Reapportionment Estimates for 2020

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

In looking for population projections to put in my spreadsheets I came across Election Data Services and their projection for reapportionment in 2020. Their analysis of who will gain or lose seats is wonderfully in depth using both current population and projections to 2020.

Colorado has definitely cinched an 8th seat. At two years ago it was still somewhat in question, but we have both passed Minnesota in population and we are projected to keep gaining population at a rate through 2020 that may have us passing up Wisconsin. Even if reapportionment were done today we would definitely gain a seat.

The likely winners in this zero sum game:
Arizona +1
Florida +2
Montana +1
North Carolina +1
Oregon +1
Texas +3

The likely losers:
Alabama -1
Illinois -1
Michigan -1
New York -2
Ohio -1
Pennsylvania -1
Rhode Island -1
West Virginia -1

Two other states are still in flux and it is impossible to say if they will gain or lose seats.

California- Possibly will lose one seat, but may stay even at 53. This would be the first time in history that California has lost a congressional seat in reapportionment.
Minnesota- Currently the counterbalance to California. If California stays even they lose a seat going down to 7. If Minnesota stays even at 8 seats then California loses a seat.

About DENependent

Independent voter interested in the analysis of the "whys" of politics. Resident of Denver, Coloradan since 1980.

35 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. mamajama55 says:

    Assuming everyone’s right about Colorado gaining a House seat, what is the process and timeline for determining its  boundaries? Will the newly formed redistricting commission (mandated by voters passing Y and Z in 2018) work on it now or wait for results from 2020 census?  

    The way I read the Y amendment, the new commission can’t work on redistricting prior to the 2020 census. So does the present redistricting committee ( 11 people picked by legislators, gov,and Chief Justice)  draw the district? 

    Or between now and 2020 census results being released, is the political action all about choosing the 12 person redistrictors?

    • Davie says:

      Based on the history with CD-7, CD-8 will apparently use the 2020 census data, thus the reapportionment committee should also operate under the rules of Amendment Y.

      The first district election will be held in 2022.

      • Voyageur says:

        And the taller Coffman will sweep magnificently into office, right Moddy?


        where is that shill when you need somebody to say something stoopid?

      • DENependent says:

        The 2010 Census officially released its data to the states for use in drawing districts in December 2010. When we had a partisan commission they took their preliminary maps on the road for public meetings in about May of 2011.

        So we can expect the commission to start work around January 2021 if things go to plan and there are no big court cases about the validity of the census.

        • RepealAndReplace says:

          The commission appointed by legislative leaders, chief justice and governor only handled state legislative redistricting.

          The General Assembly and governor handled the Congressional redistricting. Which was why it went to court in 1981, 1991, 2001, and 2011. In each of those redistricting years, there was divided state government. The legislature was unable to pass a bill which got the governor's signature.

          • mamajama55 says:

            So how did cd6 end up redistricted in 2010?wasnt Jill Repella’s group involved but they lost that fight?

            • DENependent says:

              The legislature failed to pass a bill and the courts decided between competing maps.

     on what happened:
              "Although the General Assembly introduced several congressional redistricting maps during the 2011 legislative session, none of the plans were enacted.  When the session ended, two lawsuits were filed in Denver District Court to decide the matter.  The cases were consolidated into one under the caption: Moreno et al. v. Gessler, Case No. 11CV3461; consolidated with Case No.: 11CV3463.  On November 10, 2011, the district court ruled in favor of the "Moreno/South" map."

          • DENependent says:

            That is a wrinkle I missed in the last round. The legislative districts were challenged last time too, though. Though the court cases did not come until later in 2011 with the Denver Post reporting on the fall out in December. Violations of not minimizing county splits.

            I was, rather, thinking of the potential court cases around the census itself rather than the later ones about the boundaries. Many states may challenge the data itself due to actual or alleged manipulation of the data by failing to count undocumented immigrants, where overseas persons in the arm forces are placed, students, homeless people, etc. etc. While no cases have delayed the work of redistricting to date in the polarized environment I think it possible.

            • JohnInDenver says:

              There already is a court case which has moved up to the Supreme Court concerning the "citizenship question." There is another, filed by Alabama and Rep. Brooks in federal court, trying to clarify that noncitizens should not be counted (so Alabama won't lose a seat). So, your speculation about data challenges is on solid ground.

              • It is highly unlikely that non-citizens would ever be removed from census numbers for redistricting, given precedent. Far more likely that prison inmates get counted in their former homes rather than in the prison's district, or some gerrymandering ruling comes down IMHO.

                • DENependent says:

                  I would not put it past the current Supreme Court to arbitrarily decide that only legal residents should be counted. Their decisions largely hinge on what best supports the Republican Party. They only pay attention to precedent when it suits their purposes.

  2. ParkHill says:

    One thing to note is that growth has been concentrated in more Urban & Suburban areas, not just in Colorado, but across the country.

    This means that districts trending Democrat have excess population, and districts trailing Republican have too many older and whiter voters. Redistricting will reduce the size & number of Republican seats.

    This explains why Republicans are pushing to base districting population on citizens, not people. Also, jail populations add to the district, without providing voters.

    In Colorado, Denver is up 100,000. Weld & Larimer are up significantly. The districts that includes the Western slope and the Eastern plains have to pick up population from Metro Denver, Ft Collins & Greeley

    • Mike W. says:

      As they are right now, every district has to shrink to accommodate the 8th. The 3rd would have to grow quite a bit if it loses Pueblo, otherwise it would have to shrink quite a bit. As for the 4th, it already relies on the Front Range for most of its population (Weld and Douglas). It probably loses Douglas, where the 8th can anchor, and picks up Pueblo. 

      • notaskinnycook says:

        How does it manage to meander around Dougco to get to Pueblo? That'd be a funny-lookin' critter.

        • Mike W. says:

          By way of the eastern third of our state. It already has to go around the 6th to get to Douglas and it already includes Crowley, Otero, and Las Animas. 

          Hell, right now with Longmont forming the nose and Douglas the chin, the 4th looks like a mouth open wide trying to eat Denver. Its already funny lookin’.

        • mamajama55 says:

          The 5th was created to make certain we always have an EPCO crazy RWNJ like Lamebrain. I think that they redraw it to include Pueblo and make it bluer.

          Alternatively, they chop off the bottom of CD4 and include Pueblo for the 8th district. To Mike W's point, the 4th is already a funny-lookin' critter. So’s the 3rd.

          • Mike W. says:

            El Paso is almost exactly 1/8th of the state, unfortunately. I'd be amazed if it got cracked for the sake of competitiveness, but even if it did it would still be too red to win (you’d need everything south of Woodman to hit your population mark). It likely gets used to justify not cracking Denver as well (1 safe red, 1 safe blue), as the commission needs to 'create as many competitive seats as possible' AFTER drawing for city/county contiguity.

            • DENependent says:

              Weirdly, the 5th gets a bit more blue by being just El Paso. Even though Chaffee County went for Spaulding.

              El Paso results:
              56.46%  155,070 votes Lamborn
              39.87%  109,510 votes Spaulding

              Chaffee, Fremont, Park, and Teller results:
              60.27%  28,932 Lamborn
              36.12%  17,338 Spaulding

              This is not to say that Colorado Springs is suddenly going to be a district where Democrats can win, but it is interesting that even conservative cities tend to be a bit less conservative than the rural areas around them.

      • JohnInDenver says:

        Projected numbers for the Colorado shift are that districts will move from 718,457 in 2010's Census to 711,946 in the 2020 census. So, GEOGRAPHY will need to shrink, but population will be about constant.

        Colorado demographer has a projection that Denver will be 738,611 in 2020. 

        • DENependent says:

          Unless something weird happens I suspect that CD-1 and CD-5 will both be single county districts or have very small corners cut out to be closer to the ideal number.

          El Paso will be 735,176 according to the state demographer.

          Corrected: Arapahoe will also be very close to that magic number at 662,304, but it has lots of internal municipal lines to cut along as do Jefferson, Adams, and Boulder. I suspect that to get the numbers to work suburban counties will have to be cut up primarily along city lines.

          Together Arapahoe, Jefferson, Adams, Broomfield, and Boulder will be about 2,186,058 or about 3 times the ideal district I calculate to be 729,772 using the state 2020 numbers. So three suburban districts and then Larimer and Weld to make up number four. Then Denver, El Paso, and two primarily rural districts. Douglas County ends up being the big population anchor for CD-4. Maybe.

    • DENependent says:

      By checking on if states are allowed to count prisoners as being somewhere other than the prison I learned that Colorado already does!

      Prisoners of the Census FAQ
      "Most states define legal residence as the place that you choose to be until you intend to go somewhere else. Many state constitutions – Arizona, Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New York, Oregon, and Washington – specifically declare that incarceration does not change a residence. Most other states have this definition codified in their statutes."

  3. DENependent says:

    Regarding redistricting: I did a quick spreadsheet using the Colorado State Demographer numbers for 2020.

    Total population: 5,838,179

    Ideal Congressional District: ~729,772

    CD-1 Denver
    738,611  +1.21% (over the ideal)

    CD-2, CD-6, CD-7 Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Jefferson
    2,186,058/3 = 728,686  -0.15%

    CD-3 Chaffee, Custer, Delta, Dolores, Eagle, Fremont, Garfield, Gilpin, Grand, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Jackson, Lake, La Plata, Mesa, Mineral, Moffat, Montezuma, Montrose, Ouray, Park, Pitkin, Rio Blanco, Routt, Saguache, San Juan, San Miguel, Summit, Teller
    729,198  -0.08%

    CD-4 Alamosa, Archuleta, Baca, Bent, Cheyenne, Conejos, Costilla, Crowley, Douglas, Elbert, Huerfano, Kiowa, Kit Carson, Las Animas, Lincoln, Morgan, Otero, Phillips, Prowers, Pueblo, Rio Grande, Sedgwick, Washington, Yuma
    734,376  +0.63%

    CD-5 El Paso
    735,176 +0.74%

    CD-8 Larimer, Weld
    714,760  -2.06%

    Obviously these numbers are speculative and it is not the only way to split up the state, but it does give an idea of how much population is where for redistricting. The most out of line with the ideal are my CD-1 and CD-8, so if being closer to the idea number is critical a bit of Denver can be sliced off to add to the three suburban CDs while Boulder or Adams give up a cross border town to the new CD-8.

    • ParkHill says:

      That's a good approach, and it makes it very apparent how certain, large counties serve as anchors for the districts. It also shows the decreasing relevance of the low-population counties, and the importance of Urban & Suburban counties – bad news for Republicans.

      In your list, I see the Republicans winning CO-3, CO-4, and CO-5. Democrats win  all the others, although CO-8 could be competitive. Ft Collins is not as liberal as Boulder, and Weld is fairly conservative. Not sure about the huge new population in Southern Weld, which is basically Denver suburbs – drive  'till you  can afford.

      If you sort your spreadsheet by district & county-population, then it's easier to see where the bigger population centers are.

      • DENependent says:

        Almost 80% of the states population is projected to live in just 9 counties (79.28% to be precise). The 10th is Pueblo and 11th is Mesa.

        All the plains counties together, including Pueblo only will make about half a district in terms of population without the suburban people in Weld.

        Also, the state demographer is projecting Hinsdale to lose its position as the smallest county by population. Oh what a strange time we live in!


    • ParkHill says:

      What if the Supreme Court declares Gerrymandering for political purposes constitutional?

      The interesting thing in Colorado is that it would be hard to make the delegation much different from 5 Dems and 3 Reps. Denver & El Paso contain heavy concentrations of D and R, but if you were to split Denver, you just make the ring of suburban districts more blue.

      CO-3. Grand Junction + Ski-towns. The Western slope concentrates a shared-interest population based mostly on tourism, so possibly an environmentally-friendly, outdoorsy message can unify enough Democratic votes to give a Dem win; Pueblo taken away, but ski-towns added.

      CO-4. Pueblo & Douglas County. The South suburbs have traditionally been fairly conservative, but maybe Douglas is one of those suburban districts where educated White women will turn hard against the Republicans. Pueblo is something of a sacrificial Democratic County, but it hasn't grown like the rest of the state.

  4. mamajama55 says:

    It will be interesting to compare this post (and diary and comments) to the eventual reality.

    I'd be happy to get Pueblo included in CD4 – It could help us to "Give Buck the Boot". For Puebloans, not much difference between Buck (CD4)  and Tipton (CD3) in terms of policy. Buck's more open about being a right wing extremist, while Tipton coats it all with a thick layer of smarminess. He's like the love child of Cory Gardner and Howdy Doody.

    Prowers County gave us such luminaries as Judy Reyher, and of course Pueblo has its own collection of right wing whack jobs like Becky Mizel and Victor Head. I doubt that Pueblo powerhouse Dems like Bo Ortiz, Daneya Esgar, Leroy Garcia (new majority leader) would change districts unless they got some advantage from it.

    Consolidating eastern Colorado corridor into one district would also consolidate most of the renewable wind and solar development – that would be interesting.

    Especially if Weld / Larimer was its own district as you suggest – the oily boyz would have to concentrate on keeping their precious fracking going next to the dormitories and the old folks homes and the preschools, but those are also university towns, and they would fight back. Hard.

    Yes, I kind of like your evil plan. Happy New Year!


    • DENependent says:

      Happy New Year to you as well. I will also be interested to see if I got close on anything but CD 1 and 5.

      Part of my thinking was to just keep my estimates simple because these numbers are so speculative two years out.

      Then I added and subtracted Denver suburban counties until I had something close to an even number of districts.

      The next part was that Weld and Larimer seem like a natural pair. Both a suburban rural mix, close to partisan balance, and trouble to fit into the suburban districts or to combine with the rural ones given how they have grown.

      Then it was simply a matter of where to draw the line between east and west. The partisan balance would be 4/4 using this map.

      My partisan estimate based on the 2018 congressional results are:
      CD-1  78.18%    18.69%
      CD-3  43.39%    51.79%
      CD-4  40.47%    57.36%
      CD-5  39.87%    56.46%
      CD-8  45.88%    50.44%
      Suburban 3  60.11%    36.07%

      So, if anything this back of the envelope speculation favors Republicans. Pueblo simply is not that large and is not a Democratic as you think. Also, Democrats are disadvantaged by Denver by quite a bit since it is so much more Democratic than any county with a significant population.

      In order to have competitive districts Douglas, Larimer, and Weld need to be included in the suburban mix with bits sliced off for CD-3 or CD-4.

      • ParkHill says:

        These percentages don't add up to 100%. Did 3rd party candidates take up 5% in CO-8 – Larimer & Weld and 17% in the Western slope? Were these County-by-County vote totals?

        • DENependent says:

          Yes. I did not bother adding up the third party percentages, but I wanted to have them in there instead of pretending they do not exist or potentially have in impact in close races. If any of my calculations showed a close to even split they would have been useful for speculative purposes.


      • JohnInDenver says:

        2018 Congressional results are, in my opinion, a bit of a skew. Unaffiliated broke hard to the Democrats — my guess is the skew is based on the Trump ick factor overall (complicated by the "defend our President" drum beat in traditional R areas), Stapleton having little to say, and partisan incumbency lock. 

        I'm not certain how to drain off those single race issues — maybe average percentages of the last two Senatorial contests, looking at one win for each Party?

        And will you be applying for one of the redistricting slots in the new apportionment board?


    • ParkHill says:

      The fly in your balm is that Douglas county will dominate the new CO-4.

      On the other hand, the Republican Party has basically collapsed into Racists, Evangelicals and Coal/Oil industry. In Colorado, do you see ANY Republicans winning the Primary who aren't RWNJs? Then, in the General do you see RWNJs having much of a chance against an un-flawed Democrat?

      Like I said earlier, Fort Collins is only moderately liberal (plus extremely White), but the more conservative half of the city fits the profile of suburban anti-Trumpists.

  5. notaskinnycook says:

    I stumbled across this in my “politics” file from earlier this last year.

    • DENependent says:

      I remember the 538 competitive district maps.

      I do not know about the rest of the county, but I know in Colorado that map would be called a gerrymander by Republicans. The way it can get to making the maximum number of competitive districts is by its own version of packing and cracking. Put any highly Republican counties from the eastern plains and put them in with careful slices of Colorado Springs and Douglass County since they cannot be easily paired up with Denver.

      Compare it to the Democratic gerrymander. A very similar very Republican district shows up in both. The difference is in intent.

      My own effort is a bit like the making districts compact while following county borders. Which does have the problem of ignoring geographic ties, which I think my humble effort does not (as much).

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