Minnesota could lose Congressional seat in 2012

For Minnesota political junkies, this is an old assumption. Our slow population growth in Minnesota could cause us to lose a Congressional seat after the 2010 census. This would mean a contentious redistricting battle that puts increased importance on who controls the legislature and governor’s office in coming years, especially after the 2010 election.

For the hyper attuned, means this year’s presidential race will have a domino effect on whether it’s Republicans or Democrats who lose a Congressional seat in 2012. New presidents generally cause their party to lose seats in Congress during their first midterm, which has a similar effect on state legislatures. Thus, if we have a Democrat in office after 2008, DFLers might face the loss of the State House and/or Senate in 2010. Or, if a Republican is elected president, the opposite might occur. Perhaps that’s too much spice in the gumbo, as conventional trends have been changing lately. Naturally, Democrats will have a chance of keeping the works if they do fairly in the 2008 election and manage to win something, anything, under the Pawlenty administration.

OK, blah blah, back to the prospect of losing a seat. The question is whether the northern Minnesota seats are combined creating a massive northern district that runs about 50/50 DFL/Republican. That would be the GOP preference. The Republicans would also like to see St. Paul’s 4th and Minneapolis’s 5th districts combined, consolidating DFL strongholds and creating more conservative suburban districts. The DFL would like to see the suburbs mixed with solid DFL zones to give them more leverage in the fastest growing parts of the state. In truth, there are fewer and fewer good ways to divide the state as well over half our population lives in a crazy donut shaped area around St. Paul and Minneapolis.

State could lose House seat after 2010, estimates show

Minnesota’s population is growing, but not as much as many other states.
The result may be seven congressional districts in 2012.

Star Tribune, December 28, 2007

WASHINGTON – The latest estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau confirm that Minnesota could lose a congressional seat in 2010.

Minnesota is still gaining population, but barely. Meanwhile, Sun Belt states such as Florida continue to grow rapidly, staking a claim on increased representation in Congress.

Although the current estimates show Minnesota on the cusp of losing a seat, its fate won’t be decided until the Census Bureau releases hard numbers from its 2010 survey late that year. State demographer Tom Gillaspy said Washington and Minnesota have virtually identical populations.

“If you extrapolate last year’s growth rate out to 2010 it’s basically a dead heat between Minnesota and Washington,” Gillaspy said. “It still looks like we’re just below the cutoff point, but it looks pretty close. It’s certainly within the margin of error of estimates.”

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