Last week I posted a list of states slated to gain and lose congressional seats in the upcoming election. While doing that post, my inner geek had me focusing on the numbers and I totally missed this part:
Minnesota (-1): Open seat in 2010; state Senate 46 D, 21 R; state House 87 D, 47 R
Luckily TPM picked up on that loss and is now wondering if that’s why Michele Bachmann has stopped her anti-census talk:
The state of Minnesota could be on the verge of losing a House seat after 2010 — and interestingly enough, it’s been a while since we heard Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) talk about refusing to participate in the Census.
Last year, Bachmann repeatedly said she would defy the Census by not completely filling out the information on the forms, but would instead only give the number of people in her household. She said that Census data was used to conduct the 1940’s Japanese-American internment, and warned that the government was seeking to gather information about people’s mental health. But as far as we can tell, her last anti-Census public statement was in August.
The largest newspaper in Minnesota, the Star-Tribune, is calling on the state’s citizens to vigorously participate in the Census. The key issue here is that according to current population estimates, Minnesota is right on the cusp of losing one of its eight seats in Congress, and will be in a close competition with Missouri, Texas and California for that district. The Strib points out that “Minnesota traditionally has had one big advantage — the cooperation of its civic-minded citizens.”
The Star-Tribune points out that if Minnesota does lose a seat then Bachmann’s district would most likely be effected:
It’s ironic that a Minnesota member of Congress, Republican Michele Bachmann, went so far last summer to declare her intention to only partially complete her census forms, and to suggest reasons for others not to comply with the census law. If Minnesota loses a congressional seat, Bachmann’s populous Sixth District could be carved into pieces. She likely would have to battle another incumbent to hang on to her seat. We’ve noticed that her anticensus rhetoric has lately ceased. We hope she got wise: Census compliance is not only in Minnesota’s best interest, but also her own.
That would be the sweetest of ironies. We really need Bachmann to take to the airwaves, maybe on Hardball again, and get asked about her war on the census. Is she still wanting people to not fill out the paperwork?
Even if she doesn’t get questioned on it again, the damage is done. If Minnesota ends up losing a seat and Bachmann has to fight to stay in Congress through a new district, then you can expect any opponent, Republican or Democrat, to point out that Bachman’s dangerous rhetoric very well could have cost Minnesota a say in Congress. Yes the census could be the end of Bachmann.