WASHINGTON, DC (LOOTPRESS) – What many were concerned would happen was confirmed Monday when the US Census announced congressional reapportionment.
As a result, West Virginia will lose a congressman, going from the present three House of Representative members to two.
The change will take effect with the 2022 election.
In the meantime, it will be up to the state legislature to configure the two new districts as well as the state House of Delegates and State Senate.
The House has already approved legislation that mandates single-member districts. That means districts like Cabell County’s 16th and Kanawha’s multi-member districts will be carved up.
National political organizations, like FiveThirtyEight, have looked at which states gained seats in the House and which ones, such as West Virginia, lost.
“In total, five states will gain one House seat each starting with the 2022 elections — and Texas even added two. But for every seat these states gained, another state had to lose one — and indeed, seven states lost one congressional district each,” the political commentary observed.
States in the Midwest and Northeast generally lost seats because of population declines while those in the West and South grew.
California and West Virginia are obvious exceptions to that trend with both losing one seat.
“With legislatures and commissions all over the country about to draw new congressional maps, states where Republicans have full control of the redistricting process added two seats on the net (four seats gained, two lost). Meanwhile, the few states where Democrats wield the redistricting pen subtracted one seat on the net (one gained, two lost). States with independent redistricting commissions or where the two parties share redistricting power also lost a net of one seat (two gained, three lost),” FiveThirtyEight reported.
“As a result, we can now say with finality that Republicans will control the redrawing of 187 congressional districts (43 percent) — or 2.5 times as many as Democrats (who will redraw 75 districts or 17 percent). There are also 167 districts (38 percent) where neither party will enjoy exclusive control over redistricting (either because of independent commissions or split partisan control). And, of course, there are six districts (1 percent) that won’t need to be drawn at all (because they are at-large districts that cover their entire state),” they added.
Texas actually gained two House seats while Florida, North Carolina, Colorado, Montana, and Oregon picked up one each.
California, whose growth rate has slowed, loses a seat for the first time ever. Other losers, besides West Virginia, are New York, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.
FiveThirtyEight speculated about West Virginia.
“Lastly, we know for sure that Republicans will be the ones to lose a seat in West Virginia. All three current members of Congress from the Mountain State belong to the GOP, so at least one out of Reps. David McKinley, Alex Mooney, or Carol Miller will not be in the next Congress. Expect a lot of intrigue surrounding how, exactly, the seat is redrawn — and perhaps a rare incumbent-vs.-incumbent primary election.”
There has been a great deal of speculation about redistricting. It seems the obvious choices are just two: divide the state east to west or north to south. In either case, it seems incumbents McKinley and Mooney would face each other. Miller would likely be alone in either the west or south.
But strange things are known to happen when politicians make decisions. It might, for example, be possible to configure a western district that somehow pits McKinley and Miller.
That said, Republican party insiders have said from the beginning that, of the three incumbents, the party would prefer to lose Mooney. Thus, a simple slice of the state would likely accomplish that goal. McKinley would be favored to defeat Mooney.
Meanwhile, legislative redistricting of the legislature will be controlled for the first time in nearly 90 years by Republicans.
Already holding a supermajority in both houses, the GOP will try to designate districts where their candidates can win.