Montana presses to finish census, eyeing 2nd House seat

HELENA, Mont. — A complete count of Montana’s households could come with a big reward — a second seat in Congress and millions of federal dollars annually. But the 2020 census deadline remains in flux, making it uncertain if census takers will finish counting the vast, rural state.

Projections show that Montana would gain another seat in the U.S. House of Representatives after the census, but a study published earlier this month found that a shortened deadline for collecting data could cost the state the rewards. The findings gained urgency Monday when the Census Bureau pulled forward the deadline to Oct. 5.

The study, published by the American Statistical Association, found that under the Sept. 30 deadline, both Montana and Florida could lose seats in the U.S. House that they would have taken from California and Ohio were the deadline extended through October.

With over 1 million people, Montana’s congressional district is the nation’s most populous. Experts say a second House seat is a prize the state can scarcely afford to lose.

The situation is even more urgent for the state’s eight Native American tribes, which rely on an accurate census count for federal aid worth millions of dollars. Without an extended deadline, their tribal lands are poised for a historic undercount.

A judge gave Montana some hope when she issued a preliminary injunction on Sept. 25 to prevent the Trump administration from winding down census operations on Sept. 30. The last-minute ruling came after it emerged that top census officials believed a shortened deadline could hinder a full count.

But the ruling’s meaning remains unclear. On Monday, the U.S. Secretary of Commerce announced in a tweet that census takers would stop knocking on doors and questionnaires would be due Oct. 5, despite the ruling.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration has appealed.

Kendra Miller with Montana’s Districting and Apportionment Commission said the uncertainty around the deadline has been “quite a rollercoaster” and she hopes Congress will extend it.

She said the census operations, hampered by the pandemic, have been “like a train heading for a crash.”

Recent Census Bureau data shows that less than 95% of Montana households have been counted, with just Louisiana and Alabama tallying less. In more than 30 states, over 98% of households have been counted.

“We continue to watch all these other states move closer and closer to complete enumeration, and we simply can’t get there on time,” Miller said.

Former Montana Rep. Pat Williams, in the U.S. House from 1979 to 1997, called a second congressional seat “essential.”

With House members limited to sitting on two committees, another for Montana could double the state’s impact in promoting legislation important to Montana, Williams said.

When Williams was first elected to the House, the state had two representatives. After the 1990 census, the state lost its second seat. Montana’s lone representative has typically served on the agriculture and natural resources committees — critical areas to the state.

“But Montana has more interests than agriculture and national parks,”

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All the apartment decor we’re eyeing during Urban Outfitters’ 40 percent off sale

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Nothing is more soothing than walking through the Urban Outfitters home decor section. But if you’re not ready to get back to in-person shopping just yet, you can find all the same atheistically pleasing picks online — and on sale.

Right now, Urban Outfitters has hundreds of decor items on sale for up to 40 percent off.

While the retailer can lean a bit on the pricier side, now is one of the best times to score discounted home upgrades. We’re talking everything home-related — think furniture pieces, gorgeous bedding sets, lighting options, kitchen and bar accessories and more.

We know how important it is to make your space feel like it’s truly home, especially if it’s a new dorm room or first apartment. Urban Outfitters is one of those stores that has super unique finds, allowing you to design your room with an eclectic and stylish twist that still lets your individual self shine, which we’re all about.

With everyone spending more hours indoors than ever, it’s time to #treatyourself to some small upgrades that will do wonders for your space. Even if it’s just swapping out an old comforter for a new one, it can make all the difference for the feel of your room.

Because browsing the retailer’s 500+ discounted items can be a bit overwhelming, we’ve rounded up the best items worth shopping now before the deals end.

Shop: Tufted Dot Queen Duvet Cover, $84 (Orig. $99)

Shop: Donahue Trio Planter, $59.99 (Orig. $89)

Shop: Amped Fleece Fringe Trim Throw Blanket, $39 (Orig. $59)

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Trump looks west, eyeing new paths to White House

WASHINGTON (AP) — Pushing for new roads to reelection, President Donald Trump will go on offense this weekend in Nevada, a state that hasn’t supported a Republican presidential candidate since 2004.

Trump will plunge head-on into a battle with local authorities in Nevada by holding public events there Saturday and Sunday after his initial plans for rallies in Reno and Las Vegas were blocked by state officials because they would have violated coronavirus health guidelines.

His campaign insisted on forging ahead with the trip — setting up a COVID-19 political fight that Trump’s team relishes and underscoring the growing importance of Nevada in Trump’s quest for 270 electoral votes as the race looks tight in a number of battleground states.


Trump narrowly lost Nevada in 2016 and the state has trended further toward the Democrats in the last decade. But Trump’s campaign has invested heavily in the state, relying on its ground game to turn out voters. Democrats, by contrast, have largely relied on virtual campaign efforts during the pandemic, save for the casino workers’ Culinary Union, which has deployed workers door to door.

“Nevada Trump Victory has over 50 staffers in the state and has contacted over 2 million voters,” said state GOP chairman Michael McDonald. “The Democrats are scared. They know President Trump has the momentum.”

Bill Stepien, Trump’s campaign manager, told reporters in recent days that he was encouraged by where things stood in Nevada, but there has been a scarcity of public polling in the state. Nationally, polls show Democrat Joe Biden maintaining a lead over Trump, though recent polls in many of the battleground states suggest a much tighter race.

Both candidates have spent about $4.5 million in Nevada while Trump has made $5.5 million in future reservations in the state and Biden has allocated $2.5 million, according to the ad tracking firm Kantar/CMAG.

The Trump team originally planned rallies at airport hangars in Reno and Las Vegas, but those were scuttled by state officials due to concerns the campaign would not abide by COVID-19 restrictions. State Republicans blamed Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak for trying to hurt the president’s reelection chances. Sisolak has limited in-person gatherings indoors and outdoors to 50 people since May, a recommendation based on White House reopening guidelines.

Instead, Trump is holding a new event in Minden, about 45 miles (72 kilometers) south of Reno, Saturday night. He plans to host a “Latinos for Trump” round-table Sunday morning in Las Vegas, then hold an evening rally at a manufacturing facility in neighboring Henderson.

Privately, they welcomed the fight, believing it underscored a campaign theme: Trump’s insistence that the nation has turned the corner on the pandemic, while Democrats, including Biden and governors, are hurting the nation’s economy and psyche with stringent restrictions. The pandemic, which has killed more than 190,000 Americans, still claims a thousand lives a day.

“The fact that Donald Trump is even considering holding these unsafe events in the midst of a global pandemic is just the latest

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