Looking at strengths and weaknesses of the Democratic and Republican maps, I’m proposing a new map.

We now know that a special master will draw Connecticut’s Congressional map unless the Democrats and Republicans strike a last-minute deal, which looks incredibly unlikely. In looking at the latest map proposed by the Democrats and the one proposed by the Republicans, it seems that neither one accomplishes the goal of drawing clean lines without securing unfair partisan advantages. I would therefore like to make a modest proposal for an alternative that will make few partisans happy but it likely to lead to a more coherent congressional map. 

The Republican Map.

First, the Republicans deserve kudos for their diligence in keeping at it and proposing a new map. In addition, their new map dropped the idea of removing the city of Bridgeport from the fourth district, which was pure political posturing.

The new Republican map has some clear advantages. It looks similar to the current map, and would have minimal political impact in every district but the 5th.  To fix slight overpopulation, the 2nd bleeds Suffield to the 1st and Durham to the 3rd.  The map admirably eliminates one of the ugliest features of the current map, the splitting of Torrington and the separation of its surrounding towns into two different districts. Those towns that fall into the 1st are commonly known as the Lobster Claw. The new map puts Torrington solely in the 5th, as well as adding Barkhamsted, Colebrook, Hartland, New Hartford and Winchester. These are positive changes. The map gets up to more mischief, however, when it moves New Britain to the 1st and adds Bristol to the 5th. Absorbing the Lobster Claw towns into the 5th requires population shedding. But the grabbing of Bristol and the four-part trade between, the 5th, 1st and 3rd, are used to the clear partisan end of removing the heavily Democratic New Britain from the 5th.. It’s a move that looks related to the annexation of the Lobster claw, but is in fact not required by it.

The Democratic Map.

The Democratic map is basically the current map with minor population changes made by moving Durham and more of Glastonbury out of the 2nd.  In taking more of Glastonbury, the 1st gives its piece of Middletown to the 3rd.  That evens out population between the districts.  The problem with the Democrats’ map is that it binds us to a map that was drawn in 2001 for a purpose that no longer exists. The current map, which the Democrats alter ever-so-slightly, was designed to create a fair fight between two sitting members of Congress whose districts, the 5th and 6th,, were combined.  That’s what led to the Lobster Claw that tore apart Torrington and surrounding towns. Neither person is still in Congress.  Now that this political rationale no longer exists, the Democrats have not put forward a compelling reason to retain these districts rather than make tweaks to the map to keep towns and regions together.

A Proposed Map

With a special master looking at the map, I would like to propose lines that would be cleaner, slightly fairer, and would incorporate the best elements from the past.  There are two caveats. First, I didn’t have the kind of information that the committee has. As a result, there might well be a divergence of around 1000 or so voters per district which might require splitting a town or two. I am not able to do that. Second, the map I propose might affect some of the candidates currently running for Congress in the 5th.  But the special master has been ordered to ignore the concerns of incumbents, and should certainly not take into account those candidates who may be running. If such concerns were paramount then the legislative committee could have taken those things into account and reached a deal.  The special master will not. Besides, it is not required to live in a congressional district to run for it. Therefore, my plan would not preclude anyone from running.

With those caveats, I would suggest the following; the 5th should gain the Lobster Claw, as well as Bristol and Southington, from the 1st, as well as the rest of Waterbury from the 3rd.  The 5th should shed Meriden and Cheshire to the 3rd, and should shed Avon,Burlington, Canton, Farmington and Simsbury to the 1st. The 2nd should then take Middletown, Durham and Middlefield from the 3rd, and the 1st should gain Enfield and Suffield from the 2nd.  The net result from a partisan perspective would be an ever so slightly more Republican 5th, and everything else would be basically a wash.  It would result in cleaner lines, end the splitting of the 5th’s largest city in the state, protect the regional interests near Torrington, and incorporate part of the Republican map. At the same time, it would return Middletown to its traditional place in the 2nd district.  The map also requires that Naugatuck be split between the 3rd and the 5th. While not ideal this is better than splitting Waterbury. In the accompanying map Glastonbury is not split, but would still need to be, to reach perfect population balance, as might a bit of territory between the 3rd and 1st.


It is impossible to know what a special master will do, but my proposal suggests that it is possible to draw better lines and have better elections.

Jason Paul is a Connecticut political operative from West Hartford and a University of Connecticut Law School student.

District by Population and towns , before required evening out splitting of towns.
1st Total 714541
Avon 18098
Berlin 19866
Bloomfield 20486
Burlington 9301
Canton 10292
Cromwell 14005
East Granby 5148
East Hartford 51252
East Windsor 11162
Enfield 44654
Farmington 25340
Glastonbury 34,427
Granby 11282
Hartford 124,775
Manchester 58,241
Newington 30,562
Portland 9,508
Rocky Hill 19,709
Simsbury 23,511
South Windsor 25,709
Suffield 15,735
West Hartford 63,268
Westhersfield 26,668
Windsor 29,044
Windsor Locks 12,498
2nd Total 712,041
Andover 3,303
Ashford 4,317
Bolton 4,980
Bozrah 2,627
Brooklyn 8,210
Canterbury 5,123
Chaplin 2,305
Chester 3,994
Clinton 13,260
Colchester 16,068
Columbia 5,485
Coventry 12,435
Deep River 4,629
Durham 7,338
East Haddam 9,126
East Hampton 12,959
East Lyme 19,159
Eastford 1,749
Ellington 15,602
Essex 6,683
Franklin 1,922
Griswold 11,951
Groton 40,115
Haddam 8,436
Hampton 1,863
Hebron 9,686
Killingly 17,370
Killingworth 6,525
Lebanon 7,308
Ledyard 15,051
Lisbon 4,338
Lyme 2,406
Madison 18,269
Marlborough 6,404
Mansfield 26,543
Middlefield 4,425
Middletown 47,648
Montville 19,571
New London 27,620
North Stonington 5,297
Norwich 40,493
Old Lyme 7,603
Old Saybrook 10,242
Plainfield 15,405
Pomfret 4,247
Preston 4,726
Putnam 9,584
Salem 4,151
Scotland 1,726
Somers 11,444
Sprague 2,984
Stafford 12,087
Sterling 3,830
Stonington 18,545
Thompson 9,458
Tolland 15,052
Union 854
Vernon 29,179
Voluntown 2,603
Waterford 19,517
Westbrook 6,938
Willington 6,041
Windham 25,268
Woodstock 7,964

3rd Total 728,384

Ansonia 19,249
Beacon Falls 6049
Bethany 5,563
Branford 28,026
Cheshure 29,261
Derby 12,902
East Haven 29,257
Guilford 22,375
Hamden 60,960
Meriden 60,868
Milford 52,759
Naugatuck 31,862
North Branford 14,407
New Haven 129,779
North Haven 24,093
Orange 13,956
Prospect 9,405
Seymour 16,540
Stratford 51,384
Wallingford 45,135
West Haven 55,564
Woodbridge 8,990

4th Total 717,177
Bridgeport 144,229
Darien 20,732
Easton 7,490
Fairfield 59,404
Greenwich 61,171
Monroe 19,479
New Canaan 19,738
Norwalk 85,603
Oxford 12,683
Redding 9,158
Ridgefield 24,638
Shelton 39,559
Stamford 122,643
Trumbull 36,018
Weston 10,179
Westport 26,391
Wilton 18,062

5th   Total   697803

Barkhamsted 3799
Bethel 18584
Bethlehem 3607
Bridgewater 1727
Bristol 60477
Brookfield 16452
Canaan 1234
Colebrook 1485
Cornwall 1420
Danbury 80893
Goshen 2976
Hartland 2114
Harwinton 5642
Kent 2979
Litchfield 8466
Middlebury 7575
Morris 2388
New Britian 73206
New Fairfield 13881
New Hartford 6970
New Milford 28142
Newtown 27560
Norfolk 1709
North Canaan 3315
Plainville 17716
Plymouth 12,243
Roxbury 2262
Salisbury 3741
Sharon 2782
Sherman 3581
Southbury 19904
Southington 43069
Thomaston 7887
Torrington 36383
Warren 1461
Washington 3578
Waterbury 110366
Watertown 22514
Winchester 11242
Wolcott 12498
Woodbury 9975