Reapportionment could fuel House battles


The census is coming up, and after the government gets a count of how many Americans are on hand in the year 2010, and figures out where they live, there will be repercussions in Congress in the form of seats gained and seats taken away.

States that gain in Congress will have room for brand new members of Congress. With no incumbent stifling new entrants, the possibility of a free-for-all presents itself, with perhaps a number of candidates spending on media to get their name out there.

States that lose representation will often find two incumbents facing one another, both with fund-raising experience and no desire to leave Washington prematurely, leading to a possible media spending spree.

The party that has the upper hand in the state government will usually have final say in how new congressional district boundaries are drawn, and the age old process of gerrymandering will certainly come into play. When two incumbents come face-to-face, for example, it is a sure bet that the state party in power will see to it that they are two members of the other party.

Redrawing of congressional districts may happen in states where the congressional delegation remains the same size, of course. These efforts could encourage or discourage advertising, depending on whether the new boundaries aid or challenge an incumbent.

Congressional Quarterly has provided projections of where the state gains and losses will be.

Eight states figure to be in the plus column, led by Texas, which figures to pick up four seats; and Arizona, which figures to get two. Projected to add single seats are Oregon, Nevada, Utah, Georgia, South Carolina and Florida.

Only one state is looking at losing more than one seat, and that’s Ohio, which is projected to be down two. Ten states are facing the loss of one seat, including Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Louisiana.

RBR-TVBR-observation: The population movement is clearly toward red states and away from blue. Still, since both parties will be working to minimize their losses and maximize their opportunities, it remains to be seen how reapportionment will affect the balance of power in the House in Washington.

However, each new district, whether created by addition or subtraction, is prime territory for the achievement of battleground status, whether it manifests in the primary, the general election or both.