While I briefly covered what former governor Bob Ehrlich said on Saturday during his introduction of Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, Ehrlich mentioned what he termed the “10-0 project”. It’s an effort to place Democrats completely in charge of the Maryland Congressional delegation by owning all eight Congressional seats along with the two Senators.
I’ll be the first to admit I wasn’t in Maryland to witness the fight over redistricting after the 2000 census, but legend has it that Democrats redistricted the state in such a manner to pack every Republican they could into two Congressional districts, the First and Sixth. The First District thusly picked up Republican areas on the eastern side of the state (Eastern Shore plus GOP-leaning areas of Anne Arundel County and east of Baltimore) and the western side of the state (the four westernmost counties and other areas along the Pennsylvania border) went to the Sixth District. Democrats divided up the spoils of the other six districts and changed Maryland over from a more or less split state to a 6-2 domination. Add Frank Kratovil, who ran as a centrist or even somewhat right-of-center on particular issues, and the Democrat bulge grew to 7-1 last year.
Perhaps that was a compromise position by the Democrats in charge at the time, but many on that party’s fringe want more. Obviously having one Republican representing part of Maryland (and perhaps another in 2010) is too much for some radicals to stand, and far-left activists are already figuring out ways to cut the GOP out of the mix entirely after next year.
Thanks to Joe Collins of the local AFP chapter I became aware of a website called the Swing State Project, where an active contributor who goes by the handle “silver spring” (perhaps his/her hometown?) has been busily concocting ways to gerrymander the state into a 10-0 Congressional delegation. Whether or not these would actually conform to 2010 census numbers or pass court muster is obviously questionable, but don’t be surprised if this isn’t the template Democrats would use if kept in power after next year’s election for redistricting in 2012. As “silver spring” puts it, this arrangement makes it “eight Democrats guaranteed.”
This map shows the central portion of Maryland, with the two districts in blue extending down the Eastern Shore and west to the border with West Virginia.
In case you’re wondering, the dark blue district you see is our First District. This new map removes Anne Arundel County from the current district and carves out much of the areas of Baltimore and Harford counties currently served by Kratovil. Instead, the district as envisioned would corkscrew around along the northern border of the state to catch a large part of the city of Baltimore.
Roscoe Bartlett’s Sixth District (in gray) would lose all of its western counties and dilute GOP strongholds in Carroll County with a heaping helping of liberal Montgomery County voters. Western Maryland voters who had lived in the Sixth District would instead be in the revamped Eighth District, where those small counties would be overwhelmed by the liberal Democrats living in the western suburbs of Washington. Somehow I doubt those voters in Garrett County would be too pleased with having uber-liberal Chris Van Hollen as their Congressman but that would come to pass.
In short, this map would create a situation where all eight in Maryland’s Congressional delegation could live in either the city of Baltimore, Prince George’s County, or Montgomery County – all reliably Democrat strongholds. If people on the Eastern Shore complained about Andy Harris living on the Western Shore and representing them, just wait until you’re outvoted by Baltimore City and have someone like Donna Edwards as your Congressman. Would you feel well-represented? Frank Kratovil might call himself a centrist, but the prospect of a primary challenge on his left in a district like this might keep him deep in the pocket of Democrat leadership on their pet issues.
“silver spring” also figured out the voting patterns of all eight districts, working them out to hold McCain voters to less than 40% of any given district. As he/she excitedly notes:
Thanks to Dave’s Redistricting application, the process was much easier this time for me, and I got a plan that virtually guarantees that 8 Democrats will be elected starting in 2012. In each district, Obama received at least 58% of the vote (and McCain received under 40%; MD-1 is rounded off to 40.0, but it’s technically 39.98%). The plan keeps the two majority African-American districts, and is also very incumbent-friendly (except for Bartlett of course).
This is gerrymandering at its finest. And, as you’ll see tomorrow, our friend “silver spring” didn’t just stop there. If you thought the state was sliced and diced for Congressional districts, you’ll love seeing how the Eastern Shore undergoes a GOP death of a thousand cuts.