Congressional Redistricting Will Lead To Changes
The general consensus, at least around the news reports of the upcoming redistricting in Mississippi, is that there will not be many fireworks related to the new district lines for the four House seats. This is obviously in sharp contrast from ten years ago when the state lost a Congressional seat. This time around, the thinking is that everything will go a little smoother and most of the action will come as a result of the districts for the state House and Senate which are going to see some significant changes.
But, there will inevitably be changes to the districts- especially the Second. As we noted in a recent story mainly related to state legislative redistricting, the area hardest hit by population loses has been the Delta. The Delta, of course, makes up the bulk of the Second District. At the same time the city of Jackson, which mostly rests in the Second, has also seen a population hit. Desoto in the First and Rankin and Madison in the Third have been the biggest beneficiaries of population gains. So clearly, lines will not be able to stay exactly as they are.
Here is a link to a full-size image of the current MS-02 lines.
That leads to the question, what do you do to make up for this? Considering the growth of the suburbs, you would have to imagine both the First and Third will lose something to even things out with the Second.
Without any real inside knowledge other than some maps, the top candidates to exit the First and join the Second are Tate, Panola, Yalobusha and/ or Grenada. Geographically, that would make the most sense. As for demographics, Tate is 67.5 percent white, Panola is 51.3 percent white, Yalobusha is 60 percent white and Grenada is 56.5 percent white. Of course, all these counties will not be leaving and chances are they get broken up in some way. There are few more options in the Third district with counties to the East (Winston, Leake, etc.), as well as in the Southwest portion of the state (Adams, Franklin, etc.).
This is where everything gets interesting. You have the potential to increase the percentage of the white vote in the Second- which I am sure Bennie Thompson does not want. At the same time, that would dilute it some in the First which may or may not matter to Democrats depending on who wins in the fall. Considering the solid Republican lean of the Third, I do not see either party making a big deal about it.
This is all just speculation as you know. One big thing we will have to see- with both state legislative districts as well as Congressional- is if the exodus from the Delta was disproportionately white, black, or split evenly to mirror the previous demographics.