Texas Adds 2 Congressional Seats, 4M People – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

The rapid growth in Texas over the past decade is paying off with a significant increase in political clout – two additional congressional seats and electoral votes that deepen the already massive influence on the nation’s politics.

New figures released by the US Census Bureau on Monday confirm the relentless population boom in America’s largest red state. As of 2010, Texas has gained nearly 4 million residents – more than any other state in sheer numbers.

In perspective, that’s roughly the entire population of neighboring Oklahoma.
Today more than 29 million people live here, second only to California with almost 40 million inhabitants. Texas has seen double-digit percentage growth and increased Congressional representation for 80 years. This follows the trend with its southern neighbors, the region with the greatest growth of over 10 percent.

The constitutionally required 10-year census determines, among other things, how the specified number of seats in the US House of Representatives and presidential elections are allocated. 2020 data was released after months of delays and a staff census during the coronavirus pandemic, severe hurricane and forest fire season, and amid civil unrest.

Texas will now have 38 members of Congress – more seats than any other state – and 40 votes on the electoral college.

Political tensions are expected to increase as the state becomes less white and more urban. Demographic Democrats usually find this cheap. Even so, the Republicans have managed to keep the state’s political power firmly under control.
They will also be responsible for redistributing once a decade once the more detailed community-level census data is released in late summer, and are expected to create gerrymandered legislative and congressional districts to keep them in power.

“We will encourage our activists across the state to participate in this process at all levels of government,” said Rose Clouston, director of electoral protection for the Texas Democrats. “From state legislation that will draw our congressional and legislative maps to our local city council and county commissions that will draw maps for their own districts.”

While the new census report does not include demographic data, it is estimated that Texan demographer Lloyd Potter shows that rural areas continue to decline in population while metropolitan areas like Houston, Dallas and Austin continue to grow. Hispanics make up the largest percentage of the growth, Potter said, pushing them closer to a large number of the general population.

Half of the population growth in Texas comes from births, which helps the state maintain a young median age, Potter said. Another important factor was the continued influx of people from other countries and states, particularly from California. Census Bureau demographers said that Texas population growth was about 1 percent lower than expected in 2020, resulting in one less congressional seat than state researchers predicted, but they were confident in the statistics.

That may sound good to Democrats, said Joshua Blank, director of research for the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas at Austin, but it’s no guarantee that newcomers will automatically adjust to their party. Democrats need to figure out how to capitalize on the state’s demographic change, he said.

The Democrats’ last chance – the November election – was a bust. The Republicans continued their more than two decades of control over statewide offices, retained power in both houses of the legislature, and kept Texas in the profit column for former President Donald Trump despite its possible loss to Joe Biden.

What the Texas Democrats are hoping to mobilize the party is the GOP-led campaign to tighten US electoral law. In Texas, these efforts are aimed at banning drive-through and 24-hour polling stations and criminalizing unsolicited absentee voting. All of these were options that election officials in Houston – the largest Democratic stronghold in Texas – used or planned last fall to expand access to elections during the pandemic.

Allen West, Texas GOP chairman, said in a statement that his party “will await the confirmed census results and will continue to deliver our message of economic growth, prosperity, individual freedom and rights, quality education, small business entrepreneurship and security.” “.

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