Breaking: San Antonio Court Releases Congressional Map; Splits Travis in 5

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The San Antonio panel released a Congressional map today that will serve as the interim plan for the districts used to elect representatives in 2012 to the US House. The map is available here — select Base Plan C235, Court-Ordered Interim Congressional Plan.

Quick analysis:

Travis County is fractured into 5 districts. As the map at right shows, The 10th remains largely unchanged, the 21st narrows to a skinny swath of Central Austin, and the 17th (the green area on the map) reaches down from Burleson County to stick a finger into north Austin and Pflugerville, just below the Williamson County border. The bad news is that CD-25 now runs from East Austin to Western Travis County, and then all the way up to Tarrant, while the 35th encompasses eastern Travis County and skips alongside I-35 down to San Antonio.

Sorry, y'all, we Austinites are apparently incapable of handling the rigors of selecting a Congressman whose constituents are primarily in Austin. We need the rest of the surrounding region to do it for us. But good news, Austinites and Pflugervillans, because some of you are about to be represented by Republican Bill Flores! He will care a lot about your concerns. Not really. #sadtrombone

We'll have more as this develops.

Update 3:08 p.m. The Congressional map is apparently identical to the “compromise map” submitted by Attorney General Greg Abbott and MALDEF, which other plaintiffs (NAACP, MALC, Travis Co.) did not support.

Update 3:11 p.m. According to the Star-Telegram, the new CD-33 is now 66% Hispanic and 17% African-American. While it is still a pick-up opportunity for minority voters, this map makes the district substantially less African-American than it was with the original interim plan.

Update 3:15 p.m. According to Nolan Hicks at the San Antonio Express News, if these maps fail preclearance, we could end up with new districts in 2014. That preclearance may hinge on the 5-way gerrymander of Travis and our coalition of minority and white liberal voters.

Update 3:18 p.m. The State House maps are out too, and they also match up with the Abbott / MALDEF non-compromise maps that limit Democrats' gains across the state.

(And we're back!)

Update 5:09 p.m. It looks like Joe Moody is now residing in HD-77. He had filed to challenge HD-78 incumbent Republican Dee Margo, who beat Moody in 2010. Moody was drawn into Marisa Marquez's district. (Marquez already has a primary challenger and Dee Margo is a largely worthless oxygen-consumer, so this sucks.)

Update 5:26 p.m. Over at Daily Kos, the Elections wiz kids have an update of the Obama and McCain numbers for each district. CD's 33, 34, and 35 are drawn to be safe Dem districts.

Last Update: 5:43 p.m. I did some crunching based on the Obama/McCain numbers, which are posted on DailyKos (See above) and come from the Texas Legislative Council. It's not good news:

CD-6 got 5 points less Republican, likely due to the inclusion of more of southern Tarrant County.. Will Joe Barton and his lawyer throw a fit to stop it?

CD-14 got 18 points more Democratic. That's Ron Paul's old district. It still went 57-42 for McCain, but that's a lot better than 66-33, which is how the old 14th performed in 2008.

CD-17 got 18 points more Democratic, probably by the inclusion of north Austin and southern Williamson County. However, this incarnation still would have gone 58-41 for McCain in 2008. This is Bill Flores' district, who ousted Chet Edwards in 2010.

CD-23 went from a 51-84 Obama to 50-49 Obama. So this district, which elected Quico “I Hate Cops and Firefighters” Canseco in the 2010 wave, managed to get even MORE Republican. That's tough news for Rep. Pete Gallego, who is challenging Canseco. Good job MALDEF, making it harder for Hispanics in CD-23 to elect the DEMOCRAT they want over the QUICO CANSECO they don't.

CD-25, the Austin-based district that sends Lloyd Doggett to Congress and represents most of Central Austin, went from 59-40 Obama to 43-56 McCain. The district is a travesty of minority disenfranchisement — it draws the East Austin minority neighborhoods into a district that scoops up the minority / service-member precincts in Bell County and wraps up in Tarrant. It's designed to elect African-American Republican Michael Williams instead of a Democrat who cares about minorities' needs. Good work, MALDEF!

CD-27, which elected Blake “Ducky Pajamas” Farenthold over Solomon Ortiz in 2010, went from a 53-46 Obama to a 59-40 McCain. I guess the GOP is looking out for their greasy friend, if he can survive a primary from Republicans who are less embarrassingly ridiculous.

CD-33, CD-34, CD-35 are all safe Dem seats, with Obama getting at least 60% in all of them in the 2008 results. 33 is now vastly less African-American and more Hispanic than the interim plan, posing some potential problems for the African-American candidates declared therein.

You know, someone could really look at this map and think that Abbott and MALDEF worked together on a compromise that limits demographic gains by likely Democratic voters, and sells out African-American voters in a phony compromise that will elect less Hispanics than the court's initial interim plan.

We'll have more tomorrow. Also: booooooooooooo.  

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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.

3 Comments

  1. CD-33
    Interesting side note on the 33rd: while it's 66 percent Hispanic, the citizen voting age population is around 40 percent Hispanic.  And actual Hispanic population might be even lower; I'd be thoroughly unsurprised if the 33rd elects an A-A Congressman.

    This actually seems to be fairly common in DFW: the proportion of the electorate (citizens over 18) that's Hispanic tends to be considerably less than the proportion of the general population that is.

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