Reapportionment Favors the Red States
The congressional delegation is bigger in Texas.
December 21, 2010 - 11:40 am
This is what happens when you’re the fastest growing state with one of the friendliest business climates and the most job-producing economy: People vote with their feet and call you home — call it the Davy Crockett economy. The timing of all this, coming in a census year, makes Texas the big winner in the reapportionment to come.
States gaining Congressional seats: Arizona (1), Florida (2), Georgia (1), Nevada (1), South Carolina (1), Texas (4), Utah (1), Washington (1).
States losing Congressional seats: Illinois (1), Iowa (1), Louisiana (1), Massachusetts (1), Michigan (1), Missouri (1), New Jersey (1), New York (2), Ohio (2), Pennsylvania (1).
The colors denote how each voted in the 2008 presidential election. It’s not hard to detect trends here. The country continues to move toward the south and west. Voters are apparently fleeing more than the cold; the gainers tend to be the more conservative states, with the notable exception of Washington.
When it comes to the Texas redrawing, demography will dictate that at least one of these seats will be drawn in a majority Hispanic region. In past years that might have meant a definite Democratic pickup, but that’s less true after 2010, when voters elected a pair of Hispanic Republicans to Congress, replaced a liberal Democratic Hispanic state Rep. with a conservative Republican one in central Texas, and an elected Democratic state Rep. from the Rio Grande Valley just switched to the GOP. Nueces County also flipped to GOP control in 2010, which scrambles the calculations to some extent. The Texas gains also makes the race for speaker of the state House all the more important, since the House has a vital role to play in the map drawing process, and the current speaker is a bit more Democrat-friendly than his challengers.
The four new seats may also serve as a release valve for all the candidates who are currently jockeying to run for the Senate seat that may be vacated by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison if she chooses to retire at the end of her current term, which expires in 2013. There are currently five or six well-known Republican candidates who are interested in running for that seat; some of them could defect to less crowded House races depending on where the new seats are drawn.
Looking a bit more broadly, most of the gainers are 2008 McCain states, while the losers are Obama states (except LA and MO). I won’t belabor the obvious. The new maps are unhelpful to Obama and the Democrats since the net Electoral College change tilts toward Republicans.