Nevada’s fourth Congressional seat will go to south |

Nevada’s fourth Congressional seat will go to south

Nevada will have four seats in the House of Representatives after the next election – one representing Northern Nevada and now three representing the south.

The Clerk of the House today announced that Nevada’s total population is 2.7 million, qualifying the state for an additional member of Congress.

That represents a 35 percent growth in population since the 2000 census, according to Secretary of State Ross Miller. He said Nevada’s population grew faster than any other state in the nation through most of the past decade.

But the demographics changed in 2007 when the recession hit and the state lost thousands of jobs. As a result, Miller said, the state actually lost nearly 100,000 residents in the past two years.

The Nevada Legislature, where both houses are controlled by Democrats, draws the boundaries of the congressional districts. Congressional boundaries must be drawn with as precisely equal populations as possible. That means each of the four seats must have 677,358 people in it.

Since just over 71 percent of the state’s population is in Clark County, that area will, by federal mandate, control three of the seats.

Rep. Dean Heller, R-Nev., said the added seat is important because, “the Nevada delegation works closely together on issues important to our state, and adding another voice to the congressional delegation will greatly benefit the state.”

Sens. Harry Reid, Democrat, and John Ensign, Republican, both applauded the announcement. Reid said it will help ensure Nevada gets its fair share of resources. Ensign said it will help make sure the state’s voices are heard in Washington, D.C.

But Ensign sounded a partisan worry as well: “I hope that when the boundaries of this new district are drawn, it is done in a way that best benefits Nevadans, not a political party.”

In addition to gaining a seat in the House, that increases the state’s number of presidential electors to six – the total number of representatives Nevada has in the Congress.