New Georgia congressional maps look more cohesive to me

A few thoughts on the proposed congressional maps for Georgia released Monday:

Ga congressional map

Obviously, the two big moves are U.S. Rep. John Barrow, a Democrat, being drawn out of Chatham County and into a more Republican-leaning district; and the new 14th district being in Northwest Georgia, leaving an empty seat in Gov. Nathan Deal’s native Hall County. The empty seat also covers the homes of Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Speaker David Ralston. Neither of them is expected to run for it, but their presence should make next year’s campaign — especially the endorsements and fund raising — very interesting.

Barrow may draw a challenge from Senate Pro Tem Tommie Williams. If so, that would leave two of the three men who have been wrestling for control of the state Senate (Cagle and Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers). If that ends some of that chamber’s dysfunction, that’s all for the better. Two members of the state House, Ben Harbin and Lee Anderson, told my AJC colleagues that they’re considering a run, too.

Besides that, there’s the splitting of Atlanta into two districts. Democrat John Lewis, who currently represents the entire city, is complaining about that. I tend to agree with the logic that the city is better served by having bipartisan representation.

Otherwise, the changes around metro Atlanta and the rest of the state are pretty limited.

Freshman Congressman Austin Scott now has a more solidly Republican district, trading much of Bibb County for Lowndes (with Moody Air Force Base) and Thomas. Sanford Bishop, who was nearly unseated last November, ends up with a more Democratic district as a result.

U.S. Rep. Tom Graves loses a base of support in Forsyth County as his district becomes a more cohesive Northwest Georgia district opposite a Northeast Georgia one — rather than the current, less logical, carving of the northern third of the state.

In all the maps make some modest improvements on the cohesiveness of the districts:

  • In the old map, 18 counties were split between congressional districts. In the new map, 15 are split.
  • Nine of the counties that are split in the new map were also split in the old one — and most of these are in metro Atlanta: Fulton, DeKalb, Cobb, Gwinnett, Clayton, Forsyth, Henry and Newton (as well as Muscogee, where Columbus is located).
  • Fulton is split among four districts instead of the three presently; DeKalb is split among three instead of four. Henry and Gwinnett are both split three ways instead of two.
  • Nine counties used to be split and are made whole: Chatham  (Savannah), Richmond (Augusta), Lowndes (Valdosta), Baldwin (Milledgeville), Rockdale and Douglas (suburban Atlanta), Gordon, Worth and Carroll.
  • Six counties are newly split: Clarke (Athens), Bibb (Macon), Columbia (suburban Augusta), Effingham (suburban Savannah), Fayette (suburban Atlanta) and Pickens.

– By Kyle Wingfield

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44 comments Add your comment

carlosgvv

August 23rd, 2011
8:27 am

“New Georgia congressional maps look more cohesive to me”

The new Georgia Congressional maps look more politically manipulated to me.

ztelling

August 23rd, 2011
8:36 am

Gee, what a surprise, the conservative thinks that GOP gerrymandering looks “cohesive”. If this isn’t a partisan article, I don’t know what is. You should be ashamed of yourself.

Yawn

August 23rd, 2011
8:39 am

The 13th is still weird, it crosses 5 counties, so don’t tell me that one isn’t racially gerrymandered. Draw a line around populations so that a “x” will be elected. People move, areas change from farms to subdivisions, subdivisions decay into less than bright and shiny, median incomes change. Watch Gwinett change over the next decade as its just reached “built out” status.

that's goofy

August 23rd, 2011
8:56 am

the headline from the link used: “GOP redistricting plan would tighten grip on congressional delegation”

nuff said.

Dacula 1995

August 23rd, 2011
8:57 am

Looks good to me as well.

Card Thrower

August 23rd, 2011
9:12 am

Will the democrats cry racism when they get a chance to redistrict in the state of Georgia…

Probably not because its the only card they really have left to play.

brad

August 23rd, 2011
9:13 am

The colors are nice.

jd

August 23rd, 2011
9:14 am

Yeah – Waleska and Buckhead have a lot in common… So much for communities of interest. Oh, as for inviolate precincts, how many ways can we divide thee? Let me count the ways….

Whew

August 23rd, 2011
9:18 am

Glad I don’t live in pink!

But really….arguing and ultimately either complaining or cheering congressional redistricting maps reeks of whitewhine.com material.

Jefferson

August 23rd, 2011
9:31 am

There is nothing you can do one way or another and it is little concern. When the Feds starts closing bases in GA, those folks will wonder what the flip. (Cut,cut,cut)

Kyle Wingfield

August 23rd, 2011
9:32 am

Yawn: The 13th is keeping more or less the same shape it was given when it was created the last go around. If you want to see a really screwy 13th, see what Roy Barnes drew for it:

http://georgiainfo.galileo.usg.edu/pdf/gacongress2002bcolor.pdf

In fact, check out the whole state according to his plan: http://georgiainfo.galileo.usg.edu/pdf/gacongress2002acolor.pdf

Pay extra attention to the 11th…and the 8th…and the 12th…and, well, pretty much everything but the 2nd.

Then get back to me about what is and isn’t cohesive.

Kyle Wingfield

August 23rd, 2011
9:36 am

jd: I think it would be much better if the 6th came down into Buckhead rather than the 11th arcing over into it. Then the 11th could keep more of Cobb.

That was likely done for political reasons — Tom Price of the 6th and Gov. Deal aren’t best buds — but not partisan ones.

Tea Party Hobbit

August 23rd, 2011
9:51 am

Kyle, do you have a link to a larger-size version of that map? Us hobbitses have a hard time seeing text that small.

jconservative

August 23rd, 2011
9:53 am

And the new map must pass the Justice Department review.

I get moved into Broun’s district.

Jefferson

August 23rd, 2011
9:55 am

j- that Broun is a train wreck – hope you don’t vote for that clown.

Tommy Maddox

August 23rd, 2011
10:04 am

Oh come on – what happened to that district that snaked all the way from Dekalb County to the eastern state border then down to Savannah? That was so nice…

JF McNamara

August 23rd, 2011
10:07 am

Its likely gerrymandered, but does it really matter? Congress is a complete mess no matter who is in there. Adding a couple of Republicans only means we will go broke faster because we won’t raise taxes.

Despite the terrible leadership displayed by Republicans in the last decade, Georgia is about as Republican as a state can get at this point. Our districts reflect that. Big deal.

Yawn

August 23rd, 2011
10:14 am

Kyle: I know its origins, I’m just questioning the “why”. Splitting counties makes no sense. If one wanted to live with the crazies in X county, then move there. There’s quite a difference in efficacy between Douglas, Fulton, Fayette, Clayton and Henry counties.

Kyle Wingfield

August 23rd, 2011
10:31 am

Tommy Maddox

August 23rd, 2011
11:12 am

The 8th is a little odd.

1961_Boomer

August 23rd, 2011
11:16 am

So, the Democrats had control of redistricting for the better part of 100 years. The Republicans get a crack and it once, and the Democrats whine like a bad fan motor.

The Republicans have been fairer and more even-handed than the Democrats ever were.

THE "REAL" TRUTH

August 23rd, 2011
11:33 am

Geez, what a surprise. (blank face). The ReTHUGlicans can sure count on you, Kyle. Why not develop a map that encompasses the state fairly and equally? Not a Democratic slant or a ReTHUGlican one. Oh, I know!! If you were to create a fair and just redistricting, it JUST MIGHT tilt blue!!

You R’s kill me with your less government rant, and then do this crap. Where I’m from, we call that talking out the side of your neck. Goergia is a dead stick. Red and Dead. Sonny and Nathan, not to mention the Red state legislature has done NOTHING but profit themselves. And yet they have the audacity to continue to supress voters and silence the presence of Democrats. We will be heard, Kyle. I guess the pain hadn’t gotten to the R’s yet. You folks seem to exist in some Bizarro (Ol’ Superman reference), world.

Just sayin’….

Kyle Wingfield

August 23rd, 2011
12:17 pm

Real: So is there something specific about the maps you don’t like, or just the fact that Republicans drew it?

JDW

August 23rd, 2011
12:55 pm

Nice spin Kyle, cohesive indeed. However I prefer to call a spade a spade…the new map, just like the old one, is all about screwing your enemies (Barrow, Lewis, Price) and aiding your friends (Deal, Gingrey, Scott). At least I will have the pleasure of voting against Gingrey this time around.

Let the Justice Review followed by the court battles commence.

Grasshopper

August 23rd, 2011
1:33 pm

Let’s face it. To the Dems, ANY map drawn is going to be: partisan, gerrymandered, manipulative, racist, (insert obligatory snide adjective here.) I would love to see the uber-fair map some of the ‘equality-minded’ posters on this blog would draw up.

Rafe Hollister

August 23rd, 2011
1:47 pm

I didn’t get much out of reading these comments other than whatever the Dems did in the past might not have been all that nice, but it was done to help the downtrodden, to elect underrepresented blacks, and to help hold the tide against the evil Republicans.

Now it is totally different, the evil rich loving Republicans are trying to steal democracy from the good folks in this backwater state. That the map is more logically drawn, is no indicator that the GOP was not willfully and purposefully trying to DISENFRANCHISE the poor uneducated voters.

Rafe Hollister

August 23rd, 2011
1:57 pm

Grasshopper

You are correct, to hear the Libs explain it all virtue, enlightment, knowledge, and good will come from the Democrats.

Remember Reagan and Dubyah put Dems in Cabinet positions. Frist had equal numbers of Dems on Senate committees, even though not required to. I think the Dems just saw all that good will as weakness.

eggergrl

August 23rd, 2011
2:44 pm

These maps look much better than the gerrymandered maps that looked like spiders when the democrats did them. I am an independent voter and vote for both parties before you guys start accusing me of being a Republican or racist!!! or whatever…

Michael H. Smith

August 23rd, 2011
4:28 pm

It won’t be long before its crying time again for the Dems.

Sing along with Brother Ray, DEMwits.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2vUM1kT7G8E

Bray on lil dunkeys, bray on.

THE "REAL" TRUTH

August 23rd, 2011
4:30 pm

@Kyle, seems to me that the Repukes have an inane ability to “exclude” certain demograhics in their quest for continued power. Or is that how equal is defined in your party?

Once upon a time, Kyle, this country was based on that very definition. Both parties had a voice and on issues that were disagreed upon, reason and debate took place and a SOLUTION was found that was for the better good. This “map” just shows most of us just how power hungry these Republicans are. Talk about voter supression.

Yeah, Kyle, I said it. Not saying that a Democratically proposed map would fair any better, but this has been done with the express intent on keeping power on the R’s side. Incredible.

ragnar danneskjold

August 23rd, 2011
5:12 pm

The districts look rational – no long snake-like districts. As Fulton County has such a polarized electorate, neatly divisible by neighborhoods, it makes sense to separate them, give them the representation each desires. I doubt there will be any Republican whining about the new districts, and Democrats would whine under any circumstance, so this is a pretty good chart.

Hillbilly D

August 23rd, 2011
5:59 pm

The 9th looks closer to the historical 9th than the current one. It could still use some work, in my opinion.

I would imagine Nathan Deal is trying to help his Gainesville buddies.

Rich

August 23rd, 2011
6:01 pm

Kyle,
You sure glossed over DeKalb’s District changes, which essentially use to be the 4th Congressional District. North DeKalb is no longer in Hank’s district, and it looks like a lot of the Atlanta in DeKalb, westside of DeKalb, has also been drawn out. It is hard to read your map online. In exchange they gave him a lot of Rockdale County. He still is a lock to win, but he no longer represents the “big money” in DeKalb, by design. Hum?

Betrayed

August 23rd, 2011
7:24 pm

As a conservative living in the 2nd Congressional District, I can’t thank our Republican legislature enough for assuring us 10 more years of Sanford Bishop.

No More Democrats

August 23rd, 2011
8:33 pm

THE “REAL” TRUTH

August 23rd, 2011
4:30 pm

Either one of two conclusion can be drawn from your, ahmm ‘comment’.

One) You weren’t around when the other Party’s dear ruler King Roy E. Barnes gerrymandered his redistricting map to exclude Republicans from taking over the state in a very vain attempt to save Democrats from losing dictatorial power after 100 years of a totalitarian oppression.

OR, Two) YOU LIE! But that will do absolutely no good ’cause that lie has been busted once again.

Glad the Republicans have drawn this map, hopefully to do unto the Democrats exactly what they done unto the Republicans every time redistricting was in their dirty hands. The only difference is the Republican’s finished product is far more appealing to the eye and a sense of justice.

Rafe Hollister

August 23rd, 2011
10:09 pm

Betrayed
I grew up down there and my family still lives in the 2nd. I know the pain of which you speak, but don’t blame the state legislature, blame the Justice Dept. The Legislature is not “allowed” to turn a minority district into a competive district. They had no choice but to allow ole Sanford to stay there and vote like Pelosi tells him to.

Joel Edge

August 24th, 2011
5:34 am

“This isn’t the first time the folks in Atlanta have put politics above the interests of the people I represent … and I doubt it will be the last,” Barrow said in a statement.

Too funny, John.
The man’s done next to nothing for the 12th.

Sheila

August 24th, 2011
6:40 am

If the new maps don’t look more cohesive than the 2001 king Roy maps, you must be willfully blind.

Down in Albany

August 24th, 2011
6:43 am

Betrayed and Rafe: The Albany Herald said the legislature “conceded” District 2. Call it what you like, Bishop now appears to be invincible. Not good for conservatives.

Gerrymandering

August 24th, 2011
7:17 am

Kyle,
Are certain seats/districts in Georgia required to be minority majority under the Voting Rights Act (or is that at the state level only)? Isn’t a certain amount of ‘gerrymandering’ required by the federal government to address a century of Democratic misdeeds after the Civil War (sorry, that line is like a layup for so much of politics in the South, but history can be a real bit**).

JDW

August 24th, 2011
7:30 am

@Gerrymandering, “a century of Democratic misdeeds after the Civil War”

I am assuming you mean the Wingnuts that have since taken their “cause” to the Republicans… Deal, Perry, Sonny, Butterworth, Hamerick, Ginn, Gooch, Miller, Mullis, Murphy, Shafer, and Untermann etc…

Kind of a cool idea, now they can blame the Democrats for all the BS they once foisted upon the rest of us.

GT

August 24th, 2011
8:04 am

Isn’t this how they elected an unelectable Newt? Then Newt goes to Washington and is the pioneer in hijacking democracy, by unelectable members of congress. I love how they compare this to being better than the previous Georgia Democrats. They are the same people, another trick when your act is getting old in one party just go take over the other party. In the long run it makes both parties better throwing these haters out of their parties, it reminds them how weak human character can get.

Self_Made

August 25th, 2011
2:31 pm

Thanks GT…remind them that the “dirty Dem” hands that crafted the Barnes map are the same hands that crafted this one. They simply changed the letter behind their names.

I’m not appalled by this map. I’ve seen much worse. It’s the state legislative maps that are the real crime against democracy. All I can say on the subject of Georgia’s party identity is this…how can a state that has voted 50something percent vs 40something percent in Presidential elections have such lopsided representation in Congress and the statehouse if district manipulation isn’t at play? And YES, the minority-majority provision in the Voting Rights Act has been a tool used to undermine fair representation for all.

Edmond Bolton

August 29th, 2011
1:09 pm

Enter your comments here I haven’t seen the map for the 4th district,but I will bet I will still be stuck with Hank(Island Tilter)Johnson, the walking,talking Zombie!