Missouri will likely lose a House seat according to a new estimate based on 2010 Census data. The loss will significantly affect Missouri’s overall impact on national issues; the state
would will lose an electoral college vote, for instance, and each district would will be somewhat larger, permitting less representative granularity. The most immediate impact, however, would will be the shape of Missouri’s House delegation. The process of reapportionment should be especially interesting given that Missouri has a Democratic governor and a Republican controlled legislature, a situation that is likely to persist for awhile at least.
In April, Nathaniel90 at the Swing State Project offered a speculative map showing how Missouri’s political environment, coupled with the loss of a House seat, might affect reapportionment. I found myself, as a current resident in Rep. Akin’s 2nd district, very interested the first point he made:
The real question for me was which districts to combine. With power balanced between the parties, it was obvious that one Republican and one Democrat had to face off in a “fair fight” district, leading to an obvious solution: a suburban St. Louis seat forcing Todd Akin (R) and Russ Carnahan (D) together. […] the legislature won’t draw anything too friendly for Carnahan’s south-of-the-city base, and that Gov. Nixon would balk at a map too heavy in Akin’s northern suburbs.
Were this to happen, it could give us at least some chance of finally getting rid of the egregious embarrassment that is Todd Akin. It also puts Carnahan’s Democratic seat at risk (assuming that Carnahan holds it this November), but it might be worth it. I am one of the few who believes that if the Missouri Democratic party had been willing to put more energy into Akin’s district over the past few years, he would be a lot more vulnerable right now, even without redistricting. A new competitive district might be just the ticket.
The second biggie that Nathaniel90 struggled with is the outlook for Ike Skelton’s rather strange 4th district:
The other problem in Missouri was what to do with Ike Skelton’s (D) heavily Republican district spanning the rural areas between Kansas City and Columbia. I figured that a bipartisan plan means incumbent protection, and the Democrats know Skelton will be 81 when the 113th Congress convenes and is not far from retirement. I thus drew a swing district stretching from the close-in Kansas City suburbs to college town Columbia that would not only easily reelect Skelton, but provide a future Dem with a decent shot at holding the 4th District.
Nathaniel90’s final conclusion about the best of all possible outcomes (note the emphasis on “possible”):
So there would be four safe Republican seats, two safe Democratic seats, and two swing seats (one of them safe for an incumbent Democrat as long as he chooses to run). Believe it or not, this is probably the closest thing to a Dem-friendly map one could get from today’s Missouri legislature.
I don’t have the experience or background with Missouri’s political map that would allow me to comment knowledgeably about the overall state picture. Does anyone think the situation will roll out differently?