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Census changes mean Kucinich may be muscled out of House

By Daniel Tencer
Tuesday, December 21, 2010 19:04 EDT
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One of Congress’ highest-profile progressive voices is at risk of losing his House seat following the Census Bureau’s announcement of changes to House seat apportionment.

The Census Bureau announced this week that Ohio will lose two of its 18 House seats. Local news sources say that puts Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) at risk of losing the seat he has held for 14 years.

That’s because the Ohio General Assembly is now dominated by Republicans, meaning the legislature will likely target Democrat-held districts when the time comes to eliminate two House seats.

Kucinich’s 10th congressional district is a prime candidate for elimination because it’s located in the Cleveland area, which has lost population, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.

WKYC suggests that Kucinich’s district could be unified with the neighboring district held by Rep. Betty Sutton, a Democrat, setting up a showdown between two Democrats in 2012.

“I don’t have any control over this process, so I’m not going to worry about it,” Kucinich, a leading voice against the Iraq war in the House, told the Plain Dealer Monday.

The Plain Dealer reports:

Republicans, who took over five Ohio congressional seats in November’s election, want to maximize the number of seats they retain by making the newly won districts more Republican. They must be careful how they divide Democratic districts, because putting Democratic voters into a Republican-held district makes it less Republican. When their new members are sworn in this January, Republicans will control 13 of Ohio’s 18 current seats.

“There is only so much territory to divide up, and it has to be done rather precisely,” says Steve Fought, a longtime aide to Toledo Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur. “If they get greedy and try to eliminate more than one Democratic member, they run the risk of failing to bolster the new members who are most vulnerable….”

Ohio’s population grew 1.6 percent — to around 11.5 million — since the previous census, but that was not enough to keep pace with faster-growing states in the south and west. On top of losing two House seats, the state will also lose two of its 20 electoral college votes.

The Canton Repository notes this is the least House representation that Ohio has had since 1832.

The Census Bureau’s reapportionment is bad news for Democrats as a whole. With Democratic-leaning states like New York and Pennsylvania losing seats and electoral votes to Republican-leaning states like Texas and Georgia, the political math for controlling Congress and the White House becomes more difficult for Democrats.

 
 
 
 
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