Now that the 2010 election is beyond us, the focus turns to redistricting.
On Tuesday, the United States Census will release its statewide data, and we will have a first look at how the boundaries are really going to shift and how many seats Florida will add. I am pretty confident we will get two new seats. A few months back, I took a look at where those might land.
It will take sometime to get all of the data to look how growth trends will impact down the ballot, but in the meantime, the annual census population estimates provide some indication of internal growth trends and how it might impact district boundaries.
This post will look primarily at State House seats, though if you want to predict how State Senate seat apportionment will change, remember, when they are all re-drawn, the State Senate seats will be exactly 3x as large as State House seats.
Remarkably, most of the state will see little change. For example, growth in the Palm Beach County media market has been almost spot on with statewide growth, meaning that based on the 2009 population estimates, the market would gain a whole 0.04 state house seats.
The most significant changes will occur in Southeast Florida and in Central Florida, with the latter gaining seats from the former. Given that the Miami market has grown slower than the rest of the state, with the Orlando media market growing much faster, the Orlando area stands to gain about 1.5 seats, while Miami/Fort Lauderdale will lose close to two.
As a whole the winners/losers look like this:
Winners (by media market):
Orlando: plus 1.41 seats
Fort Myers: plus 0.58 seats
Losers (by market):
Miami: minus 1.61 seats
Pensacola: minus 0.27 seats
The state’s other six media markets will see only fractional changes. However, that doesn’t mean significant changes won’t occur within those areas.
For example, within the Jacksonville media market, the growth has been mostly in the south, meaning Duval County as a whole will lose a fraction of a seat, which will end up helping my old hometown of St. Johns County, which will gain a larger share of the region’s districts.
Or in Palm Beach media market, which has seen its population shift northward, both into northern Palm Beach County, but specifically into St. Lucie County.
But the most significant intra-market population shifts will occur in the Tampa media market, which will be home to roughly 28 seats after redistricting, virtually the same as prior to redistricting. However, as one of only two counties that has lost residents since the last redistricting, Pinellas County stands to lose an entire state house seat, earning the distinction as the county that will see the most significant change to their representation. I am guessing to make up the difference in Pinellas, what is now the John Legg seat in Pasco will bascially go away, and the current HD 45 will become a largely West Pasco based seat.
On the flip side, Pasco, Hernando and Polk County have all seen population growth, meaning the Pinellas seat will likely be replaced by a new district that is further north and east (paging former Representative Littlefield), as House Redistricting Chairman Will Weatherford sees his district significantly shrink due to the remarkable population growth that his area has experienced.
And speaking of Will, he is going to be faced with another interesting dilemma. More than likely, one of the hopefully two new Congressional seats will end up with a pretty significant population base in east Pasco and north Hillsborough County, a district that could look pretty appealing to the Speaker-Designate. Ahh, to have choices!
As this moves forward, I'll try to use this blog to analyze what is out there and what it could mean. In the meantime, always feel free to share your thoughts.