The House and Senate have agreed on a compromise map, the Sparrow map we discussed in this morning’s post. Bob Mercer notes that the much amended House Bill 1001 passed the Senate 30–2 and squeaked through the House, over the objection of conservatives who still haven’t figured out how to hold a line, 37–31.
Now we can all have fun analyzing the map for potential impacts on the 2022 election. One of the easiest items to check is partisan leaning of each district, as calculated by Dave’s Redistricting, the online tool legislators used to draw their lines. Based on 2016 and 2018 votes, Dave’s Redistricting figures the statewide partisan split is 62.45% Republican, 34.99% Democratic, and 2.55% independent. Thus, the fact that 32 of the 35 districts have Republican vote percentages greater than 50%. Republicans break 60% in 22 districts. Republicans run between 50% and 60% in ten others. Democrats break 50% in only three districts, one in Indian Country and two in Sioux Falls:
- District 27—Oglala Lakota, Bennett, Jackson, eastern Pennington: 52.18% Dem, 45.69% GOP
- District 15—downtown Sioux Falls, west to I-29, north to Smithfield, the airport, and north Cliff: 51.37% Dem, 45.13% GOP.
- District 10—McKennan Park, east and north from Cliff to Washington HS and Great Bear: 50.57% Dem, 46.54% GOP.
To any Democrats who want to complain, oh woe, the Republicans gerrymandered us out of competition with this map, I issue a challenge to come up with any map, even wildly gerrymandered ones, that would produce any more Democratic-leaning districts. I tried and will contend better Senate districts for Dems are mathematically and geographically impossible.
All but two of the Senate districts are majority white. Two districts, 27 and 26 (Rosebud, Lower Brule, Crow Creek, and Chamberlain), are majority American Indian: 67.65% in 27, 53.44% in 26. Our Lakota and other tribal neighbors make up double-digit percentages in six other districts:
- District 28—northwest SD, including the Standing Rock counties of Corson, Dewey, and Ziebach and the white folks in Perkins, Harding and Butte: 33.04%
- District 32—a chunk of Rapid City north of I-90, downtown, and south to Monument Health: 23.94%
- District 21—south central SD, including Aurora, Douglas, the heavily Yankton Sioux Charles Mix, Gregory, and heavily Rosebud Sioux Tripp counties: 17.05%
- District 1—northeast SD, including most of heavily Sisseton-Wahpeton Roberts County and the progressively whiter Marshall, Day, and majority of Brown: 16.13%
- District 35—north and east Rapid, out to the Pennington part of Box Elder, down to School of Mines and Elks Golf Course: 11.21%
- District 24—the Capital district, with Pierre and Fort Pierre; all of Haakon, Stanley, and Sully, most of Hughes and Hyde: 10.07%.
Dave’s Redistricting doesn’t show the single-member House districts in 26 and 28; however, HB 1001 preserves that split from the current system to provide our Lakota neighbors with majority votes in 26A (mostly Mellette and Todd counties) and 28A (mostly Corson, Dewey, and Ziebach counties).
Update 16:56 CST: Democratic officialdom is speaking nicely about the new district map. Here’s South Dakota Democratic Party chairman Randy Seiler’s charitable statement on the passage of the Sparrow map:
South Dakota Democrats look forward to a competitive election cycle under the newly drawn district boundaries. Democratic legislators were actively involved in the redistricting process and worked to get the fairest maps possible.
We are pleased to see the North Rapid community has been united in District 32. For too long, that community has been divided between different legislative districts, and this map is an important step forward.
We appreciate the work of the Senate Republicans to make this a bipartisan effort, which has delivered fairer maps than we had the past ten years. We can all agree better, fairer maps are better for our democracy.
Thank you to Rep. Ryan Cwach and Sen. Troy Heinert for their long hours and tireless efforts serving on the House and Senate Redistricting Committees to get the best maps possible for South Dakota. Rep. Cwach and Sen. Heinert had a significant impact on this process through their thoughtful and diligent approach.
We encourage all Democrats in South Dakota to get acquainted with their new district and consider whether they or someone they know should run for office there. We are excited to work with candidates and potential candidates for office. These new maps shuffle the board and present new opportunities for Democrats to win seats across the state and restore balance in Pierre [Randy Seiler, SDDP press release, 2021.11.10].