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Analysis: GOP Have House, Senate Seat Advantage In Draft Seats Drawn So Far

September 14, 2021

One byproduct of a state commission drawing new political maps in open meetings is the running social media commentary and analysis that accompanies the process as it unfolds.

Case-in-point: A self-described “political junkie and data analyst” from Miami has the partisan breakdown for Michigan’s state Senate and House districts in Republicans’ favor as the maps stand as of Monday in a handy app here.

Here are the toplines: With 56 House draft maps drawn out of 110, 38 look to be more GOP friendly with another 18 that are Democratic leaning, based on the 2020 presidential contest, with those results available on a precinct-by-precinct level in the app.

Out of the 19 state Senate draft districts, there are 13 that went Republican and 6 that went Democratic in 2020.

For reference, the 2020 presidential contest yielded 59 Republican districts and 51 Democratic districts for the current House and 21 Republican and 17 Democratic districts for the current Senate, according to the app.

Again, these are draft maps — the Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission (ICRC) hasn’t officially made these the draft maps and hasn’t even touched the metro Detroit area yet for either chamber.

But the redistricting tracker set up by GIS analyst Garrett Herrin and promoted from his Twitter provides an idea of what the partisan breakdown looks like at this point in the process.

Herrin promised to update the maps after the various versions the ICRC has come up with are reconciled, which is scheduled to happen this week.

Revised Schedule Has State Senate Maps Done By End Of This Week

Meanwhile, a draft of all state Senate district maps could be completed as soon as this Thursday if the ICRC sticks to a revised schedule approved Tuesday.

The ICRC is going to spend its meetings this week reconciling the various Senate maps that have been created by the commissioners during their mapping process the past few weeks.

Maps for the Detroit area would be considered for the first time on Thursday, the same day ICRC staff has set to finalize all the Senate maps.

People have called in or showed up to implore the ICRC to take more time on the metro Detroit area, given the population and diversity there. The commission has been mapping out-state areas first and has largely stayed away from the metro area.

However, ICRC Chair Sue Hammersmith said Tuesday that due to the timing of certain racially polarized data needed for the Detroit area as well as others, they’ve had to slot the Detroit area further back on the agenda.

Speaking of the redistricting schedule, the ever-litigious Robert Davis Tuesday asked the Michigan Supreme Court (MSC) to force the ICRC to meet its constitutional deadlines to do the maps.

The current ICRC schedule has the commission approving a final map as early as Dec. 30 of this year, with votes on draft maps scheduled for Nov. 5 and Sept. 30.

However, Davis points out in his suit the final maps must be approved by Nov. 1, with a draft published no later than Sept. 17, per the constitution.

The ICRC is planning to blow its deadlines due to the delay in getting U.S. Census data. It tried to go to the MSC preemptively to get the deadlines moved, but to no avail.

During Tuesday’s meeting, the ICRC started back up in the Upper Peninsula and worked its way toward Grand Rapids, reconciling the state Senate maps it’s drawn for six districts. Here’s what they came up with Tuesday:

District 38 – Remains all of U.P. except for Chippewa and Mackinac counties.

District 37 – Adding in Cheboygan County, while removing Kalkaska County from a district that has Chippewa and Mackinac counties and Emmet, Antrim, Grand Traverse and Leelanau counties.

District 36 – Contains much of the northeast Lower Peninsula counties, heading downward toward Wexford, Missaukee, Roscommon, Ogemaw, Iosco and Arenac counties, plus Kalkaska County.

District 35 – Lake, Osceola, Clare, Gladwin, Mecosta, Isabella, Gratiot, and parts of Midland and Bay counties.

District 34 – Most of Muskegon County, then up north to Benzie County along the Lake Michigan coast.

District 33 – Newaygo and Montcalm counties, parts of Muskegon, Kent, and then all of Ionia County.

Next week, the commission would be scheduled to tackle congressional maps for the first time, with a plan to finalize a draft by its Sept. 15 meeting. The state House maps are to be drawn by Sept. 22.

Also, as part of the revised process, Hammersmith is having the ICRC members review possible communities of interest on their own time, between meetings.

The ICRC had been reviewing possible communities of interest clusters, one at a time, compared to the maps they’ve drawn last week, but the conclusion was that process was taking too long.

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