Florida gains two House seats, two electoral votes from 2010 censusby George Bennett | December 21st, 2010
Florida will gain two congressional seats and become an even more coveted presidential prize with two additional electoral votes as a result of new census data released today.
Florida, which has 25 U.S. House seats now, will have 27 beginning with the 2012 elections. The perennially up-for-grabs Sunshine State will have 29 electoral votes in the 2012 presidential election, up from 27 in 2008.
The 2010 census pegs the U.S. population at 308,745,538 — up 9.7 percent from 2000. Florida’s population is 18,801,310 — a 17.6 percent increase over 2000.
Florida remains the fourth most populous state in the U.S. — trailing California (37.3 million), Texas (25.1 million) and New York (19.4 million).
Florida and New York will both have 27 U.S. House seats. Only California (53) and Texas (36) will have more.
The GOP-controlled Florida legislature will draw new congressional boundaries before the 2012 elections. Republicans will already hold a 19-6 advantage in Florida’s U.S. House delegation when the new Congress takes office next month.
But efforts by Republicans to extend the party’s advantage in congressional redistricting could be complicated by a voter-approved amendment to the state constitution that says boundaries “may not be drawn to favor or disfavor an incumbent or political party” and must be “contiguous” and “compact.”
At the same time, Amendment 6 appears to allow oddly shaped districts drawn to favor black and Hispanic candidates.
Population data within Florida won’t be available until February or March.
Florida was one of eight states to gain House seats and electoral votes. Texas gained four seats and four electoral votes. Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, South Carolina, Utah and Washington all gained one House seat and one electoral vote apiece.
A state’s electoral votes are equal to its number of U.S. House seats, plus its two U.S. Senators.
Ten states lost House seats and electoral votes. The biggest losers were New York and Ohio, losing two apiece. Losing one House seat and one electoral vote apiece were Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
For those doing presidential math, the end result of the apportionment gains and losses is that states carried by Republican John McCain in the 2008 election picked up 6 electoral votes while those carried by Democrat Barack Obama lost 6 electoral votes.
Of the four biggest electoral prizes in presidential races, only Florida has been consistently competitive in recent elections. California and New York have been reliably Democratic and Texas has been safely Republican. Obama carried Florida in 2008 with 51 percent. Republican George W. Bush famously won Florida by 537 votes in 2000 and with 52.1 percent in 2004.