I hope you all had an enjoyable holiday vacation. If you were like me and took a few days off from news, then you may have some digging out to do. So I pulled together a review of some of the biggest stories in political geography from the last few weeks. Here it goes:
We learned today that GOP Rep. George Radanovich (CA-19) is retiring. His Central Valley district has a Cook Partisan Index of R+9 so is likely to stay in Republican hands. Radanovich was first elected in 1994 with 57% and won an average of 72% in his subsequent reelections.
Elsewhere in the House, Parker Griffith announced that he was switching from the Democratic to Republican Party. There were only a dozen or so Democrats who fall to the right of Griffith, including fellow Southerners Health Shuler, Gene Taylor, Travis Childers and Bobby Bright.
Griffith’s northern Alabama district does have some legacy New Deal Democrats, but it’s R+12 and McCain (61%) actually did better than Bush (60%). Griffith shouldn’t get too comfortable: Real Clear Politics’ Sean Trende has an interesting story about how party switches often have short lifespans.
Across the border in Tennessee, Politico’s Jessica Taylor predicts that no state will experience more congressional election in 2010 than the Volunteer State. “All told, six of the state’s nine House seats appear likely to be seriously contested,” she writes. And don’t forget the open GOV race.
Speaking of the South, newly-released Census figures confirm what we already know: The region will be a big winner in redistricting. Michael Barone explains why Texas has a reason to show swagger. “Texas had above-average immigrant growth, but domestic in-migration was nearly twice as high,” he explains.
Which brings us to perhaps the most incredible stat I’ve seen so far regarding reapportionment. Demographer Wendell Cox reports that “between 2000 and 2009, the South attracted 90% of domestic migrants from other states.” That’s an astonishingly stark stat about population shifts in the U.S.
(BTW, if you haven’t visited Dave’s Redistricting yet, you owe it to yourself to carve out time TODAY.)
One of the states that will lose population – Pennsylvania – is also seeing some internal shifts. Barone examines long-term Democratic declines the Pittsburgh area and increases in the Philly area, and suggests that recent GOP success in the Philadelphia suburbs could be a canary in the coalmine.
There were some other big stories, but I don’t want to dig back too far. I’ll have much more to come in the New Year and will live you with one of the coolest maps I’ve seen recently – One from Good magazine depicting the Eisenhower Interstate System as if I was the London Underground.