Projected New Senate: 50 Democrats 50 Republicans
News from the Votemaster
Just one poll today, in Minnesota. Amy Klobuchar (D) has widened her lead over Mark Kennedy (R) to 24%, 56% to 32%. Maybe this should not come as a surprise as Kennedy underperformed Bush in 2004 in his own district (MN-06). Perhaps he is just not as strong a candidate as some people thought.
Still no definitive results in AZ-03, but now Herb Paine (D) is leading Don Chilton (D) in the primary by 141 votes. The winner will face incumbent congressman John Shadegg (R) and probably lose to him.
The provisional ballots will be counted in MD-04 tomorrow so it is not known for sure if incumbent Albert Wynn really beat back the challenge from Democratic antiwar candidate Donna Edwards.
Remember the gerrymander from high school history class? Well, Elbridge Gerry, the Massachusetts politican (and later Vice President of the United States) is now dead and gone, but his spirit lives on. The basic idea is simple: draw the map to maximize the number of congressional seats for the party drawing the map. We saw this tactic being brazenly employed in the middle of a decade by Texas and _Georgia recently.
To make the concept clearer, consider a state with 8 million people and 12 congressional districts, for simplicity. If half the people are Democrats and half the people are Republicans, you might get 12 CDs, each with, say, 300,000 Democrats and 300,000 Republicans and competitive elections (assuming 800,000 children in the state). On some other planet maybe.
In reality, if the Democrats control the state government, they might draw eight districts with 350,000 Democrats and 250,000 Republicans, ensuring eight seats in Congress by margins of 58% to 42%. The remaining people would be stuffed into districts with 200,000 Democrats and 400,000 Republicans each. If the Republicans got to draw the map, they would do it precisely the other way. Either way, the guys drawing the map could be sure of 8 of the 12 seats.
Of course, to pull this off, they need the precinct-level election results from the previous election, which they have. The result is some mighty strange looking districts. Below are maps of some actual current CDs.
Check out our list of House races to see how much the incumbent won by in 2004.
The ability to draw such maps requires a friendly state legislature and a friendly governor. There is a not a lot the national parties can do about the elections for state assemblyman and state senator (too small a district), but a friendly governor can approve or veto maps drawn by the legislature. This is the real reason the national parties care about governor's races.
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-- The Votemaster