The Fix: House, redistricting

In 1996, House Democrats also won the popular vote but remained in the minority (kind of)

In 1996, House Democrats also won the popular vote but remained in the minority (kind of)

There remains quite a bit of chatter about something we posted on last week: House Democrats winning more of the popular vote than Republicans, yet still remaining in the minority.

It turns out this has happened at least four other times in the last century, including as recently as 1996 -- another election after a big GOP wave in which Democrats won the popular vote but failed to gain a lot of seats. (Actually that year is pretty analogous for a lot of reasons, including a Democratic president being reelected and Democrats winning right around 200 seats.)

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Democratic House candidates winning the popular vote, despite big GOP majority

Democratic House candidates winning the popular vote, despite big GOP majority

Democratic House candidates appear to have won more of the popular vote than their Republican counterparts on Tuesday, despite what looks as though it will be a 35-seat GOP majority.

According to numbers compiled by the Post's great Dan Keating, Democrats have won roughly 48.8 percent of the House vote, compared to 48.47 percent for Republicans.

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How redistricting leads to a more partisan Congress — in two charts

How redistricting leads to a more partisan Congress — in two charts

Think Congress is too partisan? You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

The once-in-a-decade redistricting process has taken the nation’s already-polarized congressional map and — you guessed it! — made it even more polarized, says a new study from the nonpartisan election reform group Fair Vote.

According to the group’s analysis, 89 of 435 congressional districts performed between 46 percent and 54 percent for each major political party in recent years. In other words, those were the real swing districts.

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Rep. Marcy Kaptur beats Rep. Dennis Kuicinich in Ohio Democratic primary

Rep. Marcy Kaptur beats Rep. Dennis Kuicinich in Ohio Democratic primary

In the first member-vs-member primary of the cycle, Ohio Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur beat Rep. Dennis Kucinich for Ohio’s new 9th district.

It was a decisive victory; Kaptur winning 56 percent to 40 percent.

Kucinich’s defeat means the House will lose one of its most colorful characters, as well as one of the most vocal opponents to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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Texas judges release new interim redistricting map

We may finally have a Texas congressional map for the 2012 election.

After a series of fits and starts thanks to a long, drawn-out legal process, a three-judge panel in San Antonio on Tuesday released an interim plan for the coming election.

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New Minnesota district map could benefit Democrats

A court-appointed redistricting panel in Minnesota on Tuesday released a congressional map that could help Democrats pick off a seat or two in the coming elections.
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) addresses the American Conservative Union's annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington earlier this month. (REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

The big headline coming out of the map was how Reps. Michele Bachmann (R) and Betty McCollum (D) had their homes drawn into the same Democratic-leaning 4th district. But Bachmann said Tuesday that she will remain in her current 6th district, which actually gets slightly safer for her.

(Bachmann has done a good job raising a fuss about the situation, which should help her raise money to retire the debt from her presidential campaign, but she actually has very little to worry about in the primary or the general election.)

The real news here is what the map does in the state’s more competitive districts.

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North Carolina Democratic Rep. Heath Shuler to retire

North Carolina Democratic Rep. Heath Shuler to retire

Rep. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.) will not run for reelection after three terms in office.

“This was not an easy decision,” Shuler said. “However, I am confident that it is the right decision. It is a decision I have weighed heavily over the past few months. I have always said family comes first, and I never intended to be a career politician.”

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Michele Bachmann running for reelection

Michele Bachmann running for reelection

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) announced Wednesday morning that she will run for her fourth term in 2012.

“I’m looking forward to coming back and bringing a strong, powerful voice to Washington, D.C.,” Bachmann told the Associated Press.

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Virginia Republicans secure an 8-to-3 congressional district map

Virginia Republicans secure an 8-to-3 congressional district map

Republicans enjoyed one of the fruits of their 2011 state legislative victories on Friday, when the new GOP-controlled Virginia state Senate passed a congressional redistricting map that should help Republicans hold on to eight of the state’s 11 districts for the next decade.

The map is the same one that the Republican-controlled state House had already passed, but with Democrats still controlling the state Senate, the two chambers were unable to reach an agreement last year.

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California GOP Rep. Jerry Lewis retiring

California GOP Rep. Jerry Lewis retiring

California Republican Rep. Jerry Lewis will retire in 2012 rather than seek an 18th term.

“After months of consultation with loved ones and family, my wife Arlene and I have decided to retire from public life,” Lewis said in a statement released Thursday. “We are deeply grateful to so many who have provided their support over the years.”

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California Republican Rep. Elton Gallegly retiring

Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-Calif.) is retiring in 2012 after 12 terms in Congress, he announced Saturday morning.

A new congressional map drawn up by the state’s independent redistricting commission significantly diminished Gallegly’s chances of reelection. His 24th district was drawn into the new 25th district held by the better-funded Rep. Buck McKeon (R), and his only other option was the 26th, which included part of his old territory but becomes more Democratic under the new map.

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Republicans unveil new Tennessee map

Republicans unveil new Tennessee map

Tennessee Republicans sought to shore up freshman Rep. Stephen Fincher (R) in a draft congressional redistricting map released Friday.

Rather than targeting potentially vulnerable Nashville Rep. Jim Cooper (D), the GOP instead moved to solidify its gains from the 2010 election. Republicans gained three seats in Tennessee in 2010 and, under the proposed map, should have little trouble holding on to their newfound 7-to-2 majority in the state’s congressional delegation over the next decade.

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Name that District contest winner: ‘Goofy kicking Donald Duck’

Name that District contest winner: ‘Goofy kicking Donald Duck’

Pennsylvania’s new 7th congressional district will henceforth be known as...

“Goofy kicking Donald Duck.”

The winner of our latest “Name that District” contest is Fix reader tmbjon, who came up with the above nickname for the tortured-looking district created for freshman Rep. Pat Meehan (R-Pa.).

Many of the entries suggested that the right half of the district looked as though it were kicking the left half, and many more suggested the right half of the district looked like Disney’s Goofy.

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New Washington map creates competitive district

New Washington map creates competitive district

Members of Washington state’s bipartisan redistricting commission released a compromise map Wednesday that is expected to be pretty close to the (if not the) final version of the state’s new congressional districts.

The map creates a competitive district running from the Seattle suburbs in King County all the way up to the Canadian border, bringing in fast-growing Snohomish County. With the state gaining one seat, the commissioners agreed to give both sides a fair shot at winning the new district, which leans slightly Democratic, according to an early review of the map.

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New Jersey tilts redistricting battle toward GOP

New Jersey tilts redistricting battle toward GOP

The back-and-forth battle that is redistricting swung in Republicans’ favor when a redistricting commission in New Jersey picked a map favored by the GOP over the holiday weekend.

The bipartisan commission’s tie-breaking chairman on Friday picked a map that is pitting Democratic Reps. Steve Rothman and Bill Pascrell against each other and should help Republicans keep their most vulnerable incumbents in Congress.

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R.I. Rep. Cicilline gets help in contentious redistricting battle

Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) is a little safer under a congressional map proposed by the state’s redistricting commission late Monday, but not as safe as he could have been.

And the embattled congressman has got his colleague to thank for that.

Rhode Island, despite having just two congressional districts, has undergone what has been one of the more contentious and openly hostile redistricting battles in the country.

Cicilline and fellow Democratic Rep. Jim Langevin have been at odds over what the map should look like, with Langevin accusing line-drawers of moving Democrats into Cicilline’s district in order to inoculate him from a competitive race in what should already be a very safe district.

In the end, the state’s redistricting commission voted Monday night to recommend a map with less drastic changes that still helps Cicilline somewhat.

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Pennsylvania GOP releases strong redistricting map

Pennsylvania Republicans on Tuesday released a surprisingly strong proposed congressional map, on which the GOP could expand on its current advantage in the state’s delegation.

With the GOP controlling 12 of 19 districts in a nominally blue state, and the state losing a seat thanks to population shifts, it was assumed that the GOP would focus its power over redistricting on shoring up its current 12 members and likely not be able to add new opportunities. That likelihood was reinforced by the party’s overreach when it drew the map in 2001 and stretched itself too thin.

But along with shoring up several vulnerable members — most to a significant degree — the GOP was able to create a very winnable district in western Pennsylvania, where the winner of a primary between Democratic Reps. Jason Altmire and Mark Critz will face another battle in the general election.

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Texas redistricting case: Five things you need to know

For the second time in five years, Texas’s new congressional map is headed for a date with the Supreme Court.

And the results could be very significant, both in Texas, in the 2012 election, and for the future of the congressional redistricting process.
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott (R). (Photo by Gerald Herbert)

So, for those who aren’t versed in legalese, redistricting, or the Lone Star State generally (it’s not all about Texas Gov. Rick Perry), here’s what you need to know

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U.S. Supreme Court blocks court-drawn Texas map in win for Republicans

The U.S. Supreme Court has again thrown Texas’s new congressional map into a state of flux, temporarily blocking a court-drawn redistricting map late Friday and announcing that it would rule on the constitutionality of the map early next year.

The ruling is a win for Republicans who had sought to hold up the map of the state’s 36 congressional districts. The map was drawn by a three-judge panel after a map drawn by Texas Republicans got caught up in the courts.

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Texas map tilts redistricting battle in Democrats’ favor

A new interim redistricting map in Texas would give Democrats a good shot at winning three of the state’s four new House districts and could help them win the battle to create new Democratic-leaning congressional districts nationwide in the decennial round of redistricting.

Republicans had drawn a Texas map that would likely net them three seats and Democrats one, but a long-term court battle over that map meant a three-judge panel in San Antonio was tasked with drawing an interim map for the 2012 election.
Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas), left, and his fellow Democrats got a big break when a three-judge panel in Texas drafted an interim map for the 2012 election. That map is much better for Democrats than a GOP map that is being challenged in the courts. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The map the judges produced should swing at least two seats in Democrats’ favor, and possibly more, compared to the GOP map. And those two seats tip the scales toward Democrats when it comes to the nationwide battle to create new districts they will be favored to win in 2012.

The Post’s Redistricting Scorecard now shows Democrats with a net gain of at least two new House seats they should win nationwide, while Republicans are losing at least one seat, according to projections.

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The 10 states that will determine control of the House in 2012

The 10 states that will determine control of the House in 2012

With just less than a year to go until the 2012 election and most states having wrapped up their once-a-decade redistricting process, we’re starting to get a good sense about where the key House battles will take place.

A combination of an unpopular Congress, a volatile electorate, and changes resulting from redistricting mean there could be dozens of competitive races in just a handful of states.

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Democrats catch another break on redistricting in Colorado

Democrats catch another break on redistricting in Colorado

Republicans control many more states than Democrats when it comes to the decennial redistricting process, but when the line-drawing has fallen to a commission or the courts so far this year, the results have often been good for Democrats.

The latest example of that trend is Colorado, where the courts drew a map late last week that imperils Rep. Mike Coffman (R) and makes freshman Rep. Scott Tipton (R) more vulnerable.

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Court will draw Texas map in boon to Democrats

Court will draw Texas map in boon to Democrats

In a boost to Democrats’ chances of retaking the House next year, federal judges in Texas will draw a map for the state’s 2012 congressional races.

A Washington, D.C., federal court on Tuesday declined to sign off on redistricting plan spearheaded by the state Republican Party. The D.C. court ruled that the Republican line-drawers “used an improper standard or methodology to determine which districts afford minority voters the ability to elect their preferred candidates of choice.”

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Proposed Massachusetts map draws Lynch and Keating together

Proposed Massachusetts map draws Lynch and Keating together

Legislators in Massachusetts have released a proposed congressional map that would eliminate retiring Rep. John Olver’s (D-Mass.) seat and could force a tough decision by the delegation’s newest member.

The new map shifts the state’s Western districts further west in order to eliminate Olver’s district, as expected. But perhaps more interesting, it puts Reps. Bill Keating (D) and Stephen Lynch (D) into the same district south of Boston, while creating a new Cape Cod district where there is no incumbent.

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Washington redistricting commission debates how to draw new 10th district

This is the latest in a regular Fix series that focuses on the decennial redistricting process in key states. We call it “Mapping the Future.” The series aims to look forward to how the maps in these states could be drawn and what the best and worst outcomes for each party might be. Today we take on Washington state. (And make sure to check out the previous installments: Texas, Indiana, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Ohio, California, Nevada, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Florida, Utah, North Carolina , Wisconsin, Maryland, Michigan, Louisiana, New Jersey, Colorado, Minnesota, South Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee, New York and Arizona.)

Washington’s bipartisan redistricting commission is wrestling with where to put the state’s new 10th congressional district, and the decision it makes will have significant bearing on the politiical future of the state’s most vulnerable member: Republican Dave Reichert.

The commission last month produced four proposals – two from the two Democratic members of the commission and two from the Republican members – and the two sides will soon release one final proposal each. (Yes, that’s a lot of proposals.)

From there, the sides will have to negotiate a compromise that can get at least three of the four commissioners to support it.

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2012 redistricting update: Republicans and Democrats fighting to a draw in battle for new seats

Republicans and Democrats are still locked in a tight battle to create new congressional districts that they can win. But Republicans have used their control over the once-a-decade redistricting process in most key states to shore up many vulnerable incumbents.

The Post’s freshly updated Redistricting Scorecard shows that we now have a good idea about the amount of seats that could change hands in 27 of the 43 states that have to draw new maps (seven other states have just one congressional district and thus don’t have to draw new lines).

With the process now more than half over, we can project that Republicans would gain one congressional seat from the process, while Democrats wouldn’t lose or gain any seats.

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2012 Redistricting: Top 10 races between House incumbents

2012 Redistricting: Top 10 races between House incumbents

Every 10 years, incumbents are forced to face off with one another thanks to the reshuffling of congressional districts known as redistricting.

And with a little more than half of states now done drawing their new maps, we’ve got a pretty good idea about where those incumbents will be dueling.

Below, we look at the top ten districts where it looks like incumbents will fight one another, review their just-filed third quarter fundraising numbers, and try to give you a sense of where their races are going.

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Name That District contest winner: ‘The Praying Mantis’

Earlier this week, we asked Fix readers to coin a nickname for the newly gerrymandered 3rd congressional district being proposed by Maryland Democrats as part of our ongoing “Name that District” contest.

And, despite lots of great entries, we think one stood head and shoulders about the rest: “The Praying Mantis.”

Our winner is Fix reader “pcbutterman,” who first submitted the name. If you are “pcbutterman,” please send your name, address and t-shirt size to chris (dot) cillizza (at) wpost.com to claim your official Fix t-shirt.

Unfortunately (for this contest, at least), the “Praying Mantis” district may not last as black politicians led by Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md.) are fighting against the map.

But if the district looks anything like it does now when Maryland Democrats are done with it, it will heretofore be known as “The Praying Mantis!”

Thanks as always for your ideas and stay tuned for future “Name that District” competitions.


(ANUPAM NATH - ASSOCIATED PRESS)


(Maryland Department of Planning)

Name That District contest: Maryland’s 3rd

The Marylander Gerrymander? The Maryland Blue Crab?

Those were the best names The Fix’s Twitter followers came up with when we tweeted the district below last week.

But we think The Fix’s readers can do better.

So, for the next installment in our occasional “Name That District” contest, we’re asking you to come up with the best name for the new 3rd district that Maryland Democrats are proposing.

Here’s the tortured district (which according to a local reporter took NINE hours to traverse by car — in the NINTH-smallest state in the country)


(Maryland Department of Planning)

So what does it look like to you?

The person who can come up with the best name wins a Fix t-shirt. So head to the comments section below and give us your best.

(And for more examples of how this contest works, see the ones we’ve done before.)

Redistricting draft map in Arizona favors Democrats

Redistricting draft map in Arizona favors Democrats

(Updated at 11:16 a.m. Wednesday with news that Schweikert may challenge Quayle in a primary for the 6th district.)

The bipartisan redistricting commission in Arizona appears to have given Democrats a big break.

A draft map released by the commission late Monday shores up Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ GOP-leaning district, forces the state’s Republican incumbents into some tough decisions and creates a new 9th district that Democrats will be slightly favored to win.

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Many black members of Congress targeted in new districts

Many black members of Congress targeted in new districts

As many as one-quarter of the members of the Congressional Black Caucus could face significant primary opposition in their new House districts in 2012, a development that could significantly change the face of the CBC and/or reduce its membership heading into 2013.

With nationwide redistricting slightly more than halfway done, at least 10 of the 41 members of the CBC already have well-known politicians eyeing their new districts.

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Illinois Rep. Joe Walsh to run in primary against fellow Republican

Illinois Rep. Joe Walsh to run in primary against fellow Republican

Illinois Republican Rep. Joe Walsh, who has emerged as perhaps the most high-profile tea party freshman in the House, will seek reelection in a new district that will likely pit him against another Republican in a primary.

Walsh announced the decision in an e-mail to supporters Wednesday, opting for Illinois’ newly drawn 14th district over the 8th, which he currently represents. Under an aggressive Democratic redistricting plan, Walsh’s home was drawn into the more-Republican 14th with Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-Ill.), but the Democratic-leaning 8th contains much of his current territory.

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Department of Justice to fight Texas redistricting map

Department of Justice to fight Texas redistricting map

The Justice Department has ruled that the congressional redistricting plan passed by Texas Republicans violates minority voting protections--a ruling likely to create a contentious legal battle.

The Texas attorney general last week filed in court to get the maps approved, but a Justice Department filing Monday indicates the federal government will fight the case. It said the plan wouldn’t “maintain or increase the ability of minority voters to elect their candidate of choice.”

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Ohio GOP looks to cement 2010 gains with overhauled congressional map

A proposed congressional map in Ohio would draw six of the state’s House incumbents into districts with each other, but would leave Republicans with an advantage in 12 of the remaining 16 districts.

The new map, which is set to be released Tuesday, comes courtesy of the state Republican Party, which controls all levers of the redistricting process in the Buckeye State.

Despite that power, the GOP already holds virtually every competitive district in Ohio, and with the state losing two of its current 18 seats thanks to the new Census numbers, Republicans were essentially forced to eliminate one of their districts in order to keep the other districts winnable.

In the end, the state GOP created what it hopes will be a map in which it can lock down 75 percent of the districts over the course of the next decade — giving he GOP a major advantage in one of the biggest swing states in the country.

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