The much-awaited results of the 2020 Census are slated to be released next week to finally begin the decennial period of Congressional redistricting, according to a report.
The results, which will partially decide what the makeup of sessions will look like for the next ten years, will have an immediate effect on 2022 House races, as some states risk losing seats while other states will see gains in their respective congressional delegations.
Former President Donald Trump last year ordered the Census Bureau not to include immigrants here illegally in the nationwide headcount, but that order was challenged in court.
In a win for Democrats, the case was not resolved by the U.S. Supreme Court by the time Trump left office.
President Joe Biden announced in January that illegal immigrants would be included in the Census — and their numbers would apply during apportionment. Republicans, however, at the state level won a series of victories for redistricting in November when they secured key state legislatures — denying Democrats an opportunity to redraw districts in places such as Arizona, Texas, New Hampshire and Florida.
States which have seen large swaths of people exit in recent years have mostly been Democrat-majority states, such as California and New York. Likewise, states which have gained the most people are expected to be GOP-run states, such as Texas and Florida.
Politico, in an expansive breakdown of each state’s projected gains and losses, noted that Republicans could be positioned for some major redistricting success as the process begins, while apportionment is sure to be contentious in the coming months as Democrats will fight it out.
While Census results are generally released for apportionment in December of a Census year, the coronavirus pandemic and Trump’s challenge to illegal immigrants being counted are two factors that are being blamed on a late April arrival of the numbers.
In any event, the numbers are set to be released, and those styling the data closely project their results to be a net win for Republicans.
“Strategists in both parties agree Republicans have the advantage. The Midwest and Rust Belt aren’t growing as fast as the Sun Belt, and the congressional districts will be reallocated accordingly,” noted Politico’s Ally Mutnick.
“States like Florida, Texas, Arizona and North Carolina will see their delegations grow, while Michigan, Pennsylvania and Illinois shrink. That’s a net benefit to the GOP because Democrats have struggled to increase their statewide footprint in many of the places that are gaining representation.”
Politico noted that California, the country’s most populous state, has failed to gain a House seat since the 2000 Census. The state might be poised to actually lose one seat this coming year.
“California is more likely than not losing a district, a product of its slowed population growth in recent years,” Mutnick speculated.
“The state failed to gain a seat for the first time after the 2010 census, when it held steady at 53 seats. Now it’s probably dipping to 52.”
The Politico reporter made a similar projection for New York, which might be in a face-off with Alabama in the coming realignment.
“New York is almost certainly losing one seat, but if it edges out Alabama for the final allocated district, it could avoid losing a second. If Alabama gets it, its delegation will hold steady at seven seats,” Mutnick reported.
“If Alabama is the loser, the state’s Republican delegation will shrink because the only Democratic district, held by Rep. Terri Sewell, is protected by the Voting Rights Act. Because GOP Rep. Mo Brooks has already announced he will vacate his northern Alabama seat for a Senate run, the GOP legislature in Montgomery could protect every remaining incumbent.”
The Politico reporter noted that Illinois is expected to shed one, as is Minnesota. Texas and Florida, GOP-majority states which have become destinations for migration, could see their delegations “swell.”
Montana, which currently holds a single House seat, could also gain a second seat at the expense of one of Rhode Island’s two seats.
While red states which gained people might have control of the redistricting process, blue-state Republicans will also be in for fights to hold their seats. As Politico noted, the year is likely to be “chaotic,” but Republicans are in a more favorable position right now than Democrats heading into 2022.
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