The news today that California has a population of 37.25 million people and will retain its 53 congressional districts for the coming decade creates an intriguing political possibility for Ventura County.
Dividing the state population recorded by the U.S. census by 53 districts, it means that each congressional district will have about 703,000 residents. As it happens, that's almost exactly what the state Department of Finance estimates to be the combined populations of San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties.
Given that the Monterey-San Luis Obispo county line is a natural dividing point between northern and southern California, it would be a natural boundary for any redistricting plan. If that were to happen, creating a San Luis-Santa Barbara congressional district would appear to be a no-brainer. Tracking on down the coast, where would that leave Ventura County?
The county has an estimated population of sightly less than 850,000. That would be one full congressional district, with about 145,000 people left over -- in other words, the whole county minus either Thousand Oaks or Simi Valley (both about 130,000 population).
Either such district would have a small Democratic voter registration advantage, but the advantage would be larger (6.3 percentage points) if Simi Valley were taken out than if Thousand Oaks were taken out (5.8 percentage points).
The official census population numbers for counties and cities won't be released until March, but as the redistricting speculation begins, the above scenario is at least food for thought.