New census numbers indicate Americans are moving to the south and west, and rookies and veteran lawmakers alike are preparing for the possibility that they could be left behind.
"When I see the map, I'll know what to do," Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) told Fox News on Tuesday. Kucinich's Ohio is one of ten states losing seats in Congress due to a decades-long population shift. The Buckeye State has grown by some 200,000 people in the last decade, but other states have outpaced it.
More liberal or moderate states like New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Ohio are among those losing states, while Republican-leaning states like Florida and Texas made big gains.
"That is politics," says Kucinich, who has just been elected to his eighth term in Congress. He adds that Republicans in control of the state legislature and governor's mansion next year should have the right to redraw districts, or ‘gerrymander,' as they see fit. "My district could be absorbed into many other districts. It could literally disappear, or I could end up with a new district, with the core of my district intact. Anything can happen."
"It really comes down to a pretty hard and fast political equation," he says.
Rep.-elect Bobby Schilling (R-IL) could lose his newly-gained seat after redistricting, and he isn't so sure politicians should get to take their magic markers to the map. "I believe it should be done by the computer, and it should not be the politicians doing the drawing," he says.
But Schilling adds that even with the power to redraw district lines, Democratic Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and state Speaker of the House Michael Madigan should realize that retooling the map to favor Democrats would be "unfair" to voters, who swung red in the midterm elections. "I think they'll do the right thing. They'll draw the maps square," he says. "It has to be fair to the voters, whether it benefits Democrats or Republicans."
Kucinich says that despite playing the waiting game as states receive and act on the new data, he won't be wringing his hands. "I don't have any control over it. You know, it's that serenity prayer. You don't really worry about the things you don't control," he says. "Wherever the district may be, I'll start making the rounds."
Congressional reapportionment based on 2010 census data will take effect in 2013.