From the Pure Politics Redistricting Lab: Another version of a possible 2012 congressional map

03/25/2011 12:38 PM

State lawmakers have been busy arguing over money in this year’s Medicaid budget and haven’t gotten around to debating how to redraw the congressional districts.

The 2010 Census showed the 1st and 5th congressional districts need to add territory to increase their populations to get closer to the average of about 723,000. The 2nd, 4th and 6th Districts are overpopulated and would have to shed some territory.

So here’s another draft of potential districts from our Pure Politics Redistricting Laboratory:

The 1st Congressional District, represented by Republican Congressman Ed Whitfield of Hopkinsville, needs to add people.

In this model, it would absorb Green (11,258 people), Taylor (24,512) and Marion (19,820) counties.

That would allow it to give back the two partial counties — a few precincts in Lincoln County, which is shared between the 1st and 6th Districts and roughly half of Ohio County, which is split between the 1st and 2nd.

The 2nd Congressional District, represented by Republican Congressman Brett Guthrie of Bowling Green, is currently the most populous in the state with more than 760,000.

To get it close to the target average, it could shift Green, Taylor and Marion counties and pick up the other half of Ohio County and its 13,161 additional voters from the 1st District.

Most of Jefferson County already is in the 3rd Congressional District. The county has more than 741,000, so it theoretically could be its own district. That would be within 5% of the target figure.

Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth of Louisville said on on Pure Politics earlier this week that he’d like to see the county in one district.

But it only needs to pick up a precinct or two from the few that are currently in the 2nd District to get to the target figure.

Republican Congressman Geoff Davis of Hebron represents the 4th Congressional District.

Its population is above the 723,000 target. To avoid the current splitting of Scott County between the 4th and 6th District, the 4th could pick up the southern part of the county with its 42,000 people from the 6th.

That would give the 4th another infusion of conservative voters. Meanwhile, it could give the 6th District Harrison (18,846), Fleming (14,348), Nicholas (7,135) and half of Bath County it currently has (6,547).

In addition, Elliott County and its 7,852 people could go to the 5th District.

Republican Congressman Hal Rogers of Somerset needs to add constituents.

He could get a large group by taking Madison County and its 82,916 people from the 6th District plus the addition of Elliott County from the 4th District.

To balance out the swap, Rogers could then lose more Democratic-leaning counties of Rowan (23,333) and Wolfe (7,355), plus the other half of Bath County that is currently split between the 4th and 5th districts.

Finally, the 6th District is represented by Democratic Congressman Ben Chandler of Versailles.

Under this drawing, Chandler would have shed more conservative leaning voters from southern Scott County to the 4th District and Madison County to the 5th District.

It would then have to gain counties to the northeast from the 4th and 5th districts: Harrison, Fleming, Nicholas, Rowan, Wolfe and Bath counties. It also would pick up the remaining precincts from Lincoln that currently are in the 1st District.

The result is a sort of deformed—bowtie-shaped district with Fayette County in the center.

(Disclaimer: Again, this is not in any way an official map. The General Assembly will do that in the coming months.)

- Ryan Alessi


Subscribe to email updates.

Subscribe and get the latest political intelligence delivered to your inbox.