Redistricting

Redistricting

Democratic redistricting fight looms in Mass.

The loss of a House seat in Massachusetts will likely pit Democrat against Democrat in the fight to redraw the state's district lines next year. 

The Boston Herald looks at some of the options for Democrats in the state and finds members already staking out their ground ahead of 2011.

The path for Massachusetts Dems could be eased given a retirement or a run for higher office from within the ranks of the state's delegation — the latter being a real possibility given that Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) is on the ballot in 2012. From the Herald story:

If none depart of their own accord, two current members may be forced to compete for the same turf in 2012, with the loser getting thrown off the all-Democrat island.

“It’s a disappointment,’’ said Representative Niki Tsongas of Lowell. “We all held out hope that this would not be the case.’’

...

Several members of the Massachusetts delegation yesterday would not say whether they intend to run for reelection to their seats.

Among them was Representative Barney Frank of Newton, who declined to be interviewed through a spokesman. When approached for comment outside the House chamber, Frank responded, “Nine is less than 10.’’ Then, when asked whether he will retire, he replied, “I won’t discuss elections for another several weeks.’’

In the western part of the state, which is currently divided into two districts, Representative John Olver of Amherst has already announced his intention to seek reelection, while Representative Richard Neal of Springfield extolled the virtues of having two seats in Western Massachusetts.

The most likely member of the delegation to opt for a Senate run against Brown in 2012 is Rep. Michael Capuano (D-Mass.), but he declined to indicate Tuesday whether or not the loss of a House seat for the state might impact his plans or when he might decide on a Senate run. 

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Census numbers could mean fewer electoral votes for Obama in 2012

President Obama could get fewer electoral votes in 2012 based on the newly released census numbers.

In two years, if the president were to win all of the states he won in 2008, and using the numbers from Tuesday's census data, it would translate to six fewer electoral votes for the Democrat. 

The shift of six electoral votes is obviously meaningless in the context of 2008, when Obama won by 192 electoral votes. But in a close contest, as in the 2000 race between George W. Bush and Al Gore, it could make for a decisive margin.  

Five of the eight states gaining House seats in Tuesday's census announcement were won by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz. ) in 2008 — Texas, Georgia, South Carolina, Arizona and Utah.  

Texas will have four additional electoral votes, shifting from 34 to 38 in 2012, while Georgia, South Carolina, Arizona, and Utah are each gaining a single electoral vote. 

Three of the states gaining seats were won by Obama in '08 — Florida, Nevada and Washington.

But of the 10 states that are losing House seats, Obama won eight in 2008.

Democrats pushed back quickly Tuesday on the new apportionment numbers, arguing they are far from a disaster for the party's prospects in the House or nationally in 2012.

They point to significant growth in the populations of traditional Democratic constituencies, particularly in Texas, which will gain four seats.

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Census reapportionment numbers out next week

The reapportionment of House seats will be announced on Dec. 21, the Census Bureau has announced.

The bureau is set to release its first set of 2010 census data at a press conference at the National Press Club that morning.

The numbers will include the resident population for the country, and broken down by state, as well as the congressional apportionment totals for each state.

These numbers are eagerly anticipated because each state will redraw its congressional boundaries based on the census reapportionment numbers.

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Video: Reapportionment explained (updated)

Got questions about the reapportionment process? The U.S. Census Bureau has released an animated video to answer them. It's no “Schoolhouse Rock,” but it does run through the equation for dividing up the House's 435 seats.

It doesn't, however, explain redistricting, which is a state-specific process that begins next year. Each state will redraw their congressional boundaries based on the Census reapportionment numbers, which will be released before the end of the month.


(h/t Swing State Project)

--Updated at 5:17 p.m.

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U.S. population could top 313 million in 2010 Census

Immigration might have swelled the U.S. population to 313 million people, according to a new estimate. And that could increase the political importance of states like Florida.

The Sunshine State is more likely to pick up at least two House seats if the high end of the new Census estimate is accurate.

The estimate, based on a review of birth and death records and a projection of new immigrants as of April 1, puts the country's population at 310 million to 312.7 million, according to The Associated Press.

Those numbers are based on high immigration estimates. Projections based on a low rate of immigration start some five million people lower.

In the 2000 Census, the population was pegged at 281.4 million.

According to the new projections, Hispanics are one of the fastest growing segments of the population, a trend that is likely to continue. The group accounted for 22 to 25 percent of all the growth in the country's youth population in the last decade. Without Hispanics, the number of young people in America would have declined.

"The U.S. population is becoming more diverse from youngest to oldest and Hispanics are the driving force behind this youth diversity," Kenneth Johnson, a University of New Hampshire professor, told the AP.

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