Breaking: Court-Drawn Congressional Maps Released

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Something staffers, journalists and politicos can truly be thankful for — court-drawn Congressional redistricting maps were just released today. Filing begins Monday, so no rush, right?

View the maps here. You want to select map C220, Federal Court Proposed Congressional Plan.

We'll update this post with early comments as analysis comes out. Your thoughts, as always, welcome in the comments.

Observations, Tweets, and Analysis:

1. The first big news is that the plan separates Lloyd Doggett and Joaquin Castro, by drawing Travis into only 3 districts (10, 21, 25, as it is now) and making CD-25 a natural home for Doggett, encompassing south/eastern Travis County and most of Hays county west of IH-35. CD-35, on the other hand, the newly created district where Doggett and Castro were battling it out, encompasses the rest of Hays, plus all of Caldwell and Atascosa, and a wide swath of Bexar.

2. On Twitter, Anthony Gutierrez of the TDP notes that CD-23 no longer includes the South Side of San Antonio, but extends into El Paso. This seat is currently held by Quico Canseco, who defeated Ciro Rodriguez in 2010. Both Ciro and State Rep. Pete Gallego had announced plans to run for the seat in 2012.

3. Comments on the map are due by Friday, November 25th, at noon. Filing, again, begins Monday, November 28th and continues through December 15th.  So, expect some speedy turnaround here.

4. The Twitters are also suggesting that the new CD-10 could endanger Republican Mike McCaul. It now includes much of Tarrytown, Northwest Hills, and Pflugerville, areas where Democrats can bring big strength to the ballot box, as well as southern Williamson County, where State Rep. Diana Maldonado eked out a win in 2008.

5. The Texas Tribune has some early number crunching on the new maps — Obama won 3 of the 4 new Congressional districts proposed by the courts. Bill White won all 4 of them. (Update: nope, looks like White and Obama both won 3 of the 4 new districts.)

6. More Tribune analysis: “In 13 of 36 districts drawn by the federal court, minorities = more than 1/2 the population. In 8, Hispanics are the majority.”

7. These maps seem to more accurately reflect the fact that our population growth was predominantly in minority populations, and that the 4 extra seats in Congress should reflect that growth, rather than Republicans' desire to quash minority representation.

8. On The Twitters, Nolan Hicks of the San Antonio Express News (and formerly of The Daily Texan!) suggests Dems should gain 3 seats, in Austin, San Antonio, and Fort Worth. I would assume that he's referring to CD-25 (currently held by Doggett, then redrawn as an R district that had already racked up 11 Republican primary candidates), and CD-35 (now the former site of Doggett vs Castro).

9. Dave Wasserman of Cook Political Report tweets that the new CD-10 went 47% for Obama. The previous iteration was only 44%. Remember that a LOT of CD-10 is rural stuff between Austin and Houston.

10. The Texas Legislative Council, bless them, released two big documents showing how each of the new Congressional districts did in the past two elections in all statewide races. Both links open a PDF, just FYI.

2010 is here. 2008 is here.

11. Based on 2008 Presidential results, this map creates three potential swing districts: CD-23, which went 51% for Obama and is currently held by Republican Quico Canseco, CD-10, which went 46% for Obama and is currently held by Mike McCaul, and CD-6, which went 45% for Obama and is currently held by Joe Barton. Interesting.

12. Say sayonara to Blake “Ducky Pajamas” Farenthold in CD-27, the Republican who knocked off Solomon Ortiz in 2010. The 27th district is now 80.6% Hispanic and went for Obama in 2008. Also, by the by, Roll Call says Farenthold can't seem to hang on to a Chief of Staff.

13. Great news: State Rep. Marc Veasey is apparently running for CD-33, the newly created Democratic district in Fort Worth/Arlington. Veasey is an undeniable champion for the people, and it's exciting that he's in the race. Fort Worth Council Member Joel Burns and his husband, veteran politico JD Angle, have already endorsed Veasey.

14. More out of Fort Worth from Aman Batheja and the Star-Telegram: Fort Worth Council Member Kathleen Hicks has announced for CD-33. The district is 66% African-American and Hispanic, and another great opportunity for minority population growth to be reflected in our Congressional delegation.

15. Over in a HuffPo article, TDP Chair Boyd Richie says, “We are pleased that Texas is on the road to fair elections in which the voters, rather than Republican mapmakers, will get to determine the outcome. The maps enacted by the Legislature were an egregious example of Republican overreach and a complete disrespect of the changing Texas demographics.”

16. Some discussion bubbling up about the new CD-34, a big district that runs from eastern Nueces County, through the Texas coast (stopping before Brazoria Co.) up into Bastrop and jabs a finger into Harris County to scoop up most of Tom Ball, i.e. home of State Rep. Debbie Riddle. It's a district that went 63% for Perry and 72% for Dewhurst, so it's clearly Republican. Could Ducky Pajamas Farenthold move in and try to make a run for it? Or will it go to a Harris County-based Republican? It also practically overlaps with State Senator Glenn Hegar's district, so he's got to be another potential candidate.

17. State Rep. Carol Alvarado released a statement that she is pleased with the Latino-opportunity district based in San Antonio and the minority-coalition district in Fort Worth, but expressing disappointment at the lack of a new Hispanic-opportunity district in Harris County. She also writes, “The Congressional maps approved by the Republican majority of the Texas Legislature were clearly regressive and did not provide adequate opportunity for minorities to elect candidates of their choice. I would like to thank the Department of Justice, the Washington DC and San Antonio Federal Courts for all their hard work in bringing some equity to what was clearly a politically-driven, misrepresentative drawing of Texas' demographic shift of the past decade.”  

18. The Tweeters are also suggesting that TX-14 is within range for a exceptionally well-suited candidate. Perry got 56%, running about 4 points behind most other statewide Republicans. McCain got 57%, Cornyn got 54.7%. Interestingly Michael Williams only got 50.4%. The district is currently held by Ron Paul, who announced he is not seeking re-election so he can focus on not getting any media attention for his Presidential campaign.

19. Of the potential takeover districts, Austinites should definitely have their eye on Dan Grant for CD-10, as he ran for that seat in 2008 and had already announced for one of the legislature's drawn seats for 2012. I suspect he's thinking about it. – Update #19 by Michael Hurta

20. The Lone Star Project released a statement on the maps, emphasizing the gains for minority Texans, who will now have a vastly increased opportunity to elect candidates of their choice. From the statement: “Under the now overturned Republican plan, minority voters would have the controlling voice in only 10 of 36 districts. Republicans would control 26 districts. Under the Court-drawn plan, this dramatic racial and partisan imbalance is corrected. Minorities would have the controlling voice in 13 districts.”  

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About Author

Katherine Haenschen

Katherine Haenschen is a PhD candidate at the University of Texas, where she studies political participation on digital media. She previously managed successful candidate, issue, voter registration, and GOTV campaigns in Central Texas. She is also a fan of UCONN women's basketball and breakfast tacos.

14 Comments

  1. If this map stands
    Doggett and Castro should hold big fundraisers for each other right away. Bury the hatchet and focus on the true enemy.

    • Interesting part is Castro never went negative on Doggett
      I would kind of agree but Castro never went negative on Doggett so I'm really curious who's burying what hatchet? I really hope those that put out the gutter pieces on Castro will come around. There are some individuals who I personally have no use for anymore, based on their gutter attacks so early in the cycle.

      Anyway, I figured it would work out for the better for both. Austin still doesn't have its single compact district and that's on my list of things to push. We really need a redistricting commission to avoid these court interventions. Both Castro and Doggett can now run solid campaigns and work together in DC.

        • Well, what would you expect?
          Sorry but those accusatory postings by Doggett supporters went WAY over the line. I mean they all but called him a Republican puppet on some baseless claims. Sorry, but I'd say the first step would be to mend the fence starting with some Doggett supporters.

          Is that really how we treat fellow Democrats? Undercut them pretty low level then come out and say “no hard feelings?”

      • I agree we should move past the aborted conflict, but I got a bad taste in my mouth
        from the Castro campaign.  

        You say Castro never went negative, but I made my decision to contribute to the Doggett campaign after Castro's comments about Doggett at the Central Texas Democratic Forum in August.  To me, the Castro surrogates seemed to throw more sharp elbows than the Doggett surrogates.  

        I am glad there is a map that allows Castro to seek a seat that doesn't draw him so far north.  I will be happy for Castro and his supporters if he succeeds, but it will be without my assistance because I walk away from the Doggett-Castro conflict with a jaundiced view of Castro and his campaign that will be hard to erase.

        • Not sure what those comments were
          I never saw those comments recorded in print or online so I can't speak to them and their content. However, I can speak to entries and comments left here in the BOR and in the E-N comment boards by Doggett supporters who publicly trashed Castro as being a Republican puppet after accepting money from San Antonio supporters who also contributed to Republican candidates.

          Regarding sharp elbows, all I can say from my own perspective is that I was challenging the validity of the claims, especially after I made note of the hypocrisy of them. If that's a “sharp elbow” so be it. You don't come in here and publicly trash a fellow Democrat for something like that when there's little basis to it and also give other Democrats a free ride just because someone is challenging their “favorite” candidate.

          Regardless, with the announcement of Gonzalez's retirement and Castro now seeking CD-20, a district he has grown up in, all of these issues are behind us. Doggett has his seat. Rodriguez can seek CD-35 and Castro can now follow the Gonzalez legacy as a strong progressive congressman.

          • CD-35
            Happy to see Rodriguez in this race. Hays County is now rid of Lamar Smith and Southside San Antonio will have a strong advocate. Since Ciro has been in the US House for 12 years, he will not be just “another” freshman Congressman.

            I talked with Ciro last weekend at the Jim Mattox Park dedication in a southside subdivision. There is no question in my mind about him being a good congressman for working class Democrats. That said, Travis County Democrats can now focus on how much damage they can inflict in CD-10 next November. Many “sharp elbows” will be needed to help defeat McCaul.

  2. McCaul and CD 10
    McCaul's vulnerability is increased by the number of new voters that he has to introduce himself to.  He has no record to run on.  Anyone running against him should take his votes in favor of the Bush tax cuts, other deficit votes, his opposition to lending laws, and his failure to protect the BAE transport jobs and hang them around his neck like an anchor or an albatross.

  3. Old vs new CD10s
    CD10 is temporarily competitive. Half of the Harris County anchor of the current CD10 was removed by the court, as the district was way overpopulated. That means that we have a decent chance of winning the district in 2012 and sending McCaul into retirement.  Not a great chance, but a decent chance.

    However, McCaul does not need to introduce himself to a lot of new constituents. His new territory in Milam and Burleson Counties is lightly populated. Almost all of his other constituents are already in CD10. Mostly he needs to mobilize what remains of his NE Harris County base and hope that there isn't a Democratic tide.

    If the map stays around for more than two years, the seat is likely to go back to the Republicans (unless we elect a Dem in 2012 who really endears himself to the voters). The fastest-growing part of the district is in Harris County, and that's also the most conservative part of the district. In other words, if somebody really charismatic like Mark Strama ran and won, he could probably hold the seat. Dan Grant would be an excellent congressman, but he'd probably only survive one term.

    McCaul has been a party-line voter on most issues since 2004. He doesn't have any personal legislative triumphs, but the only legislative disasters that we can pin on him are the same as every other Texas Republican out there. He's as close to being a generic conservative Republican as you can get.  

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