The Census Bureau has announced the 18 states that have gained or lost House seats and electoral votes due to the 2010 Census now completed. According to Phil Klein of the Ameircan Spectator, these are:
Arizona +1, Florida +2, Georgia +1, Nevada +1, South Carolina +1, Texas +4, Utah +1, Washington +1
Illinois -1, Iowa -1, Louisiana -1, Massachusetts -1, Michigan -1, Missouri -1, New Jersey -1, New York -2, Ohio -2, Pennsylvania -1
It will now be up to the various state legislatures to carve up new congressional districts to accommodate either the gain or the loss of House seats. This is where politics gets interesting and will affect the makeup of Congress and the outcome of presidential elections for at least the next decade.
Of the states that gained House seats, all but Washington State have Republican governors. Of the states that lost House seats, all but Massachusetts, Missouri, and New York have Republican governors. Republicans also control many of the state legislatures in the states that will now be engaged in redistricting.
The revised electoral map gets really interesting for presidential races. Had the 2008 presidential election taken place with the new map, states that President Obama won tended to lose electoral votes. States that John McCain won tended to gain electoral votes. The outcome of the election would have remained the same, but now any Republican candidate has a lower threshold to surmount to topple the President in 2012.
Reapportionment is often a politically contentious process. Not only are the number of House seats and electoral votes each state has at stake, but also how federal money is distributed. A loss of population in a census means a loss of federal money, placing that much more pressure on state budgets, particularly in blue states such as New York, which have been unstingy in spending money.
Redistricting is also fraught with both legal and political peril. State governments do not have absolute discretion to draw House districts. The Voting Rights Act compels no dilution of the voting strength of ethnic minorities. That will likely mean more Hispanic majority districts in states like Arizona and Texas, which have seen a growth in Hispanic populations and a corresponding increase in political strength for Hispanics. This in turn will sharpen issues of concern to Hispanics, such as illegal immigration.
The process will lead to wrenching situations in which sitting members of Congress will be forced to run against one another after having been packed into a single district. But it will also open up opportunities, in Texas and Florida especially, for ambitious politicians who might want to be elected to the House and serve their constituents in Washington.
Source: Census Announces List of States’ Congressional Seat Gains/Losses, Philip Klein, American Spectator, December 21st, 2010