Redistricting Analysis


In 2011, Senate Democrats controlled redistricting and adjusted maps to make their safest seats (inside the Beltway, core cities) less safe in order to bolster vulnerable members in suburban districts. (This was explained in a VIDEO that VPAP produced in the fall of 2011, beginning at the 0:58 mark.)

So it comes as little surprise in 2013 that the Senate GOP's unexpected redistricting measure would craft these same districts to a Republican advantage. The chart below shows how the Republican plan would move Democratic precincts scattered in suburbs back into districts represented by inside-the-beltway Senators (Favola and Ebbin) and three African-American Senators (McEachin, Locke, and Lucas). The result is that safe Democrats seats are -- again -- a safer bet for Democrats:

Democrats with more friendly districts

Barbara Favola: +10.5 percentage points
Don McEachin: + 8.2 percentage points
Louise Lucas: + 6.9 percentage points
Mamie Locke: + 4.7 percentage points
Adam Ebbin: + 4.0 percentage points

Numbers above show change in Democratic Party performance between current district and proposed district, based on results in 2009 Governor's race.

As a result, Democratic Senators in five adjacent districts would end up with districts much less friendly to them in 2015. Note that that three of the five won re-election in 2011 by fewer than 10 percentage points.

Democrats with less friendly districts

John Miller:    -11.7 percentage points (2011 winning margin: 3%)
George Barker:  - 6.7 percentage points (2011 winning margin: 6%)
Chuck Colgan:   - 6.6 percentage points
Ralph Northam:  - 6.3 percentage points
Mark Herring:   - 4.9 percentage points (2011 winning margin: 8%)

Numbers above show change in Democratic Party performance between current district and proposed district, based on results in 2009 Governor's race. 


Conversely, the Senate GOP plan would bolster the districts of the two Republican Senators who had the closest margins of victory in 2011:

Republicans with more friendly districts

John Watkins: +8.1 percentage points
Bryce Reeves: +7.7 percentage points

Numbers above show change in Republican Party performance between current district and proposed district, based on results in 2009 Governor's race.

Republicans were able to achieve many of these changes this by shaving away GOP-friendly precincts from some of their safest seats:

Republicans with less friendly districts

Emmett Hanger: -14.8 percentage points
Steve Newman:  - 5.7 percentage points
Ralph Smith:   - 5.4 percentage points
Tommy Norment: - 4.1 percentage points

Numbers above show change in Republican Party performance between current district and proposed district, based on results in 2009 Governor's race.

Jan. 24, 2013