BREAKING: Court issues interim state house and senate maps

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The waiting for maps is over (well, for the most part).

The three-judge panel in Washington released its interim map proposals for the state house and senate today.

The maps can be found at http://gis1.tlc.state.tx.us/  The senate map is Plan S163.  The house map is Plan H298 (Judge Smith also has a dissenting state house proposal, which is H299).

The parties have been asked to submit any comments or objections by noon, tomorrow, November 18.  A final order on the interim state house and senate maps could come as early as tomorrow afternoon.

There's a whole lot more analyzing to be done, but a few (very preliminary) highlights:

* State Sen. Wendy Davis got a competitive seat back.

* State Reps. Hubert  Vo and Scott Hochberg are unpaired and each will have a seat to run in.

* The Mexican-American Legislative Caucus is estimating that the map creates 58 minority opportunity districts, up from 49 in the state's map.  Some sources are saying the map could create as many 15 new Democratic leaning seats.

Overall, it looks like a big day for the state's growing minority population – and for Democrats.  

Here's what Sen. Wendy Davis had to say:

Davis said the maps are a victory for the plaintiffs in the federal lawsuits in Washington D.C. and San Antonio and the voters because the interim map drawn by the federal panel in San Antonio will continue to allow voters in Senate District 10 the opportunity to elect their candidate of choice – a district which is identical to the one in which Senator Davis defeated a 20-year incumbent in 2008, minus one precinct in Mansfield.

“I have worked together with the community that I represent over the past three years on the real emergencies facing hardworking Texas families such as education, job creation, forging strong partnerships with local business, serving our veterans, and protecting the quality of life for our families, the elderly, and women and children,” Davis said. “I am confident that my community will provide me with the continued privilege to represent them on those issues in the future by returning me to the seat in 2012.”

Oh, no interim congressional map as of yet.  It could come tonight or later tomorrow.

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