The greater Pacific Northwest
The greater Pacific Northwest (NPI artwork)

The greater Pacif­ic North­west (Wash­ing­ton, Ore­gon, Ida­ho, Mon­tana, Alas­ka) appears poised to gain two seats in the Unit­ed States House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives fol­low­ing redis­trict­ing in 2021, accord­ing to a new analy­sis pub­lished yes­ter­day by Elec­tion Data Ser­vices, which fol­lowed this report from the Unit­ed States Cen­sus.

EDS assess­es that Ore­gon and Mon­tana will each gain one seat in the House, while Wash­ing­ton, Ida­ho, and Alas­ka will con­tin­ue to have the same num­ber of seats they have today (ten, two, and the bare min­i­mum of one, respectively.)

If the fore­cast is cor­rect, Ore­gon would gain a sixth seat, while Mon­tana would regain the sec­ond seat that it lost fol­low­ing the 1990 cen­sus and redistricting.

“Using any method­ol­o­gy, the pop­u­la­tion pro­jec­tions points toward a ten (10) seat change over sev­en­teen states across the nation by year 2020,” the firm wrote.

“States that will gain sin­gle seats include Ari­zona, Col­orado, Mon­tana, North Car­oli­na, and Ore­gon, while Flori­da is set to gain two con­gres­sion­al dis­tricts and Texas would gain three seats,” the report projects.

“Sin­gle seat loss­es will again occur in the Mid­west and North­east sec­tions of the nation, where Alaba­ma, Cal­i­for­nia, Illi­nois, Michi­gan, Min­neso­ta, New York, Ohio, Penn­syl­va­nia, Rhode Island, and West Vir­ginia would each lose a seat. All oth­er states would keep the same num­ber of rep­re­sen­ta­tives they were award­ed in Decem­ber 2010 when the offi­cial 2010 Cen­sus num­bers were released.”

Here’s the same infor­ma­tion in table form:

States Gain­ing Dis­tricts (7)

Ari­zona +1 (from 9 to 10)
Col­orado +1 (from 7 to 8)
Flori­da +2 (from 27 to 29)
Mon­tana +1 (from at-large to 2)
North Car­oli­na +1 (from 13 to 14)
Ore­gon +1 (from 5 to 6)
Texas +3 (from 36 to 39)

States Los­ing Dis­tricts (10)

Alaba­ma ‑1 (from 7 to 6)
Cal­i­for­nia ‑1 (from 53 to 52)
Illi­nois ‑1 (from 18 to 17)
Michi­gan ‑1 (from 14 to 13)
Min­neso­ta ‑1 (from 8 to 7)
New York ‑1 (from 27 to 26)
Ohio ‑1 (from 16 to 15)
Penn­syl­va­nia ‑1 (from 18 to 17)
Rhode Island ‑1 (from 2 to 1)
West Vir­ginia ‑1 (from 3 to 2)

The south­west and west­ern regions of the coun­try look like the prospec­tive big win­ners from 2021 redis­trict­ing, at the expense of the Great Lakes and Mid-Atlantic states. Although Cal­i­for­nia is fore­cast to lose a seat, Elec­tion Data Ser­vices says it will stay in the west and go to Montana.

The firm notes that Cal­i­for­nia has nev­er lost a seat from redis­trict­ing since state­hood, so this would be a his­toric change.

Cur­rent­ly, the Pacif­ic North­west has nine­teen seats in Con­gress and twen­ty-nine elec­toral votes. Our region would have a total of twen­ty-one seats in Con­gress begin­ning in Jan­u­ary 2023 and thir­ty-one votes in the Elec­toral Col­lege begin­ning in 2024 if this analy­sis by Elec­tion Data Ser­vices is correct.

The addi­tion of a new dis­trict would sig­nif­i­cant­ly change both Ore­gon and Mon­tana’s rep­re­sen­ta­tion in Con­gress. Ore­gon cur­rent­ly has four dis­tricts locat­ed on the west­ern side of the Cas­cades and one on the east­ern side.

In Ore­gon, redis­trict­ing is han­dled by the Leg­is­la­ture, which retains map-draw­ing pow­ers, while in Mon­tana, it is han­dled by a bipar­ti­san commission.

If Ore­gon gets a sixth dis­trict, there will like­ly be more than one dis­trict span­ning sig­nif­i­cant por­tions of the state’s east­ern regions.

The pos­si­ble result in Ore­gon is two safe Demo­c­ra­t­ic dis­tricts, three dis­tricts that lean Demo­c­ra­t­ic to vary­ing degrees, and one safe Repub­li­can district.

Mean­while, Mon­tana would be split into two for the pur­pos­es of its rep­re­sen­ta­tion in the House, just like Ida­ho is now. Both dis­tricts would like­ly be friend­ly ter­ri­to­ry for Repub­li­cans, but not impos­si­ble for a Demo­c­rat to win.

The results of last year’s midterms demon­strate that a Demo­c­rat can still win a fed­er­al race in the Big Sky State. Mon­tanans opt­ed last year to return Demo­c­ra­t­ic incum­bent Jon Tester to the Unit­ed States Sen­ate against the wish­es of Don­ald Trump, deal­ing him and Mitch McConnell a major loss.

EDS’ full report is avail­able below if you’d like to read more.

EDS analy­sis of 2021 redistricting

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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