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Wednesday, January 6, 2010 - 9:33am

Georgia Could Gain 14th U.S. Rep.

Population growth in the South over the last decade could mean an additional congressional seat for Georgia, and politics will play a role in how it will be drawn.

A 14th congressional district in Georgia would likely have roots in metro Atlanta, where Georgia's population grew the most, according to election data surveys. That seat is likely to be drawn in favor of a Republican, since the party dominates both houses of the legislature. But should Georgians elect a Democratic governor this year, things could change.

"If you have a Democratic governor and Republican legislature, they're going to have to tone down their partisanship because you have to have both the legislature and the governor's approval," says Charles Bullock, a political science professor at the University of Georgia. If the two do not agree, the redistricting plan would go to the federal courts.

Overall, southern and western states could have a net gain of nine seats after the 2010 census, while states in the Northeast and Midwest would lose. That would shift more power to Sunbelt states in presidential elections, since they'd get more electoral votes.

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