Seven new seats have been announced in Congress following the 2020 Census. Conservatives states picked up five of the seats, while Democrat-led states picked up two.
Texas scored the biggest win with two new seats. North Carolina, Florida and Montana gained one seat.
Among traditionally Democrat states, Oregon and Colorado each gained one seat.
The change of seats also meant seven states lost a seat. California, Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Pennsylvania, New York and West Virginia all decreased by one seat in the House.
In addition to a shift to red states, power has increasingly shifted to southern and mountain states. Four seats shift south, while two were added to the mountain states of Montana and Colorado. The shift also shows a move away from northeastern areas, such as New York and Pennsylvania.
The changes also highlight the number of people leaving blue states. In California, 135,600 more people left the state than moved there in 2020. New York’s population fell by fell by 126,355 between July 2019 and July 2020.
What can we take away from the changes in Congress? Most importantly, traditionally conservative states will have a greater opportunity to influence the nation as they picked up the most new seats.
Second, population growth over the past decade has been stronger in red states. Some of the explanation relates to geography, as Florida and Texas have warmer climates. However, politics is certainly a factor. Whether immigration, gun rights, limited government or other issues, conservative states have more often led in ways that have attracted new residents.
The question will be whether the shift will continue. Two concerns stand out. First, will conservative states remain conservative as more blue states residents join them? Florida, for example, has enjoyed conservative leadership, but high population growth from the northeast and immigrant populations could shift the political percentages.
Second, to what degree will the federal government override gains in conservative led states? A current battle looms along the nation’s southern border. Texas remains fiercely independent and largely Republican. However, the Biden administration’s policies have led to a spike in immigrants and a need to fend for themselves.
The same has started to take place in Arizona. The governor recently sent the state’s National Guard troops to protect the southern border. Even Arizona’s two Democrat senators have written to the Biden administration to urge them to reimburse the state’s expenses to protect residents from illegal immigrants.
Despite the changes, 31 states remained at the same level of Congress members. For the 7 states that have gained/lost seats the most important thing to watch is how the new districts are drawn. That will have the biggest effect on national elections. The good news for Republican voters is that in most of the states where seats were gained, Republicans control the state government who is in charge of redrawing district lines.
For example, redrawn lines in California could easily lead to a couple of new Republican House members in 2022. In the current 219 to 212 thin lead by Democrats, it will not take much to remove Democrats from being the majority rulers. My bet is that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will be out after the 2022 election and will likely retire for good from Congress.
Bye Bye Nancy!