Late this evening, the Maryland Department of Planning released their versions (House of Delegates and Senate) of the redistricting map for the General Assembly. For the purpose of this post, though, I’m going to concentrate on Districts 37 and 38.
The new District 37 is a lot like the old one, as they maintained a majority-minority district in 37A which snakes along the U.S. 50 corridor between Salisbury and Cambridge, with a arm of the district heading up toward Hurlock in Dorchester County. But District 37B now makes nearly an entire crescent around the single-member district and swallows up much of the Wicomico County territory formerly in District 38A. Geographically it’s a huge district that takes in all of Talbot County, the southern end of Caroline County, most of Dorchester County and the southern and western ends of Wicomico County, plus a small area near Sharptown. In essence, it moved a little bit southward and eastward.
As for District 38, well, I got part of my wish as it will now be comprised of three single-Delegate seats. The 38A portion, though, now takes in all of Somerset County and the southern half of Worcester County, with a spike running along the U.S. 113 corridor into the Berlin area. I predicted this would happen because it would force two incumbent Republicans (Charles Otto and Mike McDermott) into the same district. Looks like we have our 2014 District 38 Senate candidate now.
District 38B maintains only a sliver of the Wicomico County portion of the existing district, and looks tailor-made for another run by Norm Conway. To me it looks like the western boundary hardly changed so it’s now primarily a Salisbury/Delmar/Fruitland district, as it did move a little bit southward to take in that former 38A territory. The eastern side of Wicomico County and the northern half of Worcester County (except Berlin) now become part of the new District 38C.
So who does this benefit? Obviously the new District 37 will probably keep the incumbents in office, or at least decrease the chance for a non-minority to win the 37A seat. Rich Colburn picked up a decently Republican chunk of Wicomico County but lost quite a bit of Caroline County to District 36. So that is probably a wash. But District 38 was built simply to eliminate one Republican from the area, and the extension of District 38A into Berlin may have been on the behalf of Berlin mayor Gee Williams, who tried for the seat before. Perhaps it’s a more lopsidedly Republican seat, but now it gets only one Delegate.
And I’m stuck with Norm Conway, since I’ll be in the new and smaller District 38B. Unless Mike McDermott moves closer to me, he won’t be my Delegate anymore in a practical sense. But that’s okay – it just means I can give old Five Dollar more flak if he decides to run again, which I hope he doesn’t. Given the fact the district maintained its irregular shape at the western end, my guess is that he will and they eliminated the rural parts of his district to help his cause.
Finally, I’m disappointed with the MDP’s map since it wouldn’t allow me to figure out the new districts close-up – that is unless my laptop isn’t up to the task. So forgive me my wild guesses as to where the districts lie, but before that site failed me I did verify my home is in 38B. Not by a whole lot, though.
Update: This example may illustrate how cut up our area is. Along the first two miles of Mount Hermon Road you can have houses in four different districts. At the far west end of the road and up to Civic Avenue it’s the border between the extreme eastern fringe of District 37A on the north side and 38B on the south side. Then about a mile or so it’s in entirely in 38B, until the road passes under U.S. 13. Then it’s solely in District 38C for a short distance until it crosses a creek just west of Hobbs Road, when the highway becomes the border between 38C on one side and District 37B on the other. Finally, just past Walston Switch Road, the road becomes part of 38C. To use east side landmarks, the airport is in 37B, Perdue Stadium is in 38C, WinterPlace Park is in 38B, and the established part of the Aydelotte neighborhood is on the edge of 37A.