BOSTON (CBS/AP) – Massachusetts will lose one of its 10 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, setting the stage for a potentially contentious redistricting debate.
The announcement came Tuesday as the Census Bureau released state population totals that dictate how the nation reapportions all 435 House districts to the states.
The Massachusetts population grew 3.1 percent over the past decade to a total of 6,547,629 residents in the 2010 census.
Read: 2010 Census Data
A decade ago, Massachusetts narrowly hung onto all 10 of its House seats after losing a seat in 1990.
It’s now up to state lawmakers to draw new district lines.
WBZ-TV’s Peg Rusconi reports.
The new congressional map must be completed in time for the 2012 elections.
None of Massachusetts’ 10 House members have indicated that their upcoming term would be their last, although two — Michael Capuano and Stephen Lynch — have been mentioned as possible candidates against Republican Sen. Scott Brown in 2012.
Harvard political scientist David King isn’t overly optimistic about the redistricting process here in the Commonwealth.
“We have a long history of relatively corrupt and not transparent redistricting [in Massachusetts],” he told WBZ-TV. “Maybe that’ll change this time; it certainly hasn’t changed in the past… Underneath it is brutal, hand to hand, party combat.”
WBZ Radio’s Virtual Political Roundtable on redistricting
King thinks Rep. John Tierney is most at risk, given his wife’s recent federal tax problems.
“Also his district has changed demographically quite a bit,” adds King. “So it looks like his district is the one people are going to destroy.”
A century ago, Massachusetts had 16 seats in Congress.
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