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Fallout from census figures: how much does it affect West Virginia and Ohio?

Images from a 2020 U.S. Census Bureau video graphic, which doesn't include the Upper Peninsula...
Images from a 2020 U.S. Census Bureau video graphic, which doesn't include the Upper Peninsula as part of Michigan.(WLUC/202 Census)
Published: Apr. 27, 2021 at 5:23 PM EDT
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VIENNA, W.Va., MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (WTAP) - West Virgnia will lose a congressional seat-and one electoral vote in the presidential election-as a result of the federal census figures announced Monday.

West Virginia now has 1,793,716 rresidents as of 2020, down 3.2% from 1,852,994 in 2010. The state once had six House seats, but the delegation has been shrinking since 1960.

The census data shows Ohio grew by 2.3% between 2010 and 2020 to 11.8 million residents.

But people we spoke to Tuesday are not in agreement on the long-term effects.

Vienna Mayor Randy Rapp says it’s a loss of local influence in national policy and federal dollars to the area.

”It’s not a good situation,” Rapp says. “The more people we have speaking for us, and bringing the issues we’re all concerned with to the majority is a good thing. It’s just a shame the numbers weren’t what they were.”

But WVU Political Science Professor John Kilwein doesn’t see any overall change.

“The bigger thing is that West Virginia has so shifted to the red column, that I don’t think we were ever much in play in national elections, and it has more to do with that.”

Kilwein says with moderate Joe Manchin in the Senate-and the current 50-50 split between Democrats and Republicans-West Virginia has more influence on national policy than it’s had since the era of long-time senator Robert C. Byrd.

Ohio will also lose a member of the House of Representatives, leaving the Buckeye State with 15.

It’s uncertain how that will affect Southeastern Ohio.

Redistricting in the 1990′s resulted in a race between two Republican incumbents-long-time congressman Clarence Miller and southern Ohio representative Robert McEwen-in the primary that year. The winner of that race-McEwen-then lost to Democrat Ted Strickland in the 1992 November election. Strickland went on to represent southern and eastern Ohio for a total of 12 years before being elected Ohio’s governor in 2006.

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