NC gaining a seat in the US House has ‘real impact on the citizens,’ Meredith professor says

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – North Carolina’s population grew by more than 900,000 people in the past decade. That means the state will gain a 14th seat in the United States House of Representatives.

The gain means a loss elsewhere. New York, Pennsylvania, and California each lost a seat. Florida and Oregon also gained.

Meredith College political science professor David McLennan said it gives North Carolina a larger voice on Capitol Hill — particularly when it comes to federal dollars.

“Which means more roads, better bridges, more broadband. So it has a real impact on the citizens of North Carolina,” he said.

Map illustrating percent change in county population from 2010 to 2020.

So, which political party will this benefit? It all depends on how the new data is used to draw the new congressional lines. North Carolina’s urban areas grew in population while the rural more conservative counties declined. Raleigh is now the second fastest-growing large metropolitan area in the country.

“If North Carolina draws this district in a way that’s a Republican district, that could help Republicans win back the U.S. House of Representatives. If on the other hand, a Democrat were to pick up the seat, it could really help the Democrats keep power,” McLennan said.

State legislators agreed before the census announcement to not use racial and election data when they redistrict. The courts overruled the last maps drawn by Republicans because of that very issue.

A new congressional seat also means North Carolina gains influence in the presidential election. Fourteen representatives and two senators equal 16 electoral votes.

Map illustrating states which gained, lost, or had no change in their number of U.S. House of Representatives seats. (Courtesy of the United States Census Bureau)

“It just makes us more of a plum for the presidential candidates. They’ll spend more time here and North Carolinians will see more ad dollars spent here, so if they didn’t like the number of ads they saw in 2020, just wait until 2024,” McLennan said.

The census data will also be used to draw districts for the North Carolina House and Senate.

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