This morning, the Census Bureau unveiled state population counts from the 2010 Census and accompanying Congressional reapportionment scheme. Washington grew enough – up 14.1 percent from 2000 – to pick up another Congressional seat and the clout that comes with it. The state’s population stands at 6,724,540, with the addition of 830,419 people during the decade.
We are one of eight states in the West and South to pick up seats. Texas gained the most – four seats – and Florida gained two. Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, South Carolina and Utah also gained one seat each. Of note: For the first time since 1920 California did not gain any seats.
States losing seats were mostly in the Northeast and Rustbelt. New York and Ohio each lost two seats, while Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey and Pennsylvania lost one seat each.
The Fix (Washington Post blog) points out that most of the gaining states are red.
Five of the eight states that are gaining seats were won by McCain in the 2008 presidential race. Eight of the 10 that are losing seats went to Obama.
Minnesota just made the cut for the last seat (No. 435), and will keep all eight of its districts, while North Carolina fell about 15,000 people short of gaining a 14th seat.
Republicans, whose 2010 gains make them dominant in the upcoming round of drawing new district lines, will control the redistricting process in eight of the states mentioned above, while Democrats control it in just two. That’s important, because states that lose or gain seats generally see the biggest changes.
In Washington, redistricting is done by an independent Redistricting Commission, which includes two Democrats, two Republicans and a chairman chosen by those four members. Once more localized numbers are available, the commission will begin the process of redrawing the map. It’s expected that the new district will be centered around Olympia, as Les Blumenthal reported this week.
Here’s an interactive graphic the Census Bureau created.
Read on for reaction to the numbers:
Gov. Chris Gregoire’s statement:
“This is great news for Washington state! At a critical time in our nation’s history, not only do I welcome the additional representation in our nation’s Capitol, I am pleased Washington state’s share of federal funding to support critical programs like Medicaid and education will also increase.
“I’m proud of the work of our citizens – many worked tirelessly to ensure Washingtonians were counted, and because of their effort, our state’s mail back participation exceeded the national average. Their effort is an important part in ensuring democracy and representation.
“Congratulations to federal Department of Commerce Secretary Gary Locke for the successful completion of this important project. I look forward to the work of the state’s Redistricting Commission, which is now tasked with redrawing congressional and legislative district boundaries. I’m pleased in Washington we have a bipartisan commission to handle this challenging undertaking.”
State GOP chairman Luke Esser’s statement:
“This is an exciting time for Washington residents and for the Washington State Republican Party. An additional congressional seat gives our state the opportunity to send another voice to Congress to advocate for limited and fiscally conservative federal government. This year our state helped to fire Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House by electing Jaime Herrera to Congress and by re-electing Doc Hastings, Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Dave Reichert. With a new congressional seat we can make even more progress for our nation. We won’t know exactly where the new congressional seat will be located for some time. But wherever it is located, we look forward to electing a Republican to represent the new 10th Congressional District in 2012.”