The majority of the districts that will need to be consolidated during reapportionment are in Florida and Texas.
In the approaching reapportionment, Texas and Florida received additional congressional seats as a result of population expansions during the past ten years, but new data from the Census Bureau released this month reveals exactly where the growth was.
The eight congressional districts with the largest increases in population during the past ten years were all located in Texas or Florida, primarily in the areas surrounding expanding cities like Dallas, Houston, and Orlando. The final two districts in the top ten were South Carolina and Utah.
Republicans control all but one of those districts, and as the last decade progressed, many of them found themselves in more challenging contests as a result of those population changes.
But now that they have the chance, both states’ Republican legislators can redraft the state maps. Florida will get one additional congressional district, while Texas will add two more. House members like Troy Nehls (R-Texas), whose district is south of Houston, or Michael McCaul (R-Texas), whose district runs from the Houston suburbs west to Austin, would see their constituency decrease since mapmakers must create each district to have the same overall population.
These Republican incumbents are likely to find their new, smaller districts to be more friendly than their previous seats since line-drawers are trying to shore up support for the party’s present members in both states, where the GOP controls the process.
While this is going on, in a place like South Carolina, where freshmen GOP mapmakers are likely to move some Democratic-leaning areas to other, slower-growing districts that will need to have higher populations under the new lines. Republican Rep. Nancy Mace’s Charleston-area seat has increased over the previous ten years.
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