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The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

Reapportionment Bites Obama and the Democrats, Hard



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The new Congressional reapportionment numbers are out.

States gaining Congressional seats: Arizona (1), Florida (2), Georgia (1), Nevada (1), South Carolina (1), Texas (4), Utah (1), Washington (1).

States losing Congressional seats: Illinois (1), Iowa (1), Louisiana (1), Massachusetts (1), Michigan (1), Missouri (1), New Jersey (1), New York (2), Ohio (2), Pennsylvania (1).

You’ll notice John McCain won six five of the eight states gaining seats.

You’ll notice Barack Obama won eight of the ten states losing seats.

Regarding the redistricting in these states, there are a few points to mitigate GOP giddiness: 1) Some Republicans in somewhat safe seats will want to expand their cushion, and thus some district lines will not be drawn to maximize the total partisan gain. 2) When a person moves from, say, California, to Arizona or Nevada, they don’t always vote in line with the locals. In other words, when Democrats move from heavily-Democrat states to more Republican states, they sometimes turn red states purple. 3) People move over the course of the decade (sometimes in great numbers, like post-Katrina Louisiana) and their views change, so the impact of redistricting lessens over time.

Quick reactions:

  • The surge in Republican support, and GOP control of Florida and Texas is well-timed. They could or should take at least five of the six new seats.
  • Already there’s speculation that New Jersey mapmakers will target newly-elected Republican Jon Runyan.
  • There’s no way Massachusetts lawmakers can avoid pitting two Democrats against each other in a primary; their state’s delegation is all-Democrat. (Mike Memoli observes this is incentive for one of the current incumbents to run against Republican Scott Brown in the 2012 Senate race.)

UPDATE: If my math is correct, this moves six seats (and electoral votes) from Obama states to McCain states.

McCain states gain 8 seats (AZ, GA, SC, TX, UT) and lose 2 seats (LA, MO); Obama states gain 4 seats (FL, NV, WA) and lose 10 (IL, IA, MA, MI, NJ, NY, OH, PA).

Of course, there are a couple of states Obama won in 2008 that will probably be tough climbs in 2012, and Florida appears to be one of them.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Assume, for the sake of argument, that the 2012 Republican nominee wins a quartet of traditionally GOP-leaning states that Obama won in 2008: Virginia (13 electoral votes), Indiana (11 electoral votes), North Carolina (15 electoral votes) and Florida (now 29 electoral votes). Add in the one electoral vote in Nebraska that Obama won by 1.1 percent. Add in the six net votes from the 2008 McCain states, and that puts the Republican at 248 electoral votes, needing another 22.

Those 22 votes could be won in a variety of ways, but the most likely scenario would appear to be Ohio (18 electoral votes) and any other state (Iowa, New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada, New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania).


Tags: Barack Obama , John McCain , Reapportionment


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