Congressional Reapportionment 

Posted: 12:11 am Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

By Jamie Dupree

This is a big day for the Congress, as the results of the Census being released today will determine which states gain seats in the U.S. House and which states lose.

The biggest change is expected to be in Texas, which is forecast to get three or maybe four extra seats in the House.

“They’re going to be the big winners,” said Kimball Brace of Election Data Services, a company that specializes in how the Census will change the makeup of Congress.

The big losers could be Ohio and New York, which could both see a loss of two seats, more evidence of the American transition away from the Rust Belt and into the Sun Belt.

But there was also another reason.

“Part of it was Katrina,” said Brace, referring to the giant hurricane that ravaged the Gulf Coast, especially New Orleans.

“Louisiana is losing a seat, basically almost a whole Congressional seat moved to Texas,” said Brace.

As you can imagine, one extra seat or one less can have a major impact on the actual redistricting in those states, one reason Republican gains in state legislatures in the last election could be very important when the district lines are being drawn.

Often times, one party will force two incumbents of another party to run against each other, while creating safer districts for their members.

Other big states gaining population this time include Florida, which could get one or two new seats in the House.

“That second seat is kinda iffy,” said Brace, who has run the numbers repeatedly, and says Florida is “on the bubble.”

Also getting another seat in the South should be Georgia, and maybe both Carolinas.

One surprise may be out West, where California will not be expanding its Congressional delegation – in fact, it may shrink.

“California had been gaining seats for a number of years, eight seats one decade, seven seats another,” said Brace.

“Now for the very first time, we may see California not only not gaining a seat, but maybe losing a seat.”

Back East, the focus is also on losing seats, and Ohio might be hit hardest.

“All indications are it would be losing two seats,” said Brace.  

Oddly enough, that might hurt the Republicans more, because the GOP advantage in the Ohio delegation will be very strong next year, though the GOP will be in charge of the legislature and redistricting.

Also expected to lose a seat is Pennsylvania and New York could lose one or two.

Not only does this change the makeup of Congress, but it also means fewer Electoral Votes in key battleground states that have tended to swing to the Democrats, as more of the nation’s population heads to the Sun Belt.

Texas would be a good example – it’s a state that Democrats have not won in years.

We’ll see what the figures show us today.

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