Thanks to Ohio Capital Blog for the map. Of course, this is just a proposal right now. But with GOP control of the legislature, it probably will remain as is.
Go to Ohio Capital Blog's post to see each individual district close up.
My initial reaction to the new map was "whoa". Its more aggressive than I expected.
They had to get rid of 2 seats. I figured they would eliminate one current Democrat and one current Republican seat. They did that. But the new map solidifies the districts and makes them much less competitive. They did this with Democrat seats as well as the Republican ones.
For example, a new district has been created that is wholly within Franklin County. Being a completely urban district, it will obviously be a Democrat seat for the next 10 years. How does this help Republicans? Previously, there were 3 districts that had portions of Franklin County. By removing the blue, urban portions from these 3 districts, they become much easier to defend for Republicans. This is especially good news for Stivers and Tiberi, as their districts are almost completely suburban and rural, much friendlier to Republicans.
Its not so good news for Steve Austria, however. His district was merged with Michael Turner's. They will have to face each other in a primary.
Another example is my current district, the 9th, represented by Marcy Kaptur. It was already deep blue. Kaptur has held the seat for 30 years, is the longest serving Ohio representative, and the longest serving woman in Congress. Now, however, its even more impossible for a Republican to win.
It currently includes Toledo, but also rural and suburban areas to the west (most of Lucas county). Plus it includes the blue counties of Ottawa and Erie, and finally, western and southern Lorain County. Lorain County is also very blue, but NOT the western and southern parts that Kaptur represents. These areas of Lorain County are suburban and mostly rural. With the exception of the smelly hippies in Oberlin, its conservative territory. In 2010, Rich Iott actually beat Marcy Kaptur in Lorain County. But she clobbered him in Lucas, Ottawa and Erie.
Now, look at the NEW 9th. It runs along northern Lorain County, then is connected to the west side of Cleveland by a tiny strip. Also, the rural and suburban areas in Lucas County around Toledo have been removed, leaving only urban Toledo. I predict this district will vote Democrat by a 30 point margin for the next 10 years. It doesnt even include the western suburbs of greater Cleveland. Those were put into Republican Jim Renacci's new district.
Of course, this means Dennis Kucinich would have to run in a primary against Kaptur if he wants to keep his seat. He would beat her in Cuyahoga County, but she would kill him in the rest of the district. Seeya Dennis.
Currently Ohio's delegation is 13 GOP to 5 Democrats, after a red wave election. Of the current 18, 6 or 7 were competitive and could swing either way. I think this new map leaves 2 or 3 realistically contested districts. The rest are solid red or blue. We're probably looking at keeping a Republican to Democrat advantage of 12-4 or 11-5 for the next 10 years. 10-6 at the worst.
And, of course, that was the whole idea. Is it gerrymandering? Of course. Is it partisan? Of course. Would the Democrats do the same if they had control? Don't doubt it for a second. Nationwide, both parties do it. Illinois has some crazy shaped districts, and I don't have to tell you what party controls things in that state.
Elections have consequences. They have even more consequences in years that are divisible by ten.
P.S. On a purely personal note, I did get my wish. Southern Lorain County was drawn out of Marcy Kaptur's district. Her district has been really stretched thin, all the way into western Cuyahoga County, meaning Dennis Kucinich would have to face her in a primary to keep his seat. My new rep is...Bob Gibbs? Didn't see that coming. Seeya Marcy!