Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


How Much Will 2012 Reapportionment Reduce Minnesota’s Political Influence?

Bookmark and Share

About a year ago Smart Politics examined the political impact of Iowa losing a seat in the U.S. House, as it is projected to do after the 2012 reapportionment. State Demographer Tom Gillaspy recently projected Minnesota is also on track to lose a seat.

Should this occur, the impact on the political influence of the Gopher State and the Upper Midwest generally is quite stark upon examining the historical trend.

If Minnesota loses a seat, they will send the fewest members to the U.S. House since the 1890s. But that doesn’t tell the entire story, as in the 52nd Congress (1891-1893) there were only 332 Representatives in D.C. At that time, Minnesota, at 7 Representatives, thus held 2.1 percent of House seats. In 2012, with 435 voting members of the lower chamber, Minnesota would only account for 1.6 percent of House seats.

Therefore, you would have to go back to the 1880s, when the Gopher State sent just 5 members to the U.S. House (1.5 percent of the 325 seats), to find an era when Minnesota had less influence on policymaking in the lower chamber - at least from a sheer numbers game (Collin Peterson and Jim Oberstar’s Committee Chairmanships help alleviate that problem in the short term; Oberstar, however, is at risk of retiring each election cycle).

Upon examining the influence of the region generally – Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota – the projected 19 members sent to the House in 2012 would be the lowest since the 1860s, when the region had 14 U.S. Representatives.

However, the number of Representatives in the House ranged from 183 to 243 members during the 1860s. At its lowest percentage, the three state region accounted for 5.8 percent of Representatives that decade (in the 41st Congress, 1869-1871). That is still larger than the 4.4 percent a 19-member Minnesota-Iowa-Wisconsin delegation would account for in 2012.

In short, the 2012 reapportionment will likely find the three battleground states in the Upper Midwest at its lowest proportional representation in the U.S. House since the 1850s.

And, as the number of Representatives declines, so will the number of allocated Electoral College votes. If this population trend is not halted, how much attention will presidential candidates pay to Minnesota and its neighbors in 2012, 2016, and 2020?

Previous post: Live Blog: Fair Elections in Minnesota
Next post: Upper Midwestern Reapportionment, Part II: A Historical Overview

Leave a comment


Remains of the Data

Which States Have the Longest and Shortest Election Day Voting Hours?

Residents in some North Dakota towns have less than half as many hours to cast their ballots as those in New York State.

Political Crumbs

No 100-Year Curse for Roberts

Defeating his Tea Party primary challenger Milton Wolf with just 48.1 percent of the vote, Pat Roberts narrowly escaped becoming the first elected U.S. Senator from Kansas to lose a renomination bid in 100 years. The last - and so far only - elected U.S. Senator to lose a Kansas primary was one-term Republican Joseph Bristow in 1914. Bristow was defeated by former U.S. Senator Charles Curtis who went on to win three terms before becoming Herbert Hoover's running mate in 1928. Only one other U.S. Senator from the Sunflower State has lost a primary since the passage of the 17th Amendment: Sheila Frahm in 1996. Frahm was appointed to fill Bob Dole's seat earlier that year and finished 13.2 points behind Sam Brownback in the three-candidate primary field. Overall, incumbent senators from Kansas have won 29 times against two defeats in the direct vote era. (Curtis also lost a primary in 1912 to Walter Stubbs, one year before the nation moved to direct elections).


The Second Time Around

Former Republican Congressman Bob Beauprez became the seventh major party or second place gubernatorial candidate in Colorado to get a second chance at the office when he narrowly won his party's nomination last month. Two of the previous six candidates were successful. Democrat Alva Adams lost his first gubernatorial bid to Benjamin Eaton in 1884, but was victorious two years later against William Meyer. Democrat Charles Johnson placed third in 1894 behind Republican Albert McIntyre and Populist incumbent Governor David Waite but returned as the Fusion (Democrat/Populist) nominee in 1898 and defeated GOPer Henry Wolcott. Gubernatorial candidates who received a second chance but lost both general elections include Democrat Thomas Patterson (1888, 1914), Progressive Edward Costigan (1912, 1914), Republican Donald Brotzman (1954, 1956), and Republican David Strickland (1978, 1986).


more POLITICAL CRUMBS

Humphrey School Sites
CSPG
Humphrey New Media Hub

Issues />

<div id=
Abortion
Afghanistan
Budget and taxes
Campaign finances
Crime and punishment
Economy and jobs
Education
Energy
Environment
Foreign affairs
Gender
Health
Housing
Ideology
Immigration
Iraq
Media
Military
Partisanship
Race and ethnicity
Reapportionment
Redistricting
Religion
Sexuality
Sports
Terrorism
Third parties
Transportation
Voting