Wednesday, November 03, 2010

GOP Resurgence Coincides With Redistricting

The GOP could not have picked a better time for them to regain control of the House and thrive at the state level in many parts of the country.

2010 saw the decennial census. Redistricting follows.
The party will control 25 Legislatures, including Ohio, North Carolina, and Minnesota, boosting their power in statehouses by the most since 1928, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Republicans won the House and Senate in Alabama for the first time since the end of the Civil War. They took governors’ seats from Democrats in Michigan, Pennsylvania and at least nine other states.

Fifteen to 25 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives are more likely to remain Republican or switch from Democratic after redistricting as a result of the party’s victory in the states, said Ed Gillespie, chairman of the Republican State Leadership Committee.

“We’re going to end up protecting a lot as opposed to carving new ones,” Gillespie said in a conference call with reporters.

Congressional seats will be reapportioned following the 2010 U.S. census. States with shrinking populations will lose seats, and those with growing ones will gain them. The party that draws the election map in each state will shape the political landscape for the next 10 years.

Redistricting Process

In 38 states, governors and state legislators play a determining role in the redistricting process, according to the Republican leadership committee.
Population figures come in December, which means that legislatures will begin the contentious task of creating new legislative districts for Congress and local districts. That's a monumental task, and it also means that in those states that have seen a loss of seats, politicians forced to the sidelines or otherwise forced into political campaigns against other incumbents as seats are merged.

That means that we'll see plenty of the usual gerrymandering of districts to protect incumbents where possible, but it also means that some states will see additional representation while others continue shedding representatives.

New York falls into that latter category, along with New Jersey.

This is an instance where elections have consequences for not just the immediate satisfaction, but long term changes to the political system.

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