Michigan’s Draft Redistricting Maps ApprovedOctober 12, 2021
On Monday, Oct. 11, Michigan’s independent redistricting commission voted to take 10 newly drawn political maps to the public in a series of hearings. The commission believes these maps represent the best possible balance between equal representation, community interests, civil rights, and partisan fairness.
The commission approved four congressional maps, three for the state Senate and three for the state House. The public hearings for these maps will begin in the middle of October.
The 13 U.S. House draft districts
The commission has proposed four draft plans for what will be Michigan’s new 13 U.S. House of Representatives districts, all of which suggest changes that could lead to contentious matchups in 2022 as incumbents find themselves essentially playing a game of musical chairs.
The draft plans generally propose the following 13 districts:
- 1 – a Detroit-based district: This district would include most of Detroit except for a portion of the city on the west side. Like the current Detroit congressional district represented by U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, large portions of central Detroit would be linked with downriver communities, including River Rouge and Ecorse. But it would also link those areas with the Grosse Pointes, currently represented by Rep. Brenda Lawrence, D-Southfield. From there, the versions of the maps differ: In one, the district would be paired with Warren and Madison Heights. Another would incorporate more downriver communities, including Romulus and Wayne. Tlaib lives within this proposed district — but it would separate her from several western Wayne County communities she currently represents. This district would be strongly Democratic leaning.
- 2 – a Western Wayne County district: This district, also strongly Democratic, would pair a portion of the west side of Detroit with Dearborn, Westland, Livonia and Redford. Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Dearborn, currently lives in this district, but it links her hometown with other parts of Wayne County currently represented by Tlaib and robs Dingell of what has become a base of support in Ann Arbor, which would become part of a new district. Another version of this proposed district would run further north, adding Lawrence’s hometown of Southfield. That would increase the likelihood of this district electing a person of color, since Southfield is majority Black. But that, in turn, could raise questions of fairness to the Arab-American community in Dearborn.
- 3 – a southern Oakland County district: This Democratic-leaning district would include Farmington Hills, Novi and Pontiac. One version would add Ferndale and Royal Oak to the mix while another would add Milford to the district. Levin currently lives in this district. One version would also include Southfield and Lawrence, however. And it would also, in some iterations, strip areas away in Oakland County from the current district represented by Rep. Haley Stevens, D-Rochester Hills.
- 4 – a Grand Rapids-based district: One configuration of a Grand Rapids-based district would mostly be confined to Kent County while a second configuration would place Grand Rapids in a long and skinny district that would include Democratic-leaning Kalamazoo. Rep. Peter Meijer, R-Grand Rapids, currently lives in this district. Under the proposals, it would remain Republican leaning, though by how much depends on the Kalamazoo question.
- 5 – a Lansing-based district: Both configurations of the commission’s Lansing-based district would include all of Eaton, Ingham and Livingston counties. One configuration would include part of Barry County while another would include part of Ionia County. No member of Michigan’s congressional delegation currently lives in this district, but it’s a fair bet that Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Holly, who has represented Lansing for two terms, could move to run in it. As drawn, this would be slightly Democratic leaning but could clearly be contested.
- 6 – an eastern Oakland County and southern Macomb district: This district would include parts of Macomb and Oakland counties, including Clinton Township, Rochester Hills, St. Clair Shores, Sterling Heights. One version would add Troy to the district. Rep. Haley Stevens, D-Rochester Hills, currently lives in this district, but it has more in common with the district currently represented by Levin, while Stevens would be losing much of the Oakland County/western Wayne County electorate she now represents. It could be safely Democratic — or not, depending on how far north it goes into Macomb County.
- 7 – an Ann Arbor-based district: This district would place Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti with some of western Wayne County, including Canton and Plymouth, as well as parts of Downriver. No member of Michigan’s congressional delegation currently lives in this district, which would be strongly Democratic.
- 8 – a southern border district: Both configurations of this district would encompass most of Michigan’s southern border counties. One version includes a portion of Berrien County. Rep. Tim Walberg, R-Tipton, currently lives in this district, and it’s easy to see him holding on to this district. It would, however, be drawn to include Battle Creek. That might make it marginally more Democratic but it’s hard to see it not going Republican.
- 9 – a western lake shore district: One configuration would include counties in southwestern Michigan that border Lake Michigan, including part of Allegan, Berrien, Muskegon, Ottawa and Van Buren counties. Another configuration would include inland portions, including parts of Barry and Kalamazoo counties. Both versions of the district are currently home to Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Holland Township, and Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph. One argument that has come up is whether Ottawa County, the fastest growing in the state, should be split, as it is in at least one of these maps. It would be Republican leaning.
- 10 – a Thumb district: This district includes much of Michigan’s Thumb, encompassing Huron, Lapeer, Sanilac and St. Clair counties along with portions of northern Oakland and Macomb counties. Rep. Lisa McClain, R-Bruce Township, and Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Holly, currently live in this district. This district, however, would be strongly Republican leaning as proposed.
- 11 – a Flint-based district: This district would include Bay City, Flint, Midland and Saginaw and extend south to Flint and Grand Blanc. Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Flint Township, and Rep. John Moolenaar, R-Midland, currently live in this district. As drawn, it would be Democratic leaning.
- 12 – an Up North district: This district would include all of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and much of the northern Lower Peninsula. Rep. Jack Bergman, R-Watersmeet, currently lives in this district and it would remain safe territory for Republicans.
- 13 – a mid-Michigan district: This district would encompass many of mid-Michigan’s counties. One version of the map would extend to include Muskegon County and a portion of Ottawa County. Another version would extend to include Clinton and Ionia counties. No member of Michigan’s congressional delegation currently lives in this district, but it’s possible Moolenaar would seek to represent it as it includes much of his current district, if not his home in Midland.
Michigan Senate draft districts
The draft Michigan Senate districts would make a number of dramatic changes to the current districts:
- Lansing and East Lansing would be divided into separate districts. The two cities currently share a district.
- Bay City, Midland and Saginaw would be included in the same district. The Tri-Cities are currently separated into three different districts.
- Battle Creek and Kalamazoo would continue to have separate districts. Some had urged the commission to place them in the same district, but commissioners cited conflicting comments that sought to keep the cities separated.
- Ottawa County would be split into three separate districts. The entire county currently makes up a single state Senate district. The commission has received numerous public comments urging the group to keep the county intact.
- Oakland County is currently home to five state Senate districts, but the commission’s draft maps would split the county nine ways.
- The draft districts would largely separate the Grosse Pointes from Detroit’s east side neighborhoods and completely detach the Pointes from Hamtramck and Highland Park.
Michigan House draft districts
- There are some improvements for large sections of central Detroit with downtown and Midtown being consolidated and Hamtramck and much of the close-in east side/Eastern Market being consolidated.
- But where in the Republican-made map from 2011 Detroit voters were contained largely inside the city south of Eight Mile, the commission has lots of districts in its current collaborative map linking neighborhoods in the city with its suburbs.
- In one map, the new 5th House district, for instance, would run from a strip along Detroit’s west side around Outer Drive with Southfield and Farmington/Farmington Hills in Oakland County. The new 21st would run from I-96 and Grand River north through Fitzgerald and other west side neighborhoods into Huntington Woods, Berkley and Royal Oak north of 12 Mile.
- The new 18th would connect the rest of Royal Oak south through Ferndale into Detroit’s Palmer Woods, Palmer Park and State Fairgrounds neighborhoods. On the east side, the new 6th connects Detroit’s East English Village, Morningside and Denby areas north and east into Macomb County running as far as 12 Mile in St. Clair Shores.
- In other parts of the state, there are big changes as well. In Flint, for instance, the current map splits the city in half. A new one splits it as well, but keeps more of the city in one district. And where the current state House map twists and turns, the new one is far more compact.
- Meanwhile, all new House maps cut Grand Rapids into multiple House districts, whereas the old one largely kept it together.
This article is based on reporting by Clara Hendrickson and Todd Spangler from the Detroit Free Press.