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Will Colorado get another House seat in 2020? One handicapper says yes

Author: Dan Njegomir - December 23, 2016 - Updated: June 6, 2017

Reports the other day about Colorado’s rapid population growth reminded us that our state is looking ever likelier to pick up an additional seat in the U.S. House in the next congressional reapportionment in 2020. That’s by no means a done deal, however. Reapportionment, triggered by the Census every 10 years, is a tricky and complicated process.

Because the total number of seats in Congress is capped, shifting population in a growing nation means some states will gain seats and some will lose them. And some states whose growth suggests they should gain seats might not because they won’t grow enough, relative to other states, by the next reapportionment.

Thanks to Colorado Peak Politics for tipping us off to the latest tea-leaf reading on the subject—a post in RealClearPolitics this week that predicts Colorado will indeed pick up its long-awaited eighth seat. Senior Elections Analyst Sean Trende first ticks off the list of states that would gain or lose a seat if reapportionment were held today; Colorado is not on that list. He then notes:

But of course, reapportionment won’t be held today. So, to project these things forward, I’ve taken the average population growth in each state since 2010, multiplied by four, then added that to the current estimate…Given those factors, this is where we could end up in terms of reapportionment for 2020…

He goes on to list 15 states, nine of which will each lose a seat by his projection and six of which—including Colorado—will pick up one or more seats (one in Colorado’s case).

Colorado Peak Politics adds some helpful perspective of its own:

It’s important to keep this all in perspective; however, as Colorado was supposed to get an eighth Congressional seat in 2011. As it turns out, despite Coloradans’ clamorous kvetching about population growth, other states have population growth, too.  Who knew?

Meaning it’s still anyone’s guess.


Dan Njegomir

Dan Njegomir

Dan Njegomir is the opinion editor for Colorado Politics. A longtime journalist and more-than-25-year veteran of the Colorado political scene, Njegomir has been an award-winning newspaper reporter, an editorial page editor, a senior legislative staffer at the State Capitol and a political consultant.