by Lucas O’Connor / Two Cathedrals / Originally published June 10, 2011
The first draft of state redistricting maps were released and approved [June 10th]. There will still be revisions, but this should be relatively close to what we’re dealing with. Flash analysis, roughly based on current numbering and roughly South to North. You can download all the draft congressional maps here.
51st – Currently Bob Filner (retiring). The 51st would be giving up Sweetwater, Bonita, Eastlake, and parts of Chula Vista. It would pick up Imperial Beach and extend much further north, Grant Hill, Logan Heights, Golden Hill, and all of City Heights. With Filner vacating the seat, Juan Vargas has declared his intention to run for the seat and is being greeted in Sacramento with “Hello Congressman.” However, this map would also put Councilman Todd Gloria in the same district. Gloria’s expected by many to be lining up for a Congressional run, presumably to succeed his mentor Rep. Susan Davis. But with the district leaving him, and the specter of city redistricting also messing with his district, Gloria may well face a move.
53rd – Currently Susan Davis. The 53rd has largely been coastal and particularly odd-shaped, running from Torrey Pines and La Jolla Village south through every beach community through Imperial Beach, through downtown past SDSU, and pieces of La Prensa and Lemon Grove. Well… hope Davis, who lives in Kensington, has enjoyed the beach. Because her new district would have none of it (if she stayed put). It would begin with North Park, Hillcrest and Clairemont in the West and follow I-8 all the way to El Cajon, and then south almost to the border. Bounded on the West by 805, it would pick up La Mesa, Lemon Grove, Paradise Hills, Bonita, Eastlake and much of Chula Vista. It picks up a much larger minority population and starter families while losing big-money coastal Dems, but should be a secure seat. Davis has another option however.
50th – Currently Brian Bilbray. It’s arguable whether this will or should be ‘named’ the 50th, but for sake of argument. The new 50th would lose highly conservative northeastern areas like Escondido, San Marcos, even parts of Rancho Santa Fe. In the process of sacrificing a huge chunk of its northern area, it picks up the conservative voters in Poway before moving southwest to add Pacific Beach, Ocean Beach and Point Loma, Mission Hills, Balboa Park much of Downtown and Coronado. It also would not include the current listed residence of any incumbent, because it leaves out Rep. Bilbray’s Carlsbad address. Bilbray could still run here. Susan Davis could opt to follow her downtown and coastal supporters to this district. Could be both which would leave the 53rd open, could be neither — creating an entirely open 50th.
49th – Currently Darrell Issa. This is even more of a stretch numerically, but the 49th would include the Vista home of current incumbent Darrell Issa. It would also include Bilbray’s Carlsbad address. It becomes a coastal district that runs from UTC in the south all the way to San Juan Capistrano in Orange County. That means Del Mar, Solana Beach, Encinitas, Carlsbad, Vista, Oceanside, Pendleton, San Clemente. It’s a seat that Bilbray fits much better than Issa, but may be a tougher hold that Bilbray is interested in. Issa would be a much worse fit, but has other options if he’s willing to follow his current district’s center of gravity.
52nd – Currently Duncan Hunter Jr. The 52nd, geographically at least, would see relatively simple changes. It would lose much of its foothold in the city of San Diego, giving up Kearny Mesa, Santee, Del Cerro plus Poway and La Mesa. It would keep Santee but give up chunks of El Cajon. By way of compensation, it would become much more complete geographically to the north. It would trace the communities of I-15 to the north end of San Diego County, adding huge chunks of the current 49th and 50th. Everything from Escondido north to Temecula and East would be part of the new 52nd. Issa could make a move to this district, setting up a showdown between Issa and Hunter that would almost certainly get ugly fast. Instead of following his district east though, Issa could follow it north.
Finally, 20-year incumbent Ken Calvert must be throwing things about now. His 44th district has been cut to ribbons, now distributed into four different districts. The southern end now belongs to the long coastal district running to UTC — that’s out for him. There’s a district centered on Mission Viejo that picks up Tustin, Orange and Anaheim, but that presumably falls to Rep. Gary Miller to defend. But he lives in Corona, which is now a corner of a much larger district that includes strong Issa territory from Murreita to Lake Elsinore to Perris. The last option is a district centered in Riverside and Moreno Valley. Calvert represents Riverside but wouldn’t live in the new district. If he went that direction though, it would leave Issa with an open run at the Corona/Perris/Murreita district that he largely represents anyways.
So the shortest and cleanest outcome would be this: Juan Vargas retains his clear shot to succeed Filner. If Councilmember Gloria is planning on a move to Congress, he’ll likely need to move into Susan Davis’ new district. Davis stays for not too much longer before passing the torch. The ‘new’ 52nd stays Hunter territory, and Bilbray picks between the new north coastal district and the revamped 50th. Issa moves north and east with his district as Ken Calvert does the same into Riverside. That means that Dems have two spots to fill in winnable districts north of the 8 and whichever Bilbray doesn’t choose will also need a new Republican. Heck, if Carl Luna’s prediction is right and Nathan Fletcher doesn’t get traction in the mayor’s race, how about an open House seat?
Ed: As noted in the comments, Bilbray “recently ” switched his official address from Carlsbad to Clairemont, so it seems he’s made his choice. Issa said he looks forward to the new north coastal district. Which should mean interesting times ahead.
Here is the link to the SignOnSanDiego article on Congressional Districts.