Democratic state legislators in Maryland enacted one of the most effective gerrymanders in the country in 2001, successfully turning a four-to-four split in the state’s congressional delegation into a six-to-two Democratic advantage by 2002.
With Democrats again in charge of the redistricting process in 2011 and with the delegation still at a six-to-two edge for the party, the question now is whether they can rid the state of one of those remaining GOP districts.
It will take some doing, but with Democrats having very few chances (outside of Illinois) to create new winnable seats for their party, Maryland presents a rare opportunity.
The most likely target in the redistricting process is freshman Republican Rep. Andy Harris, who helped Republicans reclaim a conservative Eastern Shore district from one-term Rep. Frank Kratovil (D) in November.
The 1st district was drawn in 2001 as one of the two solidly Republican districts, but thanks to Harris’ defeat of centrist Rep. Wayne Gilchrest in the 2008 GOP primary, Kratovil was able to eke out a win that November.
Now Democrats are hoping Kratovil will run again, but in order to entice him they may need to draw him a friendlier district. The good news for Democratic recruiters is that strengthening the seat slightly for their side is possible. The bad news is it’s going to be tough to make the seat significantly better.
Here’s how Democrats might be able to get Harris and win back the 1st. (Be sure to follow along on the congressional map here):