RALEIGH – As expected, population growth captured in the 2020 census has earned North Carolina an additional seat in congress.
The Old North State is one of six gaining representation in congress as a result of the census. Texas gained two seats, and Colorado, Florida, Montana, and Oregon each added one a piece. On the other side of the ledger, population decreases in California, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia resulted in each of those states losing one seat in congress.
It is worth noting that the gains seem to be trending toward relatively conservative states like Texas, Florida, Montana, North Carolina(?) while bastions of Leftism like California, New York, and Illinois suffer an exodus. The migration trend is so notable from California to Texas that it’s become a meme and weighs on local politics. Similarly, the contrast between politics in high versus low interstate growth areas in North Carolina, deepening blue pools overflowing into a sea of red, shows the dual nature of such trends here too.
While the extra apportionment is confirmed by the census, deciding exactly who (and where) the extra district involves the much larger and uncertain ordeal of redistricting altogether, as required by the census.
Recent history shows just how much of a circus the politics around redistricting in general can become, with too many ‘Sue til Blue’ court cases and redraws to mention over the last decade, but the extra seat in North Carolina will be roughly predicated on where that population growth has occurred. That likely means an additional seat nestled among population hot spots in the Piedmont, and with R vs D breakdowns depending entirely on which redistricting track gains favor (or avoids lawsuits).
Either way, one more seat in congress is only as good as the representative elected to cast the votes. In that context, the extra seat means extra political contest in what is already shaping up to be a doozy of an election season.