GOP set to make gains in redistricting

The trickle-down affects of the mid-term will help Republicans when it comes to redistricting in between now and the 2012 election:

Based on their gains in state legislatures, governorships and projected population shifts, the Republican Party may start the 2012 cycle in position to expand their House majority by at least 10 seats.

Hotline On Call reported last week that the GOP picked up an eye-popping 680 seats in state legislatures last Tuesday on its way to flipping control of 19 chambers across the country.

But what is more striking is that in the states projected to gain or lose seats after the census this year, the GOP now holds the redistricting “trifecta” — meaning the governorship and both chambers of the state legislature — in the vast majority of them.

This is critically important because these are the states where districts will be most drastically redrawn and, in the states that stand to gain a seat, it virtually guarantees that new district will be drawn with a future Republican member in mind.

Estimates by Election Data Services in late September show that there are eight states projected to gain at least one seat in Congress. Of those eight, the GOP now holds unilateral control of redrawing the district lines in six of them.

Most notably, Texas, which is controlled by a GOP state legislature and governor, is slated to gain four seats. Similarly, Florida is projected to pick up two House seats and Republicans now hold both chambers of the state legislature and the governorship with Republican Rick Scott’s win last Tuesday.

Four other states — Arizona, Georgia, South Carolina and Utah — are also projected to pick up a seat and all four have state governments uniformly controlled by Republicans. Arizona, however, has an independent redistricting commission that is insulated from the political process.

Potentially hurting some efforts of Republicans to draw seats friendly to their party is the Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. This most affects Southern states, including states that are expected to pick seats in Congress. Some of those states may see the courts handle redistricting if an agreement cannot be worked out between the President Barack Obama’s Department of Justictice.

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