On December 23 the U.S. Census Bureau released its last state population estimates before the 2010 census. Swing State Project highlighted this report by Election Data Services containing six different projections for how Congressional reapportionment will play out after the 2010 census is complete. DavidNYC posted charts showing expected gains and losses for various states in all six Election Data Services scenarios as well as in one projection by Polidata.
Sadly for Iowans, we stand to lose one Congressional district under all projections. So do our neighbors Minnesota and Illinois, although Minnesota is close to the edge and may hold on to all its seats depending on the real census numbers. Missouri, which was long expected to lose one of its districts, now appears be holding steady.
The projections reveal how hard the current recession has hit many sun belt states that boomed during the earlier part of this decade. California is no longer projected to gain any Congressional districts, for the first time since 1850, according to Charles Lemos, and the state might even end up losing a district. North Carolina won’t add a district, and Arizona and Florida will likely gain only one rather than two districts, as seemed probable a couple of years ago. Meanwhile, New York will lose only one district rather than two.
The final census numbers could hold a surprise or two, but Iowans will have to manage with only four representatives in the House. The redrawn third district is going to determine whether Iowa retains three House Democrats or has to settle for 2 Democrats and 2 Republicans. Like John Deeth, I worry about our chances running Leonard Boswell against Tom Latham if the new IA-03 includes Story County.
Bleeding Heartland user ragbrai08 wrote a great piece in March reviewing the work of the 2001 redistricting commission and analyzing three possible maps of Iowa carved into four districts.
Guest poster possumtracker1991 took us to an alternate reality in which Iowa has politicized redistricting here. It’s an absurdly gerrymandered map showing how four Democratic-leaning districts could be created in Iowa if we didn’t have a non-partisan commission leading the process.