Under proposed map, Ga.’s 1st district would still be a lock for Kingston

I already posted about the redistricting map currently making the rounds among Georgia lawmakers.

But I got a few questions about the impacts, and I decided to take a closer look at some of the electoral implications.

First, let me repost the current and proposed maps.

Here is Georgia’s current map of congressional districts:

Here is a map under consideration by the Republican-controlled state legislature:

Word has it that Rep. Jack Kingston, the incumbent Republican in the 1st district, is not thrilled with the new map.

And with good reason.

In 2010, Kingston won the 1st district 117,270 to 46,449 against the little-known Oscar Harris II. That’s a 70,000 vote cushion.

But take a look at the Kingston margin of victory in the counties that would be removed from the 1st district in the new map:
Telfair +462
Wheeler +368
Jeff Davis +2,104
Appling +3,062
Bacon +1,677
Coffee +3,315
Atkinson +729
Berrien +2,321
Cook +1,339
Lanier +624
Lowndes +4,954
Echols +390
Clinch +605
TOTAL +21,950 for Kingston.

Twelfth district Congressman John Barrow, a Democrat, won his portion of Chatham County (which would switch to Kingston turf) 27,843 to 12,683 in the last election – a 15,160 vote margin. The 1st district would also pick up Effingham County, which swung heavily Republican in 2010, with McKinney beating Barrow 9,201 to 4,051 – a margin of 5,150. So that washes out to a 10,000 vote swing in the portions of the 12th district that might become part of the 1st district. The 1st district would also pick up a small portion of Bulloch County, which would also trend Republican but make little only a small dent in those 10,000 votes.

So a credible challenger to Kingston might assume that he or she would lose by 40,000 votes against Kingston rather than 70,000.

Kingston seems likely to win that 1st district seat as long as he wants it. And that’s surely what the Republicans drawing the map realize. Kingston will remain a lock for the 1st district, but Barrow or another Democrat will have a tougher time in the 12th — I’ll look at some of that data in a future post. The new 14th will certainly be Republican, and the Republican candidates in the future might be able to make a stronger run at Sanford Bishop in the 2nd district, which was competitive in 2010.

Currently, Republicans hold 8 of Georgia’s 13 seats in the House of Representatives. The proposed map would guarantee 9 of 14 seats for the Republicans, with a possibility of 10 or even 11.

Some Savannah politicos have complained about the proposed map because of perceived advantages of having two Congressmen rather than one with a direct stake in the city — and in coastal issues generally. I’m not really sure that we’ve gotten that much out of the current split, honestly. Savannah might be better off if it were the clearly dominant metro in the 1st district.

Of course, at some point any new map would be examined for racial fairness. I do not know how that would play out.