Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Today's Word is... Reapportionment (UPDATED: We're Down One)
Today is the day when we will find out if Illinois will lose one congressional seat due to national population shifts. There are exactly 435 Congressmen, and each Congressional district is made up of approximately 600,000 people. Thus, every 10 years, districts are redrawn according to the census to reflect such population changes. The last time this happened in 2000, two incumbents (Dem. David Phelps and GOPer John Shimkus) got thrown together and Shimkus won, leaving Phelps out on the street. Something similar may happen this time around, if in fact Illinois loses a seat, which seems likely, but is not certain.
Thus, all the polticos in Illinois are holding their breath today waiting to find out if we lose a congressional seat. THEN the knives will come out.
I've heard more predictions about what might/should/can/will happen with respect to the redrawing of the boundaries of the Congressional districts, since the state Dems control the redistricting process, than I really care to go into. Charlie Cook looks at one scenario here.
Republicans have the most to lose, not simply because the Dems control the map, but because they gained the most in the recent election. Dems would love to weaken new Congresscritters like Bob Dold and Joe Walsh, or perhaps force them into the same district to run together, but I've not heard a lot of emphasis on combining the 8th and 10th Districts. The eyes of the powers-that-be appear to be looking mostly elsewhere. And, of course, although we find out today whether we in fact lose a seat, the actual map will not be released for some time yet, and then it's time to release the lawyers, no doubt. This will all be lotsa fun, kids.
UPDATED: It's now official - we've lost a seat. Let the games begin.