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Census Estimates Show Montana On Track To Gain Second House Seat

U.S. Capitol
Eric Whitney
Montana Public Radio

The latest population estimates for Montana from the U.S. Census Bureau indicate that the state is on track to gain another congressional seat. 

Population projections have shown the state growing in the direction of a second U.S. House seat for the past three years.

Joe Lamson is a Democrat on the five member Montana Districting and Apportionment Commission, which is charged with redrawing the state’s boundaries for congressional and legislative districts every 10 years using population data.

“The projected figures by the Census Bureau were extremely strong, we’re really optimistic that Montana is going to be able to get back it’s seat that it lost back in 1990," Lamson said. 

Republicans have held the office since 1997.

Lamson said Rhode Island’s population is a good comparison for Montana. It’s the least populated state with two congressional districts, and projections appear to put Montana ahead of Rhode Island in population.

Lamson said a second House seat would mean more representation for residents.

“That would double our ability to bring services to Montanans,” Lamson said. 

Lamson says he expects the final Census population number in April at the earliest. The redistricting commission will have 90 days after the number is released to hold hearings and draw districts so that they’re ready for the 2022 election. That could be the soonest election Montanans vote for a second U.S. Representative.

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