Ohio's Redistricting News
(January 18, 2002-June 26, 2001)





 Columbus Dispatch: "Redistricting compromise reached." January 18, 2002 
 Cincinnati Enquirer: "NAACP shares redistricting idea." January 15, 2002 
 Columbus Dispatch: "Redistricting Dance Proves Wearisome, Embarrassing for GOP." January 13, 2002 
 Columbus Dispatch: "Redistricting Plan Would Divvy Up Traficant�s Turf." January 12, 2002 
 Columbus Dispatch: "Lawmakers Share Goal of Avoiding Separate Primaries." January 10, 2002 
 Columbus Dispatch: "Redistricting on Fast Track: Under fire for possible 2nd primary." January 9, 2002 
 Roll Call: "Between the Lines." January 7, 2002
 Cleveland Plain Dealer: "Suit Says Ohio's Redistricting Plan is Unfair to Black Voters." October 27, 2001 
 Cleveland Plain Dealer: "Court Says N. Olmsted Precinct Shifts Can Wait." October 25, 2001 
 Cincinnati Enquirer: "District Changes Benefit Suburbs." October 24, 2001 
 Columbus Dispatch: "State Board Approves Plan for New Legislative Districts." October 2, 2001
 Cincinnati Post: "Ohio May Help GOP Retain House." September 3, 2001
 Associated Press:  "GOP counting on Ohio to help cushion a close midterm election."  September 2, 2001
 Dayton Daily News:  "Group seeks to change redistricting: Drive under way to put issue on ballot in fall." July 30, 2001 
 Dayton Daily News:  "Census results to force shuffling of House seats." July 30, 2001
 Roll Call:  "Between the Lines (excerpt)." May 21, 2001
 Cincinnati Post: "Editorial: The waltz of the Census." December 30, 2000
 Cincinnati Post:  "Editorial: The coming shape of the House." June 26, 2000

More Recent Redistricing News from Ohio



Columbus Dispatch
Redistricting compromise reached
By lee Leonard
January 18, 2002

State legislative leaders have settled, at least for the moment, a squabble over Democratic congressional territory, paving the way for districts to be realigned in time for the May 7 primary.

The new map, drawn by majority Republicans, would divide Franklin County into three congressional districts for the first time. Its quick enactment, expected next week, would preclude the need for two primaries, in May and August.

An agreement reached late yesterday was inserted into House Bill 471 last night. Republicans on the Ohio House State Government Committee quickly voted it out without discussion, 8-4, over Democratic objections.

Putting the bill on track for a Tuesday House vote means the new districts -- 18 instead of the current 19 because of population changes -- can be ready in time for the Feb. 21 deadline for candidates to file nominating petitions.

Crucial to the settlement was an exchange of territory in Summit County between the districts of Democratic Reps. Tom Sawyer of Akron and Sherrod Brown of Lorain.

The agreement, if it holds, means minority Democrats probably will provide enough votes to give the bill emergency status, so it won't have to wait 90 days to become law. Otherwise, a special August primary for congressional candidates will be required, costing the state $7.3 million.

House Speaker Larry Householder, R-Glenford, said he is confident the agreement will hold.

Senate Minority Leader Leigh E. Herington, D-Ravenna, said Democrats probably will provide the votes needed by the Republicans, who lack the necessary two-thirds majority to pass an emergency by seven votes in the House and one in the Senate.

"I told them I would give them a vote,'' Herington said. "One vote, maybe two. We really felt that (GOP legislative leaders) at all times dealt in good faith with us. They did what they said they would do.''

Householder said he was promised 14 Democratic votes in the House by Minority Leader Dean E. DePiero, D-Parma. That would make up for what the Republicans lack and cover for some GOP members who oppose the new alignment.

DePiero had a slightly different take. "We're not thrilled with the map that's out there,'' he said. "I'm going to talk with my caucus. We might be able to provide votes for the emergency.''

DePiero said Sawyer and Brown were satisfied after Sawyer's new 17th District received two predominantly Democratic wards in southeastern Akron previously assigned to Brown, and yielded about 40,000 people in more Republican-leaning Cuyahoga Falls to Brown's 13th District.

"That strengthens the Akron base of Sawyer's district,'' said House Majority Whip James P. Trakas, R-Independence, who helped draw the map.

Herington said Sawyer still would have 40 percent of Akron, balancing his new territory in the Youngstown area -- the result of the Republicans' elimination of the district of Rep. James A. Traficant Jr., D-Youngstown.

But Herington said Sawyer still is upset that Summit County will be divided. "The city of Akron should never have been broken up,'' he said.

Democratic Reps. Anthony A. Latell Jr. of Girard and Mary Rose Oakar of Cleveland were upset that Republicans would not provide them with electronic copies of the data used to prepare the map.

The Democrats spent about 45 minutes privately examining the Republican plan, but threw up their hands in despair, saying they could not offer any amendments because they did not have the demographic data.

"They changed two wards in Akron and it took them 12 hours, and they're going to give us one hour?'' said an incredulous Latell. Republicans and their technical personnel worked from before 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. to nail down the latest changes.

Republicans said Democrats had access to the demographic data and in fact made their own map, which was rejected.

The new map, if all incumbents are re-elected, would bring Rep. David L. Hobson of Springfield into Franklin County for the first time in a 7th District stretching from just outside Dayton to Perry County.

Hobson would join fellow Republican Reps. Deborah Pryce of the 15th District and Pat Tiberi of the 12th District.

State Rep. Larry L. Flowers, a Canal Winchester Republican, said he's pleased that Hobson would be representing the area because Hobson is on a military construction subcommittee and Rickenbacker Air National Guard Base is in the district.

"I think that's a very positive thing for the entire area,'' Flowers said. "That's nothing against Deborah (Pryce). She's done a good job for us.''

But Lynn Ochsendorf, Democratic president of the Whitehall City Council, was dubious.

"It would make me anxious having a representative who is not familiar with the issues of the first suburbs,'' Ochsendorf said. "There's been enough difficulty bringing our issues to the existing congressman. He (Hobson) is not from the area.''

Ochsendorf said Whitehall has aging streets and utilities, and has nowhere to grow. "We don't have those large areas and big office buildings like they do at Easton,'' she said. "We need help bringing commerce in here. We need computer lines and broadband communication.''

Ochsendorf said it would take time for residents to learn that they have a new congressman. She said 54 percent of Whitehall residents are politically independent.

"This would be a new political flavor that is not necessarily in line with our people.''



Cincinnati Enquirer
NAACP shares redistricting idea
By Mark R. Chellgren
January 15, 2002  

A civil rights group said redistricting could lead to two or three more black legislators if proper attention is paid to minority representation.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People said at least one more majority black district could be created in Jefferson County, along with districts with substantial black populations in Jefferson and Christian counties.  

The NAACP plan was presented Monday to the House State Government Committee, which held the first formal discussion of legislative redistricting.

There are four black members of the 100-member House and one black member in the 38-member Senate. The 2000 census disclosed a black population of about 7.3 percent in Kentucky.  

Samuel Walters, redistricting coordinator for the NAACP, said with majority and plurality districts, there could be as many as seven black House members and one more Senate member.

�The General Assembly does not reflect the faces of Kentucky,� said Jim Wayne, D-Louisville. Mr. Wayne, though, mentioned the relative lack of female legislators, where they make up about 51 percent of the population and just more than one-10th of the legislature � 11 in the House and four in the Senate.  

Mr. Walters acknowledged, however, that the NAACP plan does not take a statewide approach to drawing new districts.

And putting the whole state together has proved difficult.  

�We realize there are some problems that have to be fixed,� House Speaker Jody Richards, D-Bowling Green, told the committee.

Mr. Richards acknowledged there are some districts in the House plan that exceed the guidelines of five percent above or below the ideal population. And the plan splits 26 counties, or three more than the number absolutely necessary.

Mr. Richards acknowledged the likelihood of a court challenge. Ironically, sitting nearby was Rep. Joseph Fischer, R-Fort Thomas, who brought the lawsuit after the redistricting in the 1990 that prompted the court ruling that county splitting should be kept to a minimum. Mr. Fischer is now a state representative.

Mr. Fischer said he has drafted a plan that splits the minimum number of counties, but he said it would not be revealed until later.

Most of the discussion in committee reflected the intense interest in redistricting among lawmakers.  

�Redistricting is not the most political thing up here. It's the most personal thing up here,� said Rep. Joe Barrows, D-Versailles, the Democratic whip.

The redistricting fight is going on at several levels. The bill in the House proposes new boundaries for the Senate and House.

Outside the Capitol, Republican interests have asked the federal courts to take over redistricting of the General Assembly and Congress.


Columbus Dispatch
Redistricting Dance Proves Wearisome, Embarrassing for GOP
By Joe Hallett
January 13, 2002

House Speaker Larry Householder had a pretty good idea why Rep. Robert E. Latta wanted to meet with him on Dec. 18.

"I think Representative Latta has visions of Congress dancing in his head,'' Householder said before ducking into the Bowling Green Republican's office on the 13th floor of the Riffe Center.

Could Latta actually be contemplating another primary campaign against U.S. Rep. Paul Gillmor in northern Ohio's sprawling 5th District? Did he really want to risk reigniting the feud from their bitter congressional showdown in 1988 when Gillmor defeated Latta by 27 votes out of 57,361 cast for the two candidates?

Householder assured later that Latta has no plans to take on Gillmor this year. But Latta did lobby the speaker for a redrawn 5th Congressional District that would be hospitable to his candidacy if Gillmor decides to retire during this decade.

Latta is not alone. By now, the Statehouse's triumvirate -- Householder, Senate President Richard H. Finan and Gov. Bob Taft -- are weary from meetings with congressional-wannabes begging for tailor-made districts. And that includes Ohio's current members of Congress.

More than any other factor, a collision of political ambition and term limits is the reason Statehouse Republicans now are trying to extract themselves from a cockamamie plan to charge taxpayers $7.2 million for an extra primary election this year.

After being whacked by every big-city editorial page in the state and ridiculed by Democrats, the GOP majority wants to drop its plan to hold a special congressional primary election in August, in addition to the regularly scheduled May 7 primary. Instead, a bill will be enacted to hold a single primary later in May or June.

Redistricting should be a happy process for Republicans. By eliminating one of Ohio's 19 congressional districts, they get to shaft at least one of the eight current Democratic members of Congress. At the same time, the GOP can strengthen the districts of its 11 congressional members.

But the task has hardly been gleeful. Contrarily, it has turned into an embarrassment for Republicans, who came up with the two- primary plan after lamely blaming the state budget for impeding their efforts to draw new districts in time for the May 7 primary election.

Eight-year term limits, more than the state budget, are to blame. These days, state lawmakers constantly are scouting their next jobs. As with Latta, visions of Congress dance in their heads. They want districts ready-made for their ascensions. Meanwhile, congressional incumbents constantly angle for districts they can't possibly lose.

Redistricting is a once-every-10-years dance destined to step on toes. Here are some of the reasons it is taking so long:

State Sen. Jay Hottinger of Newark desperately wants to run in southern Ohio's 6th Congressional District but doesn't like the current odds against incumbent Democrat Ted Strickland.

"I don't believe Ted Strickland is beatable today for Congress in his existing district,'' Hottinger said in an interview last month. "If anyone is going to beat him, it's going to have to be in a different district.''

The only way to improve Hottinger's chances is to steal territory from one of three GOP incumbents -- U.S. Reps. Bob Ney of St. Clairsville, David L. Hobson of Springfield or Pat Tiberi of Columbus.

And even though he pooh-poohs a future in Congress, Householder, from Perry County, may want the 6th District reconfigured to improve his chances.

"If he had an interest in that, it would shut down my aspirations immediately,'' Hottinger said. "You can't carve out a district that would be amenable to Speaker Householder and me.''

U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot of Cincinnati must pick up 90,000 residents in the 1st District. The only plausible place to find that many Republican voters is Butler County. But state Sen. Scott R. Nein of Middletown and state Rep. Gary Cates of West Chester consider Butler County their base and neither wants it divided into two districts -- in case either gets an itch for Washington.

Hobson likely will retire sometime this decade. At least four state legislators would like the 7th District carved to their benefit -- Sens. Steve Austria of Beavercreek and Jim Jordan of Urbana, and Reps. Kevin DeWine of Fairborn and Dennis Stapleton of Washington Court House.

If U.S. Rep. Steven C. LaTourette of Madison keeps his pledge to quit Congress after 10 years, his 19th District seat will be open in 2005. A gaggle of Republicans are eyeing a post-LaTourette district, including state Sen. Robert A. Gardner of Madison, and Reps. James P. Trakas of Independence, Jamie Callender of Willowick, Ron Young of Painesville, and Timothy J. Grendell of Chesterland.

U.S. Rep. Sherrod Brown of Lorain -- the Democrat most Republicans want to render district-less -- has an unexpected savior. If the GOP eliminates his district, Brown says he will run for governor. Taft wants to make sure that doesn't happen.

So he has beseeched legislative leaders to craft a redistricting plan "that would allow Sherrod Brown to run for re-election to Congress,'' Householder said.

Taft has visions of a second term dancing in his head.



Columbus Dispatch
Redistricting Plan Would Divvy Up Traficant�s Turf
By Associated Press
January 12, 2002

The congressional district of Democrat James A. Traficant Jr. is divided among other districts on a map that legislative Republicans are drawing for this year's elections, sources said.

Republican and Democratic sources speaking on condition of anonymity said the districts of Reps. Steven LaTourette and Bob Ney, both Republicans, and Democrat Tom Sawyer should get the bulk of the northeast Ohio district.

The sources emphasized the final lines were not set. A bill to set them is to be introduced next week. Legislators hope to pass it by the end of the month.

Sources would not comment on why Traficant's district was targeted.

Traficant is scheduled to go on trial next month on federal charges of corruption. He plans to seek re-election and would have to face an incumbent in the May 7 primary under the map being considered.

Ohio must lose one of its 19 congressional seats because its population did not grow as much as some other states' during the 1990s. Because the GOP-controlled legislature and Republican Gov. Bob Taft must sign off on the new map, a Democrat is certain to be the target.

One Democratic concern is the southern Ohio district represented by Ted Strickland, a Lucasville Democrat. His district likely will be drawn eastward, up the Ohio River, as Ney's district moves to the west, the sources said.

Strickland said he would feel "very, very at home'' in riverside counties. His current district stretches along the river from Portsmouth to Marietta.



Columbus Dispatch
Lawmakers Share Goal of Avoiding Separate Primaries
By Lee Leonard
January 10, 2002

One is better than two, at least when it comes to holding elections in Ohio at $7.3 million a pop.

That seems to be the consensus among elected officials as majority Republicans prepare to reveal their congressional redistricting plan, hoping to pass it in time to avoid a separate congressional primary election.

The Republicans still are not talking about how they will reduce the number of districts from 19 to 18, but they said yesterday they want to do it quickly. House Speaker Larry Householder said he hopes a bill will be ready for consideration next week. The Republicans want to have it enacted by Jan. 24.

With an emergency clause, the bill would allow for a May 7 primary as scheduled. Without one, the primary would be in late June. Failure to pass a redistricting bill this month would probably result in the May 7 primary for state and local candidates and an Aug. 6 primary for congressional candidates.

Republicans are preparing to eliminate a Democratic congressional district, and the Democrats are not eager to provide the votes for emergency status. Republicans forced the emergency by failing to act promptly in 2001 on the remapping. They don't have enough votes in the House or Senate to give bills emergency status.

Householder, R-Glenford, met yesterday with House Minority Leader Dean E. DePiero, D-Parma. DePiero said Democrats want to save taxpayers the expense of two primaries. He said he did not ask Householder for any favors in return for votes for the emergency clause.

"I'm not asking them for anything,'' he said. "I'm asking to see the map and see what it looks like. We'll talk about it after I see the map.''

Householder said he hopes the Democrats will help with the emergency.

And in return?

"They get to see the bill before the bill is introduced,'' he said.

There is speculation that the Republicans will combine two Democratic districts in northeastern Ohio. Heading the list are Reps. Sherrod Brown of Lorain, Tom Sawyer of Akron and Dennis J. Kucinich of Cleveland.

Senate Minority Leader Leigh E. Herington, D-Ravenna, introduced the Democrats' rival bill yesterday. It would merge the districts of Republican Reps. Paul E. Gillmor of Old Fort and Michael G. Oxley of Findlay.

Meanwhile, House Republicans continued subcommittee hearings on a "fallback'' bill that would establish a separate congressional primary in August.

David Kennedy of Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell's office said House Bill 462 would allow "an orderly and fair election'' of congressional nominees. Democrats on the subcommittee said the separate primary could lead to confusion and would be poorly publicized. They also complained about the cost.

"We still have the opportunity, if all the cards fall in place, to have the primary on May 7,'' said Rep. Gary Cates, R- West Chester, the chief sponsor.



Columbus Dispatch
Redistricting on Fast Track: Under fire for possible 2nd primary, GOP gets congressional map ready
By Lee Leonard
January 9, 2002

Stung by criticism about the possibility of two primary elections costing taxpayers an extra $7.3 million, Statehouse Republicans are preparing to pass a congressional redistricting bill quickly to permit a single primary, either in May or June.

Although the GOP bill eliminating one of the 19 Ohio congressional districts is not completed, House Speaker Larry Householder said he hopes to introduce it next week. He said it probably would combine the districts of two Democratic congressmen.

The Glenford Republican said he will meet today with House Minority Leader Dean E. DePiero, D-Parma, to see whether enough Democrats can be persuaded to vote for emergency status for the bill so the May 7 primary can proceed on schedule.

If not, Senate President Richard H. Finan, R- Cincinnati, said a bill could be passed without an emergency clause and signed by Gov. Bob Taft by Jan. 24 in time to allow a single primary in June.

No legislators favor the third alternative: a primary on May 7 for state and county offices and another on Aug. 6 for congressional candidates.

"I think everyone will agree this is a rather unattractive option,'' said Assistant House Speaker Gary Cates, R-West Chester, as he presented House Bill 462 to a House State Government subcommittee. Cates' measure would serve as a "safety net'' in case the first two options go awry.

Republican lawmakers were roasted in the media last week for failing to pass a redistricting bill well before they had to make it an emergency. They said they were preoccupied in late 2001 with filling a projected $1.5 billion deficit in the state budget, and they blamed Democrats for refusing to supply votes for an emergency clause.

It takes a two-thirds vote to give a bill emergency status -- 66 votes in the House and 22 votes in the Senate. Republicans have 59 House members and 21 senators.

Last week, Democratic leaders chided the Republicans for their tardiness but said they are willing to work with the GOP for a single primary. Taft commended the Democratic leaders and asked that they work with their Republican counterparts.

However, none of the four top legislative leaders could say where any compromise might lie in the highly partisan act of carving new congressional boundaries.

DePiero and Senate Minority Leader Leigh E. Herington, D-Ravenna, proposed a Democratic redistricting bill that puts Republican U.S. Reps. Paul E. Gillmor and Michael G. Oxley of northwestern Ohio in the same district, but DePiero conceded it has little chance of passing.

"It's inevitable that a Democratic district probably will be eliminated,'' he said.

Householder said he wants bipartisan action, and DePiero said, "I'm going to do everything I can to agree with him in order to provide votes for an emergency.'' He said Democrats could be persuaded to vote for emergency status if they were given a say in the shape of some Democratic districts.

Because Ohio's population did not keep up with other states, Ohio loses a seat in the U.S. House. That means about 60,000 people must be added to each of the remaining districts to ensure equal representation, Finan said. GOP members of Congress each want the extra Republicans to be added to their districts.

"Everybody wants to make a district better than the one they've got,'' Householder said.

The House subcommittee will meet again today to hear from Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell's office on the effect of two primaries. The panel also will hear the Democrats' redistricting plan, which builds congressional districts on the map for the state legislature.

DePiero and Herington said it makes sense to design the congressional districts -- 5 1/2 times as big as Ohio House districts -- from legislative districts so people can distinguish who represents them in Washington and Columbus.

The Democrats also said that if districts are built around television markets, as theirs are, it would make campaigns less expensive because candidates would have to air ads on only one TV station.

The Democrats were especially proud that they drew a congressional district -- the 15th -- entirely within Franklin County, and that it would be a district heavily influenced by the black population. Franklin County now has two U.S. representatives, and their districts both extend outside the county.



Roll Call
Between the Lines
By Chris Cillizza
January 7, 2002

Buckeye Brawl. Unable to agree on a map before the state's Feb. 21 filing deadline for this year's House races, the GOP-controlled Ohio Legislature has proposed a bill that would postpone the state's Congressional primary until August.

The bill would keep the May 7 primary date for state elections but would move back the federal primary to Aug. 6.

But state and Congressional Democrats are balking, with one aide to a Democratic Member suggesting that state Republicans were attempting to prevent Democratic House Members from running for governor or other statewide office by postponing the release of new maps. With his district threatened, Rep. Sherrod Brown (D) has been eyeing a run this year against Ohio Gov. Robert Taft (R). Taft reportedly does not want a map eliminating Brown's district, but he may be at odds with House Republicans who are eager to see their seats made impervious in a process controlled entirely by Republicans. Brown called the idea of delaying the primary "pure partisan political gamesmanship."

Ohio Democrats last week went so far as to say they would be willing to help Republicans pass a map in time to meet the filing deadline, pointing out that a separate primary would cost the state millions of additional dollars. They said a map could be passed on an "emergency" basis, which would not require a 90-day waiting period before the bill becomes law.

Rep. Ted Strickland (D), another prime target for Republicans, expressed his displeasure with the GOP legislation, but believes it will actually serve him well in his re-election bid. Strickland called the proposal "shameful" and "irresponsible" because of the alleged $7 million cost associated with holding two primaries. "If Democrats don't have a primary until early August, especially if they were to have a contested primary, that gives me all kinds of time to continue to work my district as well as go outside my district."

Strickland broached the possibility that if his district is dramatically altered, he might run against Rep. Bob Ney (R) in the neighboring 18th district.

"I would be very, very tempted to go to that district and run against him," Strickland said.

The Ohio delay further complicates the redistricting picture in one of the last large states to not yet have a redrawn map for the 2002 election.

Due to slower than average growth, Ohio will lose one of its 19 seats before the election, and with Republicans holding the state House, Senate and governorship, at least one current Democratic Member is expected to be squeezed out.



Cleveland Plain Dealer
Suit Says Ohio's Redistricting Plan is Unfair to Black Voters
By John Caniglia
October 27, 2001

High-ranking Ohio Democrats and black voters filed a federal lawsuit yesterday over legislative redistricting, alleging that the state has diluted the voting power of minorities in its plan to redraw boundaries.

The case, filed in U.S. District Court in Cleveland, contends that the Ohio Apportionment Board's plan will deny minorities the equal chance to elect candidates of their choice.

The state is required to draw new political districts every 10 years, a job that brings out a political feud between Democrats and Republicans.

Apportionment Board Secretary Scott Borgemenke, who drafted the plan, defended his work.

He said he took into careful consideration the racial makeup of the new districts.

"We believe that it's a fair plan," Borgemenke said. He declined to elaborate, saying he had not seen the suit.

To many, the lawsuit is not unexpected. The Ohio Constitution requires the Apportionment Board to equalize the population of Ohio House and state Senate districts. The political party that controls the five-member board historically has drawn legislative districts to favor its members. And the other party historically has filed a lawsuit over it. Ohio's Apportionment Board is controlled 4-to-1 by Republicans.

Democrats who filed the case contend that the proposed new maps violate the Voting Rights Act because they draw district lines that would make it harder for blacks to win election.

Because blacks historically have supported Democrats, the Democrats argue that the GOP is trying to decrease the number of legislative districts favorable to them by diluting the influence of black voters.

In anticipation of such arguments, Republicans already have secured a key endorsement for the new maps. The NAACP has given its near-unanimous support to them.

The suit alleges that the Apportionment Board's plan "packs" many black voters into single districts and leaves "fragments" in other districts. By filling a district with too many minorities, it allows them to select just one minority lawmaker.

The suit alleges that the Apportionment Board's plan packs black voters in five Ohio House districts in Cuyahoga County. At the same time, it created a House district in Summit County that lacked enough black voters, according to the suit.

The West Side of Cleveland would lose a seat in the Ohio House.

Cuyahoga County will lose one of its 13 House seats after the 2002 election because of population loss since 1990.

Contact John Caniglia at [email protected], 216-999-4128.



Cleveland Plain Dealer
Court Says N. Olmsted Precinct Shifts Can Wait
By Sarah Treffinger
October 25, 2001

The Ohio Supreme Court will not order the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections to implement new voting precincts in North Olmsted before next month's general election.

In Tuesday's unanimous decision, Supreme Court justices said state statutes do not require the elections board to rearrange boundaries in the middle of an election cycle. They noted North Olmsted's City Council-approved redistricting plan - which led to the need for new voting precincts - will not take effect until after Nov. 6.

"The court has spoken, and we will revert back in this election to the ward boundaries that are grossly disproportionate," said North Olmsted Law Director Michael R. Gareau, who disagreed with the court's reliance on state law.

Gareau noted the city is required by charter to redraw its ward boundaries with every census, in an effort to equalize representation. Right now, he said, Ward 3 has 1,772 more people than Ward 1.

"A constitutional deprivation is known to exist, and they're asking us to ignore it," Gareau said. "I wanted to fix it."

The court's ruling means voters will cast their ballots according to their old ward boundaries.

Elections board Director Thomas Jelepis said he was pleased to be allowed to proceed with election preparations. The board soon will issue absentee ballots to the 1,220 North Olmsted voters who have requested them. Earlier this month, the court ordered a hold on those ballots until the case was resolved.

North Olmsted sued the elections board Oct. 1, after the board flip-flopped on whether it would implement the changes - which were outlined on a new precinct map - in time for the general election.

On Sept. 24, Jelepis said the board was not able to complete the process before Nov. 6 because of a time-consuming reprecincting project in Cleveland. Over the next several days, the lawsuit notes, city officials learned the board might reconsider that decision. A discussion was to take place Sept. 29, but the board canceled that meeting because it lacked a quorum.

Plain Dealer reporter T.C. Brown contributed to this article.

Contact Sarah Treffinger at [email protected], 216-999-3906.



Cincinnati Enquirer
District Changes Benefit Suburbs
By Steve Kemme
October 24, 2001

Fast-growing suburbs are gaining influence in Columbus.

New boundaries drawn for Ohio House and Senate districts reflect population jumps in Butler, Warren and Clermont counties and mean additional seats and some changes in whom lawmakers represent.

The gains are expected to translate into greater influence on capital projects, including roads, as well as funding for education.

Butler County gains a full House seat in the redistricting, which moves thousands of voters from one district to another. The changes take effect for next year's May primary and November elections.

Rep. Greg Jolivette said that with Butler County having three full House seats and a full Senate seat as of next year, legislators can combine efforts on Butler projects that need state funding. 

�If we're all on the same page, we're going to have a very strong voice,� he said.

Under the plan:

Butler jumps from two full House seats to three and from a partial to a full Senate seat.

Warren County gains half of a House seat from Hamilton County, which had 2.4 percent population decline from 1990 to 2000.

Clermont County sees boundary shifts, but gains no seats.

Hamilton County's only loss is the half of a House seat that goes to Warren County. There will be a lot of boundary shifts in House and Senate districts that include Cincinnati, but Cincinnati won't gain or lose any seats.

From 1990 to 2000, Butler County gained more than 41,000 residents, a 14.2 percent increase. Ohio's House and Senate district boundary lines are redrawn every 10 years to reflect the changes in population between each U.S. Census.

Rep. Shawn Webster's 60th House District now includes parts of Butler and Preble counties. In 2003, his new district will include only Butler County communities.

The district will lose Preble County, Millville and Ross Township and will gain Fairfield Township and the northern portion of Middletown. This district includes Trenton, Oxford and other western Butler County communities.

�I'll be completely Butler County,� said Mr. Webster, a Millville Republican. �It will allow me to focus strictly on Butler County issues.�

Rep. Jolivette's 59th House District will lose Fairfield Township and gain Millville and Ross Township. The Hamilton Republican's district includes Hamilton and Fairfield.

The 58th House District of Rep. Gary Cates, R-West Chester Township, will lose the northern part of Middletown. His district will retain fast-growing West Chester and Liberty townships, Lemon Township, Monroe and a portion of Sharonville that's in West Chester.

Butler and Preble counties comprise the 4th Senate District of Scott Nein, R-Middletown, but under the new district boundaries, he will represent only Butler County.

The redistricting plan also will make Warren County a little more influential in the General Assembly.

Rep. Tom Raga, R-Deerfield Township, now represents all of Warren County. But under the plan, his territory will shrink to the county's more populous western half.

Eastern Warren will be folded into the district of Rep. Michelle Schneider, R-Madeira, who represents northeastern Hamilton County.

�Columbus clout-wise, it's another person looking out for our interests,� Mr. Raga said.

He said it makes sense to separate Warren's fast-growing area in the I-75 corridor from the more rural part of the county. &Warren County's population increased by 44,474 from 1990 to 2000, a 38 percent jump.

On the Senate side, Warren County, which is now represented by Sen. Richard Finan, R-Evendale, would share a senator with eastern Hamilton County. The seat would encompass the House districts of Mr. Raga, Ms. Schneider and Rep. Tom Brinkman, R-Mount Lookout.

Warren would make up about 40 percent of the Senate district's population, Mr. Raga said.

Clermont County's population grew by 27,790 from 1990 to 2000, an 18.5 percent increase. Its greatest growth occurred in the western part of the county.

That's why Rep. Jean Schmidt's 71st District will shrink in geographical size.

Her district, which includes the county's fastest-growing areas, will lose Pierce and Stonelick townships to Rep. Tom Niehaus' 72nd District. Her district includes Union, Miami, Batavia and Goshen townships. 

�I hate losing Pierce and Stonelick townships,� said Ms. Schmidt, a Miami Township Republican. �But I'll continue to work with those residents during the next year.�

Besides gaining Pierce and Stonelick, the district of Mr. Niehaus, a New Richmond Republican, will pick up seven townships in Adams County.

It will lose Clinton County, but continue to include Ohio, Monroe, Washington, Franklin Tate, Jackson, Wayne townships and Brown County. Ohio Sen. Doug White's 14th District will lose Clinton, Fayette, Highland and Pike counties and pick up Scioto County and part of Lawrence County. The Manchester Republican's district will continue to include Clermont County, its largest county, and Brown and Adams counties.

Cindi Andrews of the Enquirer contributed to this report.



Columbus Dispatch
State Board Approves Plan for New Legislative Districts
By Ilee Leonard
October 2, 2001

Republican state officials, over Democratic objections, yesterday rammed through a realignment of state legislative districts that, barring a major scandal, should keep the GOP in power for the next 10 years.

The Apportionment Board voted 4-1 for a plan drawn by a Republican consultant that equalizes districts in population according to the 2000 census and generally makes it easier for the GOP to defend its 59-40 advantage in the House and its 21-12 domination in the Senate.

The new districts were drawn to reflect a gain of 506,025 in the Ohio population since 1990 and to overcome population shifts that have bloated some districts and siphoned from others since the districts were last configured.

The House districts had to be drawn within plus or minus 5 percent of the ideal population of 114,678. A Senate district comprises three House districts.

The plan must be published by Friday under a provision in the Ohio Constitution and will apply to legislative elections starting in 2002.

Democrats protested the plan, saying it violates the federal Voting Rights Act by "significantly diluting minority voting strength in Ohio.''

They said additional minority districts could have been drawn in Franklin and Hamilton counties.

Percy Squire, counsel to the Democrats, said his side is likely to challenge the plan in U.S. District Court on several grounds, including dilution of minority population in the same House district in Mahoning County that resulted in a seven-year legal battle over the last reapportionment.

The legislative map drawn up by Republicans in 1991 was taken to court and received final constitutional clearance by the U.S. Supreme Court in March 1998.

Scott Borgemenke -- the consultant and former Senate aide who drew the new map, including 14 minority House districts in urban areas -- predicted that it would withstand a constitutional test.

The U.S. Supreme Court has directed states to fashion as many districts that could be won by minority candidates without unnecessarily concentrating minority voters or diluting their strength.

The new Republican plan changes district boundaries in Franklin County to strengthen the GOP index in districts now held by Republican Reps. Jim Hughes of Columbus, Linda Reidelbach of Columbus and Larry Wolpert of Hilliard.

Wolpert's district benefits at the expense of the 23rd District now represented by Republican Amy Salerno, who cannot run for re-election because of term limits. Grove City was moved from Salerno's to Wolpert's district.

In an amendment to the plan yesterday, the GOP appeared to help Wolpert, a freshman, even more by transferring part of Jackson Township, near Grove City, to his district from Salerno's.

The Republicans also took Lockbourne and part of Hamilton Township from the district of Republican Rep. Larry L. Flowers of Canal Winchester and put it in Salerno's district.

"We're making that (Salerno's) district more competitive,'' said House Speaker Larry Householder, a member of the board.

The Republicans also pleased Democrats by granting their request to put all of Shaker Heights, a Cleveland suburb, in the same House district and to juggle Cleveland territory to satisfy black Democratic House members. Shaker Heights was split in the initial GOP plan, infuriating the community and its legislators.

But the changes were not enough to satisfy Senate Minority Leader Leigh E. Herington, who said the plan is vulnerable to a court challenge. Not only was minority representation diluted in the Mahoning County district, the Ravenna Democrat said, but Republican map makers also violated the principles of reapportionment by combining inner-city Dayton with territory in neighboring Darke and Miami counties.

Borgemenke pointed out that the 5th District in Dayton, represented by Sen. Rhine McLin, a black Democrat, already includes part of Miami County.

Herington read into the record his objections, setting the stage for a court case. He repeated allegations that Floyd Johnson, a Dayton consultant hired by Republicans to draw minority districts that would receive the blessing of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, failed to notify the association in what he called a "breach of trust.''

"That was a clear breach of fiduciary duty,'' said Squire in an indication that it would be grounds for a lawsuit.

Herington received no support from the Republicans for delaying the plan while the Johnson contract was investigated. The GOP board members also shunned Herington's attempt to get them to consider a Democratic plan he said was drawn to give communities of interest common representation and media markets.



Cincinnati Post
Ohio May Help GOP Retain House; New Districts Likely to Mean 1 less Democrat
September 3, 2001

Republicans trying to retain their tenuous 10-seat control of the U.S. House of Representatives are counting on one thing from the post-census redistricting: One less Democratic member of Congress from Ohio.

National GOP leaders are targeting Ohio, along with Florida, Texas, Michigan and Pennsylvania to cushion what is expected to be a close midterm election.

''We've been thinking that we'll pick up eight to 10 seats from redistricting,'' said Ste ve Schmidt, spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee.

The Ohio Apportionment Board must approve a redistricting plan by Oct. 5 that reflects population shifts in last year's census. Huge population gains in the West are forcing Ohio to redraw its 19 congressional districts into 18 districts.

The board consists of Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell, Gov. Bob Taft, Auditor Jim Petro, House Speaker Larry Householder and Senate Minority Leader Leigh Herington. Republicans control the board 4-1.

For that and other reasons, the redistricting is expected to have relatively little impact on the political security of Hamilton County's two Republican congressmen, Rob Portman of Terrace Park and Steve Chabot of Westwood.

The National Republican Congressional Committee is hoping Ohio will lose one Democrat and add two additional Republicans to the 11-8 delegation majority.

''I think, realistically, what we're looking at is the possibility of having 12-6 with a couple of other districts being real competitive,'' said Ohio Republican Party Chairman Robert Bennett.

Traditionally, the president's party loses House seats in off-year elections. And with the economy performing poorly and a showdown expected this fall over President Bush's proposed budget, Democrats say despite redistricting struggles, the numbers are on their side for the election.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee considers every seat an open seat because of redistricting and is expecting the new boundaries to produce gains in about 13 states from California to New Hampshire, spokeswoman Kim Rubey said. Ohio isn't on the list.

Political strategists say most of the changes will be made in northeastern Ohio, where lagging population growth makes it the most likely place for Republicans to combine districts.

Democratic Reps. Sherrod Brown of Lorain, Tom Sawyer of Akron and Dennis Kucinich of Cleveland could lose out. Rep. Ted Strickland's district in southeast Ohio is also at risk.



Associated Press
GOP counting on Ohio to help cushion a close midterm election
By Malia Rulon
September 2, 2001

Republicans trying to retain their tenuous 10-seat control of the U.S. House of Representatives are counting on one thing from the post-census redistricting: One less Democratic member of Congress from Ohio.

National GOP leaders are targeting Ohio, along with Florida, Texas, Michigan and Pennsylvania to cushion what is expected to be a close midterm election.

"We've been thinking that we'll pick up eight to ten seats from redistricting,'' said Steve Schmidt, spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee.

The Ohio Apportionment Board must approve a redistricting plan by Oct. 5 that reflects population shifts in last year's census. Huge population gains in the West are forcing Ohio to redraw its 19 congressional districts into 18 districts.

The board consists of Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell, Gov. Bob Taft, Auditor Jim Petro, House Speaker Larry Householder and Senate Minority Leader Leigh Herington. Republicans control the board 4-1.

The National Republican Congressional Committee is hoping Ohio will lose one Democrat and add two additional Republicans to the 11-8 delegation majority.

"I think, realistically, what we're looking at is the possibility of having 12-6 with a couple of other districts being real competitive,'' Ohio Republican Party Chairman Robert Bennett said. "A lot of that depends on what incumbents decide to run.''

Traditionally, the president's party loses House seats in off-year elections. And with the economy performing poorly and a showdown expected this fall over President Bush's proposed budget, Democrats say despite redistricting struggles, the numbers are on their side for the election.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee considers every seat an open seat because of redistricting and is expecting the new boundaries to produce gains in about 13 states from California to New Hampshire, spokeswoman Kim Rubey said. Ohio isn't on the list.

"It's definitely a challenging state,'' Rubey said. "We're going to keep our eye on it.''

Political strategists say most of the changes will be made in northeast Ohio, where lagging population growth makes it the most likely place for Republicans to combine districts.

Democratic Reps. Sherrod Brown of Lorain, Tom Sawyer of Akron and Dennis Kucinich of Cleveland could lose out. Rep. Ted Strickland's district in southeast Ohio is also at risk.

"I very much want to stay in Congress, but depending on how my district is changed, I'll look very seriously at running for governor or state auditor,'' Brown said.

Taft defeated Brown in a close race for Secretary of State in 1990. But Brown, who has won statewide races in 1982 and 1986, has the name recognition to be a challenge against Taft.

Strickland has also talked about a gubernatorial race.

"If they are so outrageous that they for all practical purposes destroy my district as it currently exists, I have options,'' he said.

He said one option would be to run against Rep. Bob Ney, a Republican whose eastern Ohio district borders the top of Strickland's district.

"Everything is on the table. And I'm talking about everything from governor to lieutenant governor to anything else,'' Strickland said.

The only prominent Democrat to enter the gubernatorial race so far is former Cuyahoga County Commissioner Tim Hagan of suburban Cleveland.

Democrats say in a best case scenario, Ohio would find a way to defeat Democratic Rep. James Traficant of Poland, who has become a congressman without a party--or committee assignment--since he voted to elect Republican House Speaker Dennis Hastert of Illinois.

"Congressman Traficant is not worried about any of that,'' spokesman Charles Straub said. "The people in his district respect that and they respect his independence.''

Traficant remains popular in his northeast Ohio district despite an upcoming trial Feb. 4 on bribery and racketeering charges. The filing deadline for all offices is Feb. 21.



Dayton Daily News
Group seeks to change redistricting: Drive under way to put issue on ballot in fall
July 30, 2001

A petition drive has begun to change the way Ohio draws state legislative and U.S. House districts.

The Committee Advocating Redistricting Equity � CARE � is trying to gather 335,422 signatures from registered voters to get a constitutional amendment on the Nov. 6 ballot. The deadline for submitting the signatures to Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell is Aug. 8.

The proposed amendment would allow groups to submit plans based on guidelines that emphasize compactness. The secretary of state would choose the winning plan, based on specific criteria.

The winning plan would be the most compact and have the fewest population fragments resulting from dividing up counties and cities.

The five-member state Apportionment Board draws the lines for state legislative districts and the state legislature draws the U.S. House districts.

The League of Women Voters, the Ohio Council of Churches, the Ohio Farmers Union, Ohio AFL-CIO President William Burga and Ohio Democratic Chairman David Leland are among petition backers, according to CARE officials.

Jack Stets, CARE�s executive director, said if the signatures aren�t gathered in time to get the issue on the ballot this year that the effort will continue next year.

Dayton Daily News
Census results to force shuffling of House seats: Montgomery may lose, Warren will gain
By William Hershey
July 30, 2001

Dixie Allen, a Montgomery County Democrat, and Tom Raga, a Warren County Republican, are state legislators with one vote each in the Ohio House of Representatives.

Allen represents 96,393 people. Raga, however, has 158,383 constituents in his district, 64 percent more than Allen.

Ten years ago the number of people in each district was about the same. Since then, Montgomery County�s population has shrunk and Warren County�s has exploded.

Those changes were reflected in the 2000 census. The census will be used to reallocate the 99 seats in the Ohio House and the 33 seats in the state Senate to try to make sure all districts have about the same number of residents.

The state Apportionment Board, the body that does the reallocating, is to begin meeting Thursday. The board�s work must be finished by Oct. 5. The new districts are to be used in the 2002 elections.

Four of the five seats on the Apportionment Board are held by Republicans: Gov. Bob Taft, Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell, House Speaker Larry Householder, R-Glenford, and Auditor Jim Petro. There will be one Democratic member from the state legislature, Senate Minority Leader Leigh Herington, D-Ravenna.

Legislative reapportionment is separate from congressional redistricting, which is done by the state legislature, which also is Republican controlled. Because Ohio�s population did not grow as much as that of some other states, the state�s delegation to the U.S. House will be reduced to 18 members from 19. The legislature is not expected to finish drawing up these new districts until the end of the year.

Statewide and in the Miami Valley, reapportionment of state legislative districts is expected to increase the political power of newer, growing suburbs and reduce the clout of older major cities such as Dayton as well as older suburban areas.

Dennis Lieberman, Montgomery County Democratic chairman, said he also expects the board to tilt in the Republicans� favor. Republicans control the Ohio House, 59-40, and the state Senate, 21-12.

"I expect that whatever they do will be in the best interests of the Republican Party," Lieberman said. "I don�t expect to see good things come out of there."

Republicans, however, say the state constitution provides such specific guidelines for reapportionment that there�s not much room to show political favoritism.

Jeff Jacobson, a state senator and the Montgomery County Republican chairman, believes the districts as drawn do a good job of representing communities of interest.

The population shifts, however, mean the lines will change, Jacobson and others said.

Montgomery County has five complete House districts. Huber Heights, in the county�s northeast corner, is part of a sixth district that includes a good portion of Miami County.

Each Senate district includes three contiguous House districts, so Montgomery County has one Senate district and most of a second, which it shares with Miami County.

Based on the 2000 census, the target population for each of the 99 House districts is 114,678. The constitution allows for a deviation of plus or minus 5 percent. To avoid dividing up a county, the deviation can go up to 10 percent.

The target population for the 33 Senate districts is 344,035.

All six House districts and both Senate districts with Montgomery County constituents fall short of the target populations.

Based on the target population, Montgomery County would have 4.88 representatives. The Apportionment Board has the discretion to raise this to five full districts with the county.

"It�s too early to tell," Blackwell said. "At the end of the day, the people in Montgomery County will know that they are properly represented in the House. It would be premature to start to guess whether that would be four or five."

Montgomery County�s situation contrasts with Warren County�s.

Raga is that county�s only House member. Based on the target population, it�s likely that after reapportionment, the county will have one full House district and part of a second.

The reapportionment process begins by identifying all Ohio counties that qualify to be single House districts. The board then starts with the state�s most populous county, Cuyahoga, which includes Cleveland, and determines how many House districts it qualifies for.

The board then works its way down through other large counties, including Montgomery, that qualify for more than one district. The remaining areas of the state then are combined into House districts.

In the Miami Valley, Greene and Clark counties now each have one full House district and part of a second. Based on the 2000 census, this will be true after reapportionment, although boundaries are expected to change.

Darke and Preble counties fall far short of having enough people to qualify for a single House district. Miami County comes close, but still falls short with 98,868 residents.



Roll Call
Between the Lines (excerpt)
John Mercurio
May 21, 2001

One Man, Two Races.

Rep. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) is playing a high-stakes game of chicken with Republicans in the Buckeye State who have their eyes on changing or eliminating his northeastern Ohio 13th district. Ohio is set to lose one seat in reapportionment.

Brown told Roll Call he is seriously considering running against Gov. Bob Taft (R) if the GOP-controlled state Legislature targets his seat in remapping. Brown said he has spoken to another threatened Ohio Democrat, Rep. Ted Strickland, about the possibility of running on a joint ticket.

"I want to stay in Congress. I want to be chairman of [the Commerce subcommittee on] health and the environment," if Democrats regain the majority, Brown said. But, he added, "If my district is drawn so it's unwinnable, I will likely run for governor."

Brown said he had no idea how Republicans plan to redraw the lines in Ohio, explaining that his seat was one of four that contain more residents than required for a House district under new census figures.

As a former two-term Ohio secretary of state, Brown's threats may carry more clout with Republicans than those of the average Democratic House Member.

With about $1 million in his campaign war chest, Brown is following a dual path, preparing for a re-election run or a bid for statewide office. He is traveling across Ohio talking about state and federal health care issues and planning a major fundraiser in Cleveland with House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt (D-Mo.) in June.

"I'll be preparing for both" a federal or state campaign, he said.



The Cincinnati Post
Editorial: The waltz of the Census
December 30, 2000

The first batch of Census numbers are out, and they confirm that Ohio will lose one of its 19 seats in the U.S. House.

It will mark the first time since the 1830 Census that Ohio has had fewer than 19 House districts. But it could have been worse: according to an Associated Press analysis, we came within 78,743 residents of losing two seats this year.

It's not because we've lost population. Ohio grew by 4.7 percent since 1990, to 11,353,14 0, and remains the seventh largest state in the Union.

But Ohio, like the rest of the Midwest and much of the Northeast, hasn't grown as fast as other parts of the country. Many states in the West and South showed double-digit growth, and in a Congress with a fixed number of seats, they're the ones who will gain.

The implications are obvious. The region is losing clout in Washington, and those who represent us there will have to work more effectively than ever to protect our interests.

The release of Census redistricting data this week also carries intrastate implications. In states that are losing seats, it starts the music for a wary dance that will end with some incumbents losing their seats.

Southeastern Ohio probably won't be - and, as a moral proposition, ought not be - affected greatly by congressional redistricting.

Most of the growth in Ohio has been in the suburbs around Cincinnati and Columbus, while northeastern Ohio has lost population. That alone would dictate that the sacrificed seat come from northeastern Ohio.

The political reality is that the General Assembly will draw the new maps, and both chambers are securely in Republican control. Hence many analysts believe the heavily- Democratic Cleveland area (and Rep. Sherrod Brown, a Democrat, in particular) will be targeted.

Any change in boundaries presents an opportunity for mischief, of course. But in this case, the greater opportunity for Greater Cincinnati is to undo the mischief perpetrated 10 years ago. Then, a politically-inspired compromise produced several grotesquely gerrymandered districts in Ohio, none more so than the 2nd District here.

Now held by Rep. Rob Portman, a Republican from Terrace Park, it takes in the eastern third of Hamilton County and all of Clermont, Brown and Adams counties to the east. But it also loops around I-275 to take in a slice of western Hamilton County, and it slithers north along I-71 before taking in a big swath of northern Warren County. Southern Warren County might make sense. But not the northern half alone.

The new map should abolish this absurdity, and produce a 2nd District that is more compact, more contiguous and which better represents a geographic community of interests. Map makers should also make an effort to reduce the size of Ohio's 6th District, which now runs from southern Warren County clear across southern Ohio. This is sparsely populated country, so any district will be large. But the Republicans in the Legislature should be less concerned about trying to hamstring the Democratic incumbent, Ted Strickland, than trying to craft a district that's more manageable in size.



The Cincinnati Post
Editorial: The coming shape of the House
June 26, 2000

It's almost a foregone conclusion that Ohio will lose one of its 19 seats in the U.S. House after the 2000 Census is completed.

A new study by the Population Reference Bureau suggests that it will get even worse down the road. The 2020 Census, it believes, will cost Ohio at least two more seats. That means the Buckeye State would elect just 16 representatives. Quite a change from 1970, when Ohio had 24 of the House's 435 seats.

This shift isn't unique to Ohio. It's part of a long-term demographic shift that has seen the South and West gain population at a much faster rate than the Midwest and Northeast.

The Population Reference Bureau projects that, in the 2020 Census, the North and East will lose 25 House seats to the South and West.

In addition to Ohio, the biggest losers in these forecasts will be New York, five seats; Pennsylvania, four; Michigan (like Ohio) three seats, and Illinois, two. The biggest winners will be California, nine seats; Texas, five; Florida, three; and Georgia and Arizona, two each.

Barring an unlikely change in the law, the division of House seats after each Census will remain a zero-sum game. The House put a ceiling of 435 seats on its membership in 1913. (The Founding Fathers, never dreaming of the ultimate size of the nation they were creating, wrote into the Constitution a formula of one House member for every 30,000 citizens. That would mean at today's population a U.S. House of over 9,000 members. Hence the alternative: today each House member represents about 570,00 people.)

What are the implications?

First, a cautionary note: political power within Congress is a complicated equation in which demography is only one factor. For decades, for example, a small circle of Southern lawmakers held sway over the House by a combination of seniority and longevity. And even with reforms aimed at reducing the dominance of committee chairmen in Congress, the federal sun will always shine on the districts of the chairmen of the House Appropriations, National Security and Transportation committees - regardless of whether they're Rust Belt on Sun Belt.

Still, the population shifts will matter:

The reduced numbers mean Ohio - and the Midwest and Northeast generally - will have less influence on the national political stage. That will put an even greater premium upon sending only our best and brightest to Washington.

Fewer and hence larger House districts, coupled with the Supreme Court's decisions which appear to mandate that race be treated as just one factor among many when drawing congressional boundaries, could reduce minority representation.

To the extent there are region-specific issues, we should get while the getting is as good as it is.

The Senate, fixed by the Constitution at two senators per state, will become more important to the Northeast and Midwest.

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