Thursday, February 24, 2011

Michigan Redistricting 2011-2012 (and a close look at Center For Michigan/Argus claims)

The census numbers are starting to be released, and the big political impact will be with redistricting. There's three ways the borders can be drawn. I'll classify them as good, bad system with sometimes good bad and ugly results but with recourse, and bad with no recourse.

Bad - So called nonpartisan commissions. Nonpartisan does not, never did, and never will mean the same as nonbiased. Most people who follow the issue want nonbiased redistricting. There's a difference. Usually commission based redistricting results in incumbent protection. Don't rock the boat. Keep as many people happy as possible. These maps are usually the case when you have split control of the state government. The worst part about these so called nonpartisan commissioners is that there is no recourse for bad maps by these biased politicians. That's what commissions are made up of. Politicians. We can't vote the commissioners out for screwing us.

Good would leave this out of the hands of politicians as much as possible. The true fair system would be a map made up of as few municipal breaks as possible. That as many maps with that system, put them in random and may the best map win.

Bad with recourse is what we have now. We are Republicans were lucky, and we can't always count on that. We took the house, the state senate, and we're still unsure if we have the governor's mansion or not. I'm still not sold on Snyder. The current system is where the state legislature/governor draws the boundaries. It's the system in most states. Michigan has some guidelines in place by statute limiting municipal breaks and shapes of the district.

The talking heads always have a fit every 10 years, and the Argus recently had some comments. Joe Hune told the truth, and they didn't understand it with two editorials Feb 6th and 17th.

First, on the 6th.
Hune says not to worry. In a story our paper published Friday, he said there are guidelines to prevent partisanship from interfering with the results.

"There isn't that much room for politics and play and gerrymandering. The standards we have in place just don't allow that," Hune said.

And he said it with a straight face.

Joe Hune said it with a straight face, because he knows what we have, and he knows the laws. He told me the same thing he told the paper. If you want to see real gerrymanders, look at Pennsylvania, New Jersey, North Carolina, New York, and California. Gerrymander doesn't mean non competitive. Gerrymander means odd shaped districts. Michigan's system limits the major gerrymanders. There's still politics, but there isn't that much room. The 1970's and 80's maps were a lot more gerrymandered than the 90's, 2000's and the upcoming map.

Here's the standards from current statutes. This refers to the STATE LEGISLATIVE DISTRICTS only.

c) Senate and house of representatives districts shall be areas of convenient territory contiguous by land. Areas that meet only at the points of adjoining corners are not contiguous.

This limits how things can break. For example, I can't use corners to keep an extra Republican Northern Oakland County township out of a map connecting Genessee County and Pontiac.

(d) Senate and house of representatives districts shall have a population not exceeding 105% and not less than 95% of the ideal district size for the senate or the house of representatives unless and until the United States supreme court establishes a different range of allowable population divergence for state legislative districts.

This was due to a 1960's SCOTUS ruling.

(e) Senate and house of representatives district lines shall preserve county lines with the least cost to the principle of equality of population provided for in subdivision (d).

This is why you have the strange shaped district in Livingston County. That's to keep county lines mostly together. Milford will probably be out of the 66th next term.

(f) If it is necessary to break county lines to stay within the range of allowable population divergence provided for in subdivision (d), the fewest whole cities or whole townships necessary shall be shifted. Between 2 cities or townships, both of which will bring the districts into compliance with subdivisions (d) and (h), the city or township with the lesser population shall be shifted.


(g) Within those counties to which there is apportioned more than 1 senate district or house of representatives district, district lines shall be drawn on city and township lines with the least cost to the principle of equality of population between election districts consistent with the maximum preservation of city and township lines and without exceeding the range of allowable divergence provided for in subdivision (d).

(h) If it is necessary to break city or township lines to stay within the range of allowable divergence provided for in subdivision (d), the number of people necessary to achieve population equality shall be shifted between the 2 districts affected by the shift, except that in lieu of absolute equality the lines may be drawn along the closest street or comparable boundary.

Here's a big one.
(i) Within a city or township to which there is apportioned more than 1 senate district or house of representatives district, district lines shall be drawn to achieve the maximum compactness possible within a population range of 98% to 102% of absolute equality between districts within that city or township.

(j) Compactness shall be determined by circumscribing each district within a circle of minimum radius and measuring the area, not part of the Great Lakes and not part of another state, inside the circle but not inside the district.

There can't be too many of those long skinny districts. I also can't carve out Grand Rapids six ways to eliminate the two dem seats.

(k) If a discontiguous township island exists within an incorporated city or discontiguous portions of townships are split by an incorporated city, the splitting of the township shall not be considered a split if any of the following circumstances exist:

(i) The city must be split to stay within the range of allowable divergence provided for in subdivision (d) and it is practicable to keep the township together within 1 district.

(ii) A township island is contained within a whole city and a split of the city would be required to keep the township intact.

(iii) The discontiguous portion of a township cannot be included in the same district with another portion of the same township without creating a noncontiguous district.
This is the case in Ann Arbor Township. Parts of it are surrounded by the city.

In addition to those rules, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 must be followed. So to all those who want Conyers to get redistricted out of a job, that's not going to happen. There will be two black majority seats.

The congressional guidelines are as follows:
(a) The constitutional guideline is that each congressional district shall achieve precise mathematical equality of population in each district.

(b) The federal statutory guidelines in no order of priority are as follows:

(i) Each congressional district shall be entitled to elect a single member.

(ii) Each congressional district shall not violate section 2 of title I of the voting rights act of 1965, Public Law 89-110, 42 U.S.C. 1973.

It's one person, one vote. There's no 5% variation within districts. That's allowed with states, but not federal districts. That makes for more municipal breaks.

(c) The secondary guidelines in order of priority are as follows:

(i) Each congressional district shall consist of areas of convenient territory contiguous by land. Areas that meet only at points of adjoining corners are not contiguous.

(ii) Congressional district lines shall break as few county boundaries as is reasonably possible.

(iii) If it is necessary to break county lines to achieve equality of population between congressional districts as provided in subdivision (a), the number of people necessary to achieve population equality shall be shifted between the 2 districts affected by the shift.

(iv) Congressional district lines shall break as few city and township boundaries as is reasonably possible.

(v) If it is necessary to break city or township lines to achieve equality of population between congressional districts as provided in subdivision (a), the number of people necessary to achieve population equality shall be shifted between the 2 districts affected by the shift.

(vi) Within a city or township to which there is apportioned more than 1 congressional district, district lines shall be drawn to achieve the maximum compactness possible.

(vii) Compactness shall be determined by circumscribing each district within a circle of minimum radius and measuring the area, not part of the Great Lakes and not part of another state, inside the circle but not inside the district.

(viii) If a discontiguous township island exists within an incorporated city or discontiguous portions of townships are split by an incorporated city, the splitting of the township shall not be considered a split if any of the following circumstances exist:

(A) The city must be split to achieve equality of population between congressional districts as provided in subdivision (a) and it is practicable to keep the township together within 1 district.

(B) A township island is contained within a whole city and a split of the city would be required to keep the township intact.

(C) The discontiguous portion of a township cannot be included in the same district with another portion of the same township without creating a noncontiguous district.

(ix) Each congressional district shall be numbered in a regular series, beginning with congressional district 1 in the northwest corner of the state and ending with the highest numbered district in the southeast corner of the state.

It's similar to the state rules. Joe Hune is binded by these guidelines with his proposals. When Joe says there's only so much that can be done, that's what he's referring to. There's also a current 26-12 Senate majority, 63-47 house majority, and 9-6 congressional majority. Joe's not going to risk what's there to get greedy in most cases, even if he wasn't binded by the statutory guidelines.

The papers yap again using former owner and Democrat official Phil Power and his left leaning think tank, The Center for Michigan's study. The Western Right Blog did a great job studying their report. It's worth a good read.

Their report is from very left-leaning reporter Susan Demas, and John Bebow. Bebow's another former reporter, although tougher to peg on the political spectrum without assumptions. Their report is here at the CFM's website.

Their main complaint is about non-competitive seats. Non competitive does not mean gerrymandered. If you look at the county maps from 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, and 2010, you'll find that there are a lot of republican areas, democrat areas, and ticket splitting areas. It would take a lot of gerrymandering to make a true competitive map every election. Why? Because most of the very strong democrat areas are clustered in a few areas. Geography, outside of wave elections, Michigan is a red state. It's slightly blue leaning overall because of Detroit, Southern Wayne County, Southern Macomb (and Mt Clemens) and Southern Oakland Counties (along with Pontiac), Genessee County, Saginaw (city), Bay County, Lansing/East Lansing/Okemos, Kalamazoo (city), Benton Harbor (although its county leans red), Muskegon, Grand Rapids (city), Marquette, and the Ann Arbor/Ypsi area. Take all those areas I mentioned away, and its about 57-43 GOP. Most of those areas I mentioned range from 58% Dem to 93% Dem. You can't draw competitive seats for 90% dem.

The Center for Michigan rates 16 swing house seats and 6 swing senate seats. That's way off because the House changed control twice, and the senate was closer than some thought in 2002 (Bob Emerson supported that map) and 2006. I had 34 house seats and 11 Senate Seats. That's enough to change party control, which happened twice in the house already in the decade. The Center for Michigan Complained about the state senate seats most heavily, calling it almost impossible to win. I'll get to that later, when we go district by district.

They said that 30% of the districts can be made competitive without a problem. I'd say we have that now in the house, actually. 34 out of 110, 11 out of 38 (about 24% in senate). That's especially if you look at top of the ticket numbers. That's even if you count Obama's results as an aberration due to McCain and Bush fatigue. Going by memory, I believe 15 house seats and 7 or 8 senate seats were held by the opposite party for President. I was real surprised by that.

Unfortunately, my color blindness has me trouble differentiating between some blues and purples, so I'll try and get this as best as I can in their classifications.

The CFM uses as safe classification is a seat not actually changing parties. It also has a spot where "normally safe" changes party. That's where my biggest bone of contention is. Some seats that don't change party are very competitive, or competitive outside of a damn good candidate. That's still the best way to win a race. The CFM ignores candidate quality, incumbency advantage, top of the ticket results, and close wins. That's the problem with this report.

CFM's classification. I put in bold my disagreements.
Swing:
D1 - Bledsoe - Swings, although I'd almost count this as leans Dem nowadays. Grosse Pointes are moving left some, and more and more of that district is Detroit.
D20/21 - Far West Wayne County. D20 was won by the democrats due to RINO/now dem John Stewart (who later claimed to always vote dem for president) and a split party. Marc Corriveau held the seat for three terms. Kurt Heise took the seat back in 2010. D21 is top of the ticket lean dem, more competitive on state level. Patterson and LaJoy had it for the GOP with some tough wins. Dian Slavens took the spot in 2008 thanks to demographic changes. Canton is a swing area. Van Buren and Belleville is rapidly going solid blue, and made the difference. It was close in 2008 and 2010.

D39 - Brown - Swings. Most of West Bloomfield and Commerce Township. West Bloomfield is strongly democrat. Commerce leans republican. That one is close every election. Dave Law and Marc Shulman won it for the GOP and Lisa Brown for the dems.

D52 - Ouimet - Swings. Good candidates makes this otherwise democrat seat competitive. The GOP won it twice. 2002 and 2010. Between that was Pam Byrnes. In 02, Gene DeRossett was an incumbent with a lot of union support. In 2010, Ouimet had strength most republicans don't have in Scio Township. It only swings due to good candidates.

D55 - Olson - Swings. This district has slightly Republican leaning Western Monroe County, and southern Washtenaw County. Pittsfield Twp is the base for the dems. The GOP has some base in Bedford Twp in Monroe County. Matt Milosch and Rick Olson won for the GOP. Kathy Angerer won for the dems.

D56 - Zorn - Swings. Monroe County. Kate Ebli and Herb Kehrl won for the dems. Zorn and Richardville for the GOP. This district doesn't have Pittsfield Twp, but it's part of Monroe County is more democrat than the part in the 55th.

D62 - Segal - Swings. Battle Creek, Albion. I'd like to see who takes this after Kate Segal. This district had a Republican I can't remember, Mark Schauer, Mike Nofs, and now Segal. On paper, this seat leans democrat, but there's been a lot of tough battles here for years.

D64/65 - Jackson County. This is about as Republican as the 62nd is Democrat. On paper, it leans. Candidate quality makes the difference here, which is why I agree with CfM on these two being swing districts.

D75 - Grand Rapids - I really thought this seat could have been drawn better. It was democrat in the 70's, later GOP, and started going democrat again from 2004 (06 at state rep level) onwards. The dems held on by 600 votes in 2010. I'd classify it as lean dem right now, but there can be an argument for this still being a swing seat with the right candidate.

D83 - Sanilac and Port Huron - I'd almost consider this lean GOP, not swing unless you got a great candidate. It was a seat that John Espinoza could win for the dems. Everything aligned right for Espinoza in 04. Port Huron itself could make the seat a little competitive at times, so I wouldn't call it safe.

D84 - Thumb. This was Mike Green and Tom Kern's seat before Terry Brown surprised the GOP. The thumb is populist independent and really marches to its own drum, so I can't dispute this being classified as a swing district. Brown almost survived 2010.

D91 - Most of Muskegon County - Can't disagree with that. Always competitive.

D101 - Lake Michigan Coast - Went GOP, then for Dan Scripps, back to GOP. Was close in 2006 and 2010 as well. Keep an eye on that in 2010 with the Chicago influence.

D107 - Eastern UP and Northernmost Lower Penninsula. Listed as a swing district, and I'd agree. It's class North Michigan style of swing district. It votes GOP at the top of the ticket, but competitive further down. For state rep it went Gagliardi, Shackleton, McDowell, Foster. 2 dems, 2 GOP.

Safe:
D2-12 - Dem Detroit
D13-14 - Dem Downriver (although 13 was close in 2010)
D16-18 - Dem, Wayne County (although 17 was close in 2002 - it's gone now with demographic changes)

D19 - Rep - Livonia. Apologies to John Walsh, but I'd consider this a lean more than a safe seat. It didn't change hands, but almost always under 54% win at the top of the ticket, and it was competitive at least twice. This has been safe recently, because John Walsh is a good candidate. With the housing crunch (houses under 40K in East Livonia, keep an eye on it.

D22 - Dem - Taylor/Romulus

D25 - Dem - North Warren/S Sterling Heights. I'd say leans more than safe. Jennifer Faunce won a similar seat in the 90's for the GOP, but it's been Bieda and Switalski since. How much of that was due to the Switalski last name I'm not sure. Advantage dems, but it's been close a couple of times. I think the GOP was expected to win this in 02.

D26 - Dem - Madison Heights and Royal Oak. It's been close twice, but I'd have to agree with CfM here. Royal Oak is too far gone.

D27/28/29 - Southeast Oakland (Ferndale/Huntington Woods), South Warren, and Pontiac.

D30 - Utica, North Sterling Heights - Disagree with this. Pundits called this one gone early in the year for the GOP. It's been held by the Roccas (GOP, one was party switcher) for years, and Jeff Farrington won it this year. It's competitive at the top of the ticket, and has been at times downticket as well. It may lean GOP slightly, but it's not a safe seat by any stretch of the imagination.

D31 - Dem - Mt Clemens, Fraser, part of Clinton Township. I disagree with this for the same reason I disagree with D30. It's lean democrat, but competitive.

D33 - Rep. Macomb, Ray, part of Clinton Twp.

D34/D35 - Dem - Flint and Southfield.

D36 - Rep - NW Macomb.

D37 - Dem - Farmington/Farmington Hills - It was Rocky's district as recently as 2000-2002, but I'll have to see it to believe it can be won again. Even in 10, it was an 8K vote victory.

D38 - Rep - SW Oakland (Novi/South Lyon)

D40-41 - Rep - Birmingham/Bloomfield based district and Troy based district. The dems have talked about going after both those seats in the past, but I'd put this in the same category as the Royal Oak seat.

D42 - Dem - Eastpointe and Roseville.

D43 - Rep - Waterford - Dems went after this seat big twice and made it close. I can't call Waterford safe. Dems have won local offices there in the past.

D44-47 - Rep - 44-46 all in North Oakland, 47 in Livingston County.

D48-50 - Dem - Genesee County. 48 West, 49 South Flint, 50 East. 50 was real close in 2010.

D51 - Rep - Fenton, Linden, and Grand Blanc. I strongly disagree with this one. Dave Robertson had the seat. Pat Lockwood replaced him. In the current configuration, Robertson beat Lockwood by about 1%. He also had a tough race in 06. Paul Scott had a tough race in 08. This is a very competitive seat. I'd call it a swing district, or at best slight lean.

D53/54 - Dem - Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti based districts.

D58-59 - GOP - South Central Michigan districts.

D60 - Dem - Kalamazoo City

D61 - GOP - Portage, Texas Twp, part of Kalamazoo County - This district has been very close at least twice, if not three times. Slight lean GOP maybe, but it's not safe.

D63 - REP - Parts of Kalamazoo and Calhoun County.

D66 - REP - Livingston County

D67 - DEM - Rural Ingham County, Holt, Mason, part of Lansing. The only reason someone can call this safe democrat is because of the name Byrum. This is a 50/50 swing district otherwise. I don't think even the Byrums would call this a swing district. Their campaign wasn't working the polls like it was a safe district.

D68/69 - DEM - Lansing and East Lansing/Meridian Township

D70 - Rep - part of Ionia and Montcalm Counties - Here CfM even ignored their own rule on party changes. Mike Huckleberry won this seat for them in 2008. I'd consider this a lean republican seat, but it switched parties. Huckleberry was a strong candidate as a challenger, but that's part of candidate recruitment.

D71 - rep - Eaton County. The GOP has won state rep seats for years, but it's a paper tiger in away. Eaton County voted for Bush twice, Granholm twice, Obama, Schauer, and Snyder. County commission seats here have flipped a few times. Demographics of Lansing makes this tough sledding. Socially conservative leaning, but there's a lot of government workers. I can't call this seat safe for the GOP. Tabor, Jones, and Shaughnessy run ahead of the ticket.

D72-74 - GOP - Suburban Kent (and 74 - Kent/Ottawa) County.

D76 - Dem - Grand Rapids.

D77-82 - Gop - West Michigan and Lapeer County (82). - I hesitate to call the 78th safe based on a couple of recent races, or even the 80th (on paper). A similar district to the 81st used to be competitive in the 90's. Those are about as safe as the Royal Oak district is for the dems through.

D85 - GOP - Shiawassee County and part of Clinton County. Safe GOP? No way. Democrats had this seat for well over 20 years until Larry Julian won in a then big upset. The GOP held on, but it hasn't been easy. Shiawassee County (voted for Clinton, Bush, Obama) has moved slowly to the right, but the part of Clinton County in this district has rapidly moved to the democrats. Bath Township is now East Lansing North. This is a swing district.

D86-90 - GOP - West Michigan

D92 - Dem - Muskegon

D93 - GOP - Clinton and Gratiot Counties. - I'd still keep it as a safe county, but I'll keep an eye on it.

D94 - GOP - Rural Saginaw County - Historically conservative democrat until about 15 years ago. I hesitate to call it safe, but it really hasn't been closely lately.

D95 - DEM - Saginaw City.

D96 - Dem - Bay City - Close in 2010. I think it was an aberration.

D98 - GOP - Midland

D99 - GOP - Isabella County. I can't call a state rep district with CMU aka Mt Pleasant safe for the GOP. There's been many close elections there over the years. It's gone dem at the top of the ticket too. I'd consider it a swing district, with slight GOP leanings, if any.

D100 - GOP - Lake, Newaygo, Ocenah Counties

D102 - GOP - Newaygo, Wexford, Osceola Counties

D104-105 - GOP - North Michigan

D109 - Dem - Marquette

D110 - Dem - Westernmost UP. Safe democrat? Matt Huuki may have something to say about that. He's the current rep and is not a democrat. The 110th is a competitive district that normally leans democrat downticket, but it was close in the past, and was like the Alpena close but no cigar race. It may go back to the dems, but it's not a safe district.


Other:
D15 - Dearborn, considered normally safe for dems. I'd agree with that.

D23 - Far Downriver. They call this a democrat district. It's been real close at least twice, maybe three times under a previous incarnation in the 90's. It's close at the top of the ticket as well. This a is a swing district that I previously always called a close but no cigar district. I strongly disagree with the analysis of CFM here (and the 24th). Pat Somerville finally won it, beating incumbent Deb Kennedy.

D24 - St Clair Shores/Harrison Twp in Macomb County. They call this a GOP district and not a swing district. I strongly disagree. Jack Brandenburg won it, but other than that it's been democrat. It's close at the top of the ticket every election. St Clair Shores leans slightly democrat, with Harrison Twp leaning republican. Before Brandenburg, it was democrat Bill Callahan. After him, it was democrat Sarah Roberts. With the incumbent Roberts defeated, GOP Anthony Forlini won.

D32 - North Macomb/South St Clair County - I think an argument can be made either way. It's been GOP since its inception, outside of 2008. On the same note, the GOP lost it in 2008. I'd need to look at this one in depth more to make a call one way or the other. Lean GOP and competitive at best, but not sure I'd call it a true swing district or an 08 abberation.

D57 - Lenawaee County. If you count this district as "other" and not a swing district, you better do the same with the 52nd. This district is about as republican as the 52nd is democrat on paper. Tim Walberg held this district for either 16 or 18 years until term limits. The Spades had it for 12 years. It's close at the top of the ticket. Nancy Jenkins won by a good margin for an open seat, but it was a competitive race.

D97 - - Clare, Gladwin, Arenac, part of Bay Counties - They call this safe dem aberration, but it's switched parties before, and all four of those areas will vote person more than party. This is a swing county and actually went GOP more then Dem for reps.

D103 - Missaukee, Iosco, Roscommon, Ogemaw Counties. They consider this GOP aberration (due to 12 years of Sheltrown, and Tom Alley before him). This is a North Michigan or thumb style of swing district. It votes GOP for federal candidates, usually. It does not necessarily vote GOP locally. There's a strong populist labor pocket here with retired UAW along with Corrections workers. Roscommon, Ogemaw, and Iosco voted for Gore. Missaukee is the 2nd more GOP county in the state, but it's smaller. This is a swing district.

D106 - Northeast Michigan. Alpena based district they have as dem aberration. I disagree with that one. It's a swing district that has been a classic close but no cigar for years with the GOP. 2010 was the year it flipped, but it's usually competitive when open.

D108 - - Central UP, listed as safe GOP with dem aberration with Judy Nerat. I have to disagree. It was democrat before Casperson, Bart Stupak's home, went back to the dems (expectedly so) in 08, and flipped in 2010. Swing district.

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Senate

Safe:
D1-5 - Dem - Wayne County, mostly Detroit.
D7 - GOP - Western and Southernmost Wayne County. This is only "safe GOP" because the democrats blundered their asses off campaign time. It's a swing area at the top of the ticket between Van Buren, Belleville, and parts of Downriver like Brownstown Twp tilting democrat. Canton isn't a GOP stronghold anymore either.
D8-9 - Dem - Downriver, South Macomb

D11-12 - GOP - North Macomb, North Oakland

D13 - GOP - Central Oakland. Any district with Royal Oak, Berkley, and Madison Heights is not safe GOP. The GOP won this in 2006 by 800 votes and less than 50%. This is a swing district.

D14 - Dem - Southeast Oakland

D15-16 - GOP - SW Oakland, South Central Michigan

D17 - GOP - Monroe County, part of Jackson and Washtenaw - It's safe for Randy Richardville and Bev Hammerstrom, but that's due to the candidates. On paper, it's a swing district, and once it's opened up, a pro-gun democrat could win it. A Mike Simpson type could win this.

D18 - Dem - Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti

D20 - GOP - Kalamazoo County and small part of Van Buren - District voted for John Kerry and Obama. Tom George had close wins. This is a swing district, not safe.

D21-22 - GOP - SW Michigan and Livingston/Shiawassee (and Mason/Stockbridge area in Ingham) Counties.

D23 - Dem - Lansing/East Lansing/Okemos

D24-25 - GOP - Allegan/Barry/Eaton and Lapeer/St Clair

D27 - Dem - West Genesee and Flint.

D28 - GOP - Kent County

D29 - GOP - Grand Rapids/Kentwood - That's been a close race three times in a row. At the top of the ticket it's dem. Downticket more competitive.

D30 - GOP - Ottawa County

D32 - GOP - Saginaw and Gratiot County - Even weak democrat candidates keep this race close, and strong ones make this district down to the wire. The GOP wins here solely due to candidates, because on paper this is a democrat leaning state. It's not safe for the GOP, that's for sure. All of Saginaw county is here, including the city which is 3-1 democrat.

D33 - GOP - Clinton, Montcalm, Isabella, Ionia Counties - They consider it safe, but I'm hesitant to call it that. It's more safe with Huckleberry losing re-election.

D34 - GOP - Muskegon, Oceana, Newaygo, Mason - Like the 32nd, this is due to candidates. Gerald Van Woerkem and Goeff Hansen ran good campaigns since this is a swing district that leans slightly democrat at the top of the ticket. It's not safe GOP. Muskegon and Muskegon Heights make sure of that.

D35 - GOP - Northwest/Central Michigan

D36 - GOP - Northeast MI and Midland - It might now be almost safe after the 2010 shellacking the democrats took up North, but I need to see it before I believe it when it comes to this district being safe instead of the classic North Michigan swing district of GOP national, Dem state. Andy Neumann gave it a good run in 2002 and the dems passed in 06. Neumann lost in the wave in 2010. I think Gillard or Dale/Joel Sheltrown can make this a fight in 2012. I'll buy this being lean GOP now, but not safe. Too many ornery ticket-splitters.

D37 - GOP - Northwest Michigan and Eastern UP.

Swing:
D6 - Westland/Livonia based. Laura Toy won it for the GOP in 2002. Glenn Anderson, a very strong democrat, took the seat in 06 and held it in 2010. Livonia leans slightly GOP. Garden City, Westland, and Redford do it. I think demographic changes in Westland and Redford are going to make this seat solidly democrat soon.

D19 - Calhoun and most of Jackson County - Went for RINO Joe Schwarz, Democrat Mark Schauer, and Republican Mike Nofs. About a 50/50 district on paper.


Other:
D10 - Central Macomb (Sterling Heights, Roseville, Clinton Twp) - Normally democrat, but Tory Rocca took the seat. The seat is competitive but leans dem on paper, but Rocca won big.

D26 - East Genesee and North Oakland Considered a Dem seat with GOP aberration, but that's only because of the Cherrys. I ran the numbers on this way back in 2002 and was shocked at how close it was. This one snuck up on the pundits. Dave Robertson saw it and was the right candidate for the seat. It's a swing district.

D31 - Thumb and Bay County - This one is considered democrat with a GOP aberration win, but it's actually a swing district. Jim Barcia was just that popular in the district for the democrats. Mike Green is a strong candidate for the GOP (against all but Barcia) and won big in 2010 against one of the two best the Dems had.

D38 - Western/Central UP. They consider this a democrat seat with Casperson being an aberration. Until 2010, I didn't disagree with that. I figured Casperson was the only chance at this longtime democrat district, but was going to be surprised if he beat someone like Lahti from the westernmost part of the district. I was wrong. It wasn't even close, and that's why I'd consider it a swing district. I'd feel more comfortable about the district if it had Chippewa County added to it, but Casperson won by 10000 votes against a good opponent.

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1 comment:

Conservative First said...

Thanks for the plug.

Nice rundown of the history in various legislative districts. The key point about the CFM study is that they rigged their definition of 'competitive' to basically guarantee their conclusion.