Big gains for Republicans in reapportionment of congressional seats

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010 at 12:01 pm

The Census Bureau announced the results of the decennial process of reapportioning congressional districts by state Tuesday morning, and Republicans stand to gain from the results based on growth patterns in the South and West.

The Census apportions congressional districts every ten years, while state legislatures are generally in charge of redrawing the districts based on those apportionments. The population of the United States is now 308,745,538, and each congressional district will average 710,767 persons.

Texas, where Republicans have a supermajority in the House and Senate and hold the governor’s mansion, gained four new House seats with the population growing by 20.6 percent in ten years. However, the growth broken down by race will be released in February — the Voting Rights Act could mean that some of those seats have to be drawn with a majority of Hispanics that have accounted for much of the recent growth.

Florida gained two seats, where Republicans also have a supermajority in both legislative chambers and hold the governor’s mansion. Amendment 6, limiting the power of the legislature to redraw congressional districts, passed in the November elections, but it is being challenged in court by Reps. Corrine Brown (D-Fla.) and Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.)

Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, South Carolina, Utah and Washington all gained one seat.

New York and Ohio lost two seats each, representing the longstanding decline in growth in the Rust Belt. Iowa, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Jersey and Pennsylvania all lost one seat.

The reapportionment process will also have implications for the 2012 presidential campaign, as the Electoral College is based on the number of congressional districts in each state. In 2008, Barack Obama beat John McCain by 365 electoral votes to 173. With today’s reapportionment, McCain would have picked up six seats and Obama would have lost five.

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