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Detailed Look At The Burton Map

May 12, 2011
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In a post on Tuesday about redistricting, I referred to the Burton map that passed both the House and Senate (very easily) as politically neutral. I basically meant it didn’t take any bold chances to booster the GOP’s numbers in the Senate. A couple Senators were placed in the same district, but nothing like what you may see if one party is really trying to go after the other. Plus, you had the debate on whether or not the Pine Belt should receive a majority-black seat; while sacrificing an open Republican seat to do so. Burton, a proponent of the idea, won out. The sense was that the Burton map was too favorable to Democrats, but I wanted to look at the numbers.

Before I do this, though, I want to add the extreme lack of candidates (particularly on the Democratic side) makes it tough to accurately gauge competitive districts, but here is what I came up with.

The obvious changes are SD 8 and SD 41. SD 8 in the seat previously held by the late Sen. Jack Gordon, a Democrat. It was moved up to Desoto to take account for their population gains. But the district was not totally collapsed, rather merged with SD 14 currently held by Sen. Lydia Chassaniol, a Republican. Matching up against a longtime Senator like Gordon would have been a tough task for Chassanoil, but facing a lesser known challenger- especially one that doesn’t exist yet- would likely make her the favorite. The district would be around 33 percent BVAP under the Burton map. Chassanoil’s old district was up to 44 percent BVAP by 2010.

As for SD 41, it will be around 59 percent black and almost certainly elect a Democrat. Sen. Joey Fillingane will be moved to SD 44 in a district that has an 18 percent BVAP, compared to 38 percent in his current district. So the Dems pickup a seat, while the GOP gets shored up in surrounding districts.

The other big matchup from the Burton map is the pairing of Sens. Ezell Lee (a Republican) and David Baria (a Democrat) in South Mississippi. Lee has been around awhile serving since 1987, while Baria in trying for his second term so you could argue that’s an advantage for Lee (though Baria has been raising a lot more money than Lee). The district the two would run in would be SD 46, one Republicans were likely to target and one that already has a couple Republican challengers qualified. How redistricting may affect them is unknown right now, but you have a possibility Lee faces a GOP primary before the general election. It’s worth pointing out that Lee changed parties earlier this year, probably after a good chunk of the work had been done on these maps. This means that SD 47 (or some seat in the area) is open. If Republicans win both, they pick up a seat but I don’t see any sure things in either of these seats.

These were the most obvious changes, but we also saw some members get shored up under the map. First, here are some Republicans who saw a drop in the BVAP in their new proposed district compared to 2010 estimates under the 2002 maps: Nolan Mettetal- 41 to 29 percent BVAP, Giles Ward- 30 to 22 percent BVAP, Briggs Hopson- 46 to 42 percent BVAP, Walter Michel (open)- 31 to 19 percent BVAP, Videt Carmichael- 36 to 26 percent BVAP, Perry Lee- 33 to 26 percent BVAP, Sidney Albritton- 21 to 12 percent BVAP, Billy Hudson- 23 to 13 percent BVAP.

Michael Watson’s district would jump from around 10 percent BVAP to 30 percent. But, again, we are not seeing challengers to any of these Republicans yet.

One Republican who is being challenged is Sen. Buck Clarke. His district was up to 53.5 percent BVAP under the old lines compared to 42 percent when it was drawn. It would be right at 50 under the Burton map; still a tough hold for Republicans.

Not many changes to speak of for Democrats. A number of the majority-black districts saw their BVAP decrease, but not in any way that would affect their chance of holding the seats.

With or without the new maps, there were maybe a couple opportunities for the GOP to seriously compete. Don’t think anything was done (pro or con) under the Burton map to affect that or give anyone an advantage. In late January, I had a post up stating that it looks like Burton was following an incumbent protection plan for the Senate. That is basically what we got.

One Comment leave one →
  1. jason permalink
    May 12, 2011 11:29 pm

    I have heard that the Democrats are trying to get Jack Gordon’s widow to challenge Chassanoil.

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