WSP Re-Districting Analysis: Congressional Districts

We’ve been meaning to get this post up for the last few days but, sadly, we do actually have real jobs.  We’re working on doing a full analysis on the implications of re-districting and will start with the Congressional Districts.  

The 1st Congressional District remains a safe Democrat seat for Pete Visclosky to sit in until he dies if he so chooses.  He is unlikely to have any serious opposition in either the Primary or General Elections.  In fact, its biggest impact is on the 2nd Congressional District.

The 2nd Congressional District was molded as a district for Jackie Walorksi.  The district has taken out the highly Democratic Michigan City and given it to the 1st District while Howard County and the Democrat area of Kokomo were drawn out completely. They also added some nice Republican spots in Elkhart and Kosciusko counties and all of Miami County. 

Will Jackie have a primary?  We’re hearing yes but we highly doubt anyone is going to beat her.  She is known as a tough campaigner and is putting together a campaign team that is already working with the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee.  We strongly believe Congressman Donnelly was already focused on running for U.S. Senate in 2012 and this district makes that more likely.  We’re not sure who the Democrats have warming up on the bench. 

The 3rd Congressional District, much like the 1st, has a bigger impact on the 2nd than on itself.  Several key Republican areas were sliced out of the 3rd and given to the 2nd.  Regardless, it looks to be a fairly safe Republican district provided Congressman Stutzman does not make any major mistakes.

In the 4th Congressional District, we have a very nice Republican map.  Unfortunately for Congressman Todd Rokita, it does not include his home. This is not an issue as we have heard for some time that Rokita planned to move to Hendricks County.  It is a good thing since Rokita has about as many friends in the Legislature as we have in the Kennedy for Mayor HQ.  The Congressman made a lot of enemies by putting out his own re-districting plan last year when he was Secretary of State.  No better way to piss off the legislature than messing with the maps.  Ironic that they used re-districting as a way to get back at him, huh?

The 5th District is interesting but, as usual, it is due to Primary implications rather than General election races.  Congressman Dan Burton has a good district for the General but not so much for the Primary.  The northern portion of the old 5th is where Burton got his votes and it was put in the 3rd District.  If you think his dustup with Messer was close in 2010, check out the numbers if this had been the district.  The race would have come down to a few hundred votes rather than a few thousand.  Burton was able to use his friends in the legislature to push Shelby County, Messer’s home county, out of the 5th.  David McIntosh, however, is based in Madison County and that is in the 5th District.  Will McIntosh take Burton out?  God, we hope so because someone should. 

The 6th district looks to be fairly Republican but not so Republican that a poorly run race would be guaranteed victory.  Congressman Mike Pence is all but declared to run for Governor.  We expect he will announce sometime after the legislative session ends so he can start fundraising.  Luke Messer is said to be taking a close look at the district and we expect he will run.  McIntosh is said to be interested as well.  While McIntosh is registered in Madison County, the new 6th has several of the counties he used to represent. We’re not all that enthused about a McIntosh return to Indiana…unless it is to finally rid our delegation of Dan Burton.  There are a few other names being tossed around but none that should cause too much of an issue if Messer goes all in.

The new 7th District is a bit of a mystery.  Democrats say it is solidly Democrat while the Republicans seem to be split.  We’ve heard some say it is a lock for the Democrats and some who are hopeful that the addition of the Republican Southside will make the district competitive.  Either way, we think you’ll see a much more energized race there in 2012 than usual.  Congressman Carson will crush any opponent in the Primary and the General could be interesting if the Republicans can get a legitimate candidate.  Marvin Scott, this is not a request for you to throw your hat in.  The likelihood of getting a strong Republican candidate could be impacted by the 2011 Mayor’s race.

The 8th District lost some key Republican areas to the 4th and 9th Congressional districts and may well become the Bloody Eighth of  the past. Congressman Bucshon should be safe in the Primary election.  The General will really depend on who the Democrats can get to run.  Democrats appear to be courting Brad Ellsworth for a curtain call but we don’t see it happening.  He just got a great gig  and he lost his home congressional district to Coats in his U.S. Senate bid.  If John Gregg is the Democrat Governor candidate, it could make things interesting in the 8th  (and 9th as well) but we still don’t think the Democrats have a candidate to beat Congressman Bucshon.

Finally, the 9th District looks a bit better than it use to for Congressman Todd Young.  Since this district has been tossed back and forth between the two parties like a hot potato, it is not surprising that Republicans decided to clean it up some.  The district is more Republican than in the past and it looks much more favorable for Young to fend of Primary challengers.  Many of the counties drawn out were won by his 2010 Primary opponents. The district does still include Jackson County where former Congressman Baron Hill resides.  We would think Hill has had enough of fighting for this district for a decade but you never know.  We would say the 9th is more Republican than before but by no means a lock.


Food for Thought: Initial Congressional District Vote Breakdowns with New Boundaries

We ran some quick numbers from the 2010 Congressional candidate election results on the new Congressional District boundaries.  We put counties where their majority is which does not give a completely accurate picture of the districts but it does provide estimates. 

There are a few key things to note.

For District 1, we included the Michigan City portion of LaPorte County.  In District 2, we included all of Kosciusko County.  That means District 3 did not get any of it.  For District 4, we did not include any the portions it received in Morgan or Howard County.  Those would probably offset each other and it is a pretty Republican district regardless. 

In District 5, we included all of Howard County and Washington, Lawrence and Pike Townships in Marion which will likely make it a bit more Democrat leaning that it will turn out to be.  In District 6, we did not include the portion of Scott County slotted to be there.   District 7 does not include the sections we gave to District 5 which will in turn make it seem slightly more competitive than it actually will be. 

District 8 did not receive any of Crawford County that it is slotted to receive.  Finally, District 9 received all of Scott and Crawford counties when it will receive half of each.

1 60.4% 2.8% 36.8%
2 41.9% 5.0% 53.1%
3 33.2% 4.4% 62.4%
4 28.4% 5.6% 66.0%
5 37.9% 8.9% 53.2%
6 30.3% 5.7% 64.1%
7 46.8% 5.2% 48.0%
8 39.1% 4.9% 56.0%
9 37.2% 5.3% 57.6%

Hear It Here First: The Congressional District Maps

Over at WSP, we’ve been working the phones for the last few weeks to get an idea of the maps.  Here is what we’ve found out.

1st District:  Lake, Porter, a small portion of LaPorte County

2nd District:  Remaining LaPorte, St. Joseph, Elkhart, Stark, Marshall, Part of Kosciusko, Pulaski, Fulton, Miami and Wabash

3rd District:  LaGrange, Steuben, Noble, Dekalb, Part of Kosciusko, Whitley, Allen, Huntington, Wells, Adams, most of Blackford, Jay

4th District:  Newton, Jasper, Benton, White, Cass, Warren, Tippecanoe, Carroll, Part of Howard, Fountain, Clinton, Montgomery, Most of Boone, Putnam, Hendricks

5th District:  Hamilton, Northern portion of Marion County, Madison, Tipton, Grant, Howard and a sliver of Blackford 

6th District:  Delaware, Randolph, Hancock, Henry, Wayne, Shelby, Rush, Fayette, Union, Bartholomew, Decatur, Franklin, Jennings, Ripley, Dearborn, Part of Scott, Jefferson, Ohio, Switzerland  

7th District:  Most of Marion County excluding the very northern portion of the district

8th:  Vermillion, Parke, Vigo, Clay, Sullivan, Owen, Greene, Knox, Daviess, Martin, Gibson, Pike, Dubois, Posey, Vanderburgh, Warrick, Spencer, Perry, a portion of Crawford

9th:  Most of Morgan, Johnson, Monroe, Brown, Lawrence, Jackson, Orange, Washington, part of Scott, most of Crawford, Harrison, Floyd, Clark

Watch the press conference live today at 11:30 H/T Capitol & Washington.  We’ll post this afternoon with our analysis of the maps.

UPDATE:  Sounds like the Senate GOP maps will match the House GOP maps.  Here are links for the Congressional map and the Senate map from Senate Republicans.  H/T @indgop.

Indiana Workers Being Used as Pawns, But By Who?

Over the weekend, we got an email from the Smoke Free Indy folks letting us know there will be “an emergency news conference happening on Monday morning regarding exemptions inserted into House Bill 1018, which the Senate is expected vote on next week.”

We were aware of the exemptions being amended to the bill and we agree with them. As far as we can tell, there are plenty of smoke-free options for those who choose to avoid smoke in both work and play. Many bar restaurants have no smoking rules during the day and allow for smoking during specific hours when their clients expect it.  There are non-smoking bars both downtown and in Broadripple for servers, bartenders and patrons to have a choice–and that is what we support. 

Still, we read the email and may watch their news conference online as they noted we could.  But, we found something else about the email much more interesting.

The emails were sent by folks from Fenton.  It is not at all uncommon for a cause like Smoke Free Indy to employ an outside public relations/issue advocacy firm to help with their messaging.  No surprises there.  What we did, frankly, find a little surprising is that they would choose Fenton.

Fenton may be a great company.  They certainly seem to have some big clients. But, they don’t seem to be a good fit for this particular campaign. 

First, if you check out the contact page, you can see that they have locations in D.C., California, and New York.  What about Indiana?  Yeah, not so much. Perhaps they should have thought about using an Indiana firm before sending us an email saying things like “Ind. workers used as pawns” and “protecting Indiana workers.”  How about employing Indiana workers if you care so much about them?

Secondly, you can find a list of clients and case studies for groups Fenton has worked with on their site.  It is not a secret that we are pretty progressive over here so we think it is great Fenton works for equality groups associated with gay marriage and the like.  We weren’t even bothered by Planned Parenthood.  They provide a lot of necessary services for low-income women that have nothing to do with abortion–but that is a different post.  We draw the line, however, at  

Call us crazy, but we do not think Smoke Free Indy has anything to do with the Indiana workers with whom they claim to be concerned.  We think it boils down to an elitist group of people who are not satisfied to make a decision for themselves to not smoke and not frequent locations that permit smoking.  They know best and they can make that decision for themselves and everyone else.  They do not like smoking and, therefore, you should not smoke.

We would agree that Indiana workers are being used as political pawns–we just disagree with Smoke Free Indy and Fenton on who is using them.

UPDATE:  Smoke Free Indy emailed us and said they have no idea who Fenton is working for but they use a local firm, Promotus, for their advertising.  We recieved two emails from Fenton promoting the press conference.  Since they are not a local firm, someone must be paying them.  The question is who.

Dan Parker’s March Madness

It is March Madness so let’s play in metaphorical terms.

Coach Dan Parker looks down his bench for some substitution relief. His starters haven’t exactly been getting the job done. Bayh quit on the team before the clock ran out, and when fans thought Ellsworth would be an All-Star he busted like Greg Oden in the NBA. With the clock ticking Coach Parker has got to be worried. His roster lost in a blowout in 2010. Players like Baron Hill and Trent Van Haaften went down hard, along with every statewide candidate on the Democrat ticket.

Options for the 2012 matches seem to be slim. We could see John Gregg or Joe Donnelly run in statewide races but if those are your two strongest contenders off the bench then you may be in for a long season. If Joe Donnelly decides to run for statewide office in 2012 Coach Parker now has to play tough defense in a congressional district they could barely hold in 2010. Who comes off the bench to go head-to-head versus someone like Jackie Walorski? No strong names come to mind.

John Gregg may have been a giant in state politics, but that was nearly a decade ago. If he runs for Governor, he’ll most likely be battling the GOP team’s current MVP, Rep. Mike Pence. That isn’t exactly a fun matchup for Coach Parker. I’m sure Coach Parker and his team won’t back down from a tough game, then again about 39 players on their team currently have.

When all is said and done, the vulnerability of the Democrat team in 2012 is very apparent. We could potentially see another massive blowout resulting in the pickup of a congressional seat, more gains in the General Assembly, and four more years of a GOP controlled executive branch. Coach Parker is scrambling to sub players in who can contend. Unfortunately, it’s hard to score when you’re always on defense.

District Maps? Who Needs Them? The 2012 General Election Has Begun.

Today, Jackie Walorski announced she will be running for Congress in the 2nd District, wherever that may be, in 2012. One side effect of the ridiculous two-month legislative walk-out from Democrats is the lack of district maps for the 2012 election cycle.  It is tough for a candidate to announce they plan to run in a district they do not even know the lines for but they cannot exactly just wait on the sidelines. 

Walorski, however, is better positioned to move forward in announcing her campaign since her home is fairly safely in the 2nd District.  That and the fact that it has long been rumored that a Congressional District will be drawn with her in mind in exchange for her willingness to run against Donnelly in 2010. 

There is a reason Joe Donnelly is interested in the U.S. Senate seat–his Congressional District will be fairly cozy for a Republican in 2012.

Below is Walorski’s announcement email.

Dear Supporter,

As one of my loyal supporters I wanted you to be one of the first to know that I am running for the United States Congress.

I am running because I believe we need to get our country back on track. We need to get our economy moving again so businesses can create jobs; and I believe it’s time to stop the reckless government spending that drives up the federal deficit while passing on massive debt to our children.

The current leadership in our country has failed us. They have promised more jobs, and less spending, but we continue to see record deficits, and unemployment in North Central Indiana still remains over ten percent. In the State House, I stood up to the big spenders to cut waste and balance the budget without raising taxes, and I understand that we need to keep taxes low and regulation less burdensome so that our small businesses can grow and create jobs.

I pledge to you that in Congress I will vote to cut spending and get our nation on track to balance its budget. It’s going to require tough decisions, and the ability to stand strong for what you and I believe in, but that is what leadership is.

I have been humbled by the outpouring of support and encouragement by my friends, volunteers, and Hoosiers across our district. I want you to know that no matter what the district map ultimately looks like, or who my opponent eventually is, I couldn’t be more committed to the 2nd District, and fighting for a smaller more responsible government and a strong economy.

 You have stood with me before, and I ask you to stand with me again as we, together, work to make the changes necessary in our country.

Yours truly,


Jackie Walorski

Word on Washington Street: Illinois State Legislature Looking to Tax Democrats in Exile?

We’re hearing rumblings that some folks in the Illinois State Legislature are looking to start taxing some of the Democrat legislators who are holding up legislation from exile. 

The thought is that these legislators are conducting business from the state of Illinois and should have to pay some taxes on it.  Just one more reason the House Democrats should come back to Indiana and get some work done.