New Data Predict More House Seats for South and West

Posted December 23, 2008 at 12:57pm

Congress might see some new faces from the Southern and Western regions of the country in 2012, according to new data projections for the reapportionment of House seats set to take effect that year.

Election Data Services released data Monday showing that states such as Texas, Arizona and Florida are on track to gain at least one House seat when redistricting takes place after the 2010 census. States in the Northeast and Midwest are expected to lose House seats.

The shifted map is based on short-term, mid-term and long-term projections, though it will be unclear just how House seats will be redistributed until after 2010 census. In fact, the data have shifted from Election Data Services’ 2006 estimates.

Texas is on track to gain four new House seats instead of three, according to the updated data projections. Arizona is expected to gain two House seats because of population growth in the state, while Florida will likely gain at least one House seat in 2012.

Oregon, Utah, Nevada, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina are all projected to gain a Congressional seat after reapportionment.

And for the first time in history, California could lose one of its 53 House seats, Election Data Services predicts.

Population loss in the Rust Belt is expected to hit the Midwest Congressional delegations, with many of those states likely to lose at least one seat.

The Buckeye State will likely get the worst of it: In all of Election Data Services’ projection models, Ohio is on track to lose two Congressional districts for the 2012 election cycle.

Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Michigan, Illinois, Missouri, Iowa and Minnesota are expected to lose a House district. Louisiana is also set to lose one Congressional seat, most likely as a result of population loss following Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

But while New York was slated to lose two House districts in previous data projections, the Empire State is now expected to lose only one House seat as a result of redistricting.

Each state has its own process of redrawing the Congressional district lines based on population shifts — a process that often turns into a war of partisan gerrymandering. How each state redraws its own Congressional lines in 2011 could determine whether Democrats or Republicans gain seats in the following year’s election.