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Texas Congressional Districts 33 and 35 Among Most Gerrymandered in Nation

by: Joseph Vogas

Mon May 19, 2014 at 05:00 PM CDT

An index of congressional gerrymandering in the US, a darker shade of red indicates a more gerrymandered district
On Friday, The Washington Post published their findings on the state of congressional gerrymandering in the United States. The article concluded Democrats are under-represented in congress by about eighteen seats, enough to flip the chamber, based on their share of the popular vote from the 2012 election.

In the article, it is found that nine of the ten most gerrymandered districts in America are held by Democrats. However, in most of these states it was Republicans who drew the lines. Author Christopher Ingraham lays out the cause by stating: "The point of gerrymandering isn't to draw yourself a collection of overwhelmingly safe seats. Rather, it's to give your opponents a small number of safe seats, while drawing yourself a larger number of seats that are not quite as safe, but that you can expect to win comfortably."

The formula Ingraham created to measure how gerrymandered a district is is based on compactness. While his formula ignores the necessities of the Voting Rights Act, which was in full effect when all maps were drawn, it can give a statement of how misshapen some congressional districts are. Of the ten most gerrymandered congressional districts in the United States, in Texas, Marc Veasey's District 33 and Lloyd Doggett's District 35 rank as the sixth and ninth most gerrymandered seats, respectively.

After the jump, I will rank Texas' congressional seats based on their gerrymandering scores and show how Texas ranks compared to other states.

The state of Texas holds an average gerrymandering score of 80.51. Based on the compactness score, this makes our state the twelfth most gerrymandered state in the nation. Those who have worse compactness scores are ranked as follows:

Maryland - 88.73
North Carolina - 88.33
West Virginia - 86.35
Louisiana - 85.92
Virginia - 84.2
Illinois - 83.66
Pennsylvania - 83.62
Ohio - 81.68
Kentucky - 81.6
Alabama - 81.4
Tennessee - 80.59
Texas - 80.51

We already know, within Texas, District 33 is the most gerrymandered and District 35 is the second most gerrymandered. Here is how all 36 of our congressional districts break out; district numbers followed by their incumbents and gerrymandering score (a higher score indicates a less compact district):

33 (Veasey, D) - 95.60
35 (Doggett, D) - 94.63
2 (Poe, R) - 92.63
18 (Jackson-Lee, D) - 91.97
29 (G. Green, D) - 91.29
7 (Culberson, R) - 87.61
32 (Sessions, R) - 87.55
34 (Vela, D) - 87.53
15 (Hinojosa, D) - 87.43
5 (Hensarling, R) - 87.04
28 (Cuellar, D) - 86.25
22 (Olson, R) - 85.68
10 (McCaul, R) - 84.97
9 (A. Green, D) - 84.82
14 (Weber, R) - 84.59
30 (E.B. Johnson, D) - 82.51
4 (Hall, R) - 82.46
25 (Williams, R) - 84.09
20 (Castro, D) - 81.8
21 (Smith, R) - 81.33
17 (Flores, R) - 81.18
27 (Farenthold, R) - 81.12
11 (Conaway, R) - 80.55
1 (Gohmert, R) - 79.68
23 (Gallego, D) - 79.47
36 (Stockman, R) - 79.16
24 (Marchant, R) - 79.04
6 (Barton, R) - 78.95
12 (Granger, R) - 77.44
8 (Brady, R) -77.02
13 (Thornberry, R) - 74.27
19 (Neugebauer, R) - 72.38
3 (S. Johnson, R) - 63.14
31 (Carter, R) - 54.67
26 (Burges, R) - 53.63
16 (O'Rourke, D) - 45.91

Rep. Conaway's District 11 is the closest to the mean average of Texas.

You can follow me on Twitter at @trowaman.

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