with 50.19% of the two party vote going to McCain and 59.59% of the two party vote going Bush.
|Dan's proposed 3rd District|
I originally wanted to sneak this down to Battle Creek, but even testing APOL, I didn't expect that to fly. I kept Barry and Kent Counties, and gave up Ionia. I tried to avoid splitting the municipalities. I tried to carve up Eaton County instead. I did not want to give Walberg any of Eaton County because he runs poorly there with the state workers who loved Joe Schwarz. Amash probably wouldn't do a lot better there, but he doesn't have Delta or the Lansing portion. It stops at Grand Ledge. Charlotte is the other tough part. Both of those areas are still very winnable for Republicans (Even Delta Twp went for Bush twice, although leans more democrat than the rest of the county outside of the portion of Lansing)
District 4 - This is a mess. I think Congressman Dave Camp will be very less than impressed with this map. I would be too if I was him and really don't like it that much myself. The trouble with even his current district who takes from who? Camp's district seems to get what's left without it being too democrat. The current district has Leelanau, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Missaukee, Roscommon, Osceola, Clare, Mecosta, Midland, Isabella, most of Saginaw County (outside urban Saginaw area), Gratiot, Montcalm, and 1/2 of Shiawassee County. The current district went 54.84%Bush and50.09% Obama. The proposed district has Obama with 50.23 and Bush with 55.88% of the 2-party vote. While the numbers are more favorable at the top of the ticket, I'm still nervous about this one.
|Dan's proposed 4th district|
The proposed district gives up Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, and Roscommon to Benishek. It gives up the Mt Pleasant area (Democrat, but he runs well there) to Huizenga. It takes Clinton from Rogers and gives up Shiawassee to Kildee. It also adds part of Eaton County. Most concerning to me is that it takes rural Bay County, Gladwin County, and Arenac County from Benishek. I couldn't risk Ogenaw, because then I set this up for Sheltrown. I couldn't give Bay City to Camp because of ex Congressman and state-senator Jim Barcia, a moderate who who is probably the best vote-getter among democrats in his area. Bay City had to stay with Kildee for that reason. Combining rural Bay and much of Saginaw County together is risky enough for a Barcia type to make a darkhorse run. The part of Eaton I gave to Camp was to protect Walberg. It leans democrat without some of the other rural areas, but most years, not overwhelmingly so outside of the small Lansing portion.
District 5 - This is a blue sink district currently held by Dale Kildee. It has all of Genesee County, along with Tuscola County, and the Bay City and Saginaw City areas. I kept a lot of it the same, but carved up Genessee County outside the Flint area, gave Shiawassee County as a bridge, and snuck down and took Lansing, East Lansing, and Meridian Township from Rogers. Williamstown Township was the bridge, and I am going to hear about that one. This district tests the APOL standards more than any other one. In order to get a 10-4 Map I'm somewhat less uncomfortable with, I had to do this.
|Dan's proposed 5th District|
I decided to have Rogers risk part of Genesee and rural Ingham instead of Lansing, East Lansing, and Meridian Township. He runs well there, but not so well that he couldn't be at risk. When you look at vote spreads, Lansing, Lansing Twp, East Lansing, and Meridian Township combine at the top of the ticket for a 27000-45000 vote deficit. Pontiac, my other option for Kildee combines for 13-17000. While Mike Rogers usually runs close in Ingham County overall, that's a 60% county at the top of the ticket. I had to move Kildee's district somewhere to pick up the population he needed, and the more blue areas to him the better for the rest of the GOP. I removed the swing areas and some light blue areas from(outside Flushing because of John Gleason if Kildee retires), and kept the stronger democrat areas (Clio and the Cherrys, Burton, Mt Morris) in his district. I removed Tuscola County as well.
I'm splitting this up in parts 1-3.