The Washington Post called it the “second-most gerrymandered” district. Its shape is comical and unwieldly. It has been compared to a praying mantis. This is Maryland’s 3rd Congressional District. Yet, when the topic of gerrymandering in Maryland arises, Maryland’s 6th Congressional District receives an outsized amount of attention and focus. The focus on the 6th makes some sense; it is the focus of a federal court case. Certainly, from a lawsuit perspective, focusing on a district where the incumbent lost his seat because of gerrymandering makes more sense than a district where the incumbent kept his seat. However, the 3rd is still more gerrymandered, because it is a weirder shape and the margin of victory for Democrats in the 3rd is higher than it is in the 6th. It is good that both the current governor, Larry Hogan, and the former governor, Martin O’Malley, agree that the gerrymandering in Maryland is bad. However, they should speak out about the 3rd specifically, because, as stated before, the 3rd is more gerrymandered, and because it makes more political sense to focus on the 3rd. The two should draw attention specifically to the 3rd.
There is an abundance of evidence showing the 3rd is more gerrymandered than the 6th. When one looks at a map of the 6th, this is evident. The 6th encompasses all of a few counties, whereas the 3rd encompasses small parts of several counties. Additionally, compare the 2014 and 2016 results in the 3rd district, as compared to the 6th district. In the 3rd, the Democratic candidate’s percentage of the vote increased by 4 percentage points, whereas, in the 6th, it increased by 7. Though this increase would lend credence to the idea that the 6th is more gerrymandered, because the Democratic candidate received a higher amount of the vote than previously, the overall amount of the vote the Democratic candidate won in the 3rd in both years is higher than the amount of the vote they won in the 6th in both years. In both elections, the Democratic candidate in the 3rd received 13-14 percentage points more votes than the Democratic candidate did in the 6th. The higher margin of victory for the Democrat indicates that the 3rd is more polarized and gerrymandered.