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Data Highlights Degree of Austin-Travis County Fracturing in New Congressional Maps

by: Karl-Thomas Musselman

Wed May 02, 2012 at 03:28 PM CDT

If it wasn't already apparent, the numbers below really highlight the extent to which the City of Austin and Travis County have been carved up and the extent to which the City and County are outvoted by the other parts of each congressional district.

Travis County enjoys a plurality of the population of only one of its five congressional districts, District 25, where it accounts for just over one-third of the district's population.  Harris County accounts for over one-third of District 10 (Travis County is essentially on equal footing with Harris County), McLennan County accounts for one-third of District 17, Bexar County accounts for over one-third of District 21 and nearly half of District 35.

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Congressman Charlie Gonzalez To Retire; Castro, Ciro Shuffle Seats

by: Katherine Haenschen

Fri Nov 25, 2011 at 07:18 PM CST

More news emanating from our new Congressional maps: Congressman Charlie Gonzalez announced today that he is retiring, and will not seek re-election to the 20th district. Now, former Congressman Ciro Rodriguez and State Representative Joaquin Castro are shuffling their intended seats to try and capitalize on the opportunity. From the San Antonio Express-News:

Rep. Charlie Gonzalez said Friday he will not seek re-election, a decision that will end the congressional tenure of a Democratic family whose name has been synonymous with the city of San Antonio for more than half a century. ...

It also presents a political opportunity to state Rep. Joaquín Castro, twin brother of San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro. The Democrat likely will seek Gonzalez's 20th Congressional District seat, his spokesman Cary Clack said.

Former U.S. Rep. Ciro Rodriguez, another Democrat, is eyeing the newly redrawn 35th district in which Castro originally intended to run.

"It's about having lived in this district almost my entire life," said Rodriguez, who previously served in the 28th district before being ousted by Rep. Henry Bonilla, D-Laredo, and in the 23rd district before losing to Rep. Quico Canseco, R-San Antonio.

Previously, Rodriguez had announced his intentions to contest the 23rd district, which he lost to Quico "I Vote Against Cops and Firefighters" Canseco in 2010. State Representative Pete Gallego had also announced intentions to run for the seat.

Let's look at the districts and the share of the vote each gave Barack Obama and Bill White, as well as the share of Spanish-surname voter registration:

    20th: 58.5% Obama, 56.9% White; SSVR-T 52.6%
    23rd: 51.4% Obama, 47.8% White; SSVR-T 52.2%
    35th: 54.4% Obama, 51.4% White; SSVR-T 44.2%

Castro, in moving from the new 35th to the 20th, will now be running in a district that is more comfortably Democratic in both Presidential and Gubernatorial cycles. Ciro moves from a tough primary and tough general election battle to what is likely to be at least an easier November match-up and easier hold in non-Presidential cycles. This was a smart move for Ciro, who will no longer face a primary against State Representative Pete Gallego, who has represented much of the turf that makes up CD-23 in the Legislature as the 74th district for the past 20 years.

Gallego, who has already started fundraising for the 23rd, will face a general election opponent in Canseco. Arguably if Gallego can avoid a tough primary battle for what is still a swing district, that helps Democrats conserve resources and win even more seats next November.

Both the 20th and 35th should be solid Democratic seats. So it remains to be seen if either Castro or Rodriguez will draw a primary challenger. Any rumors?

Meanwhile, a special note of thanks to Congressman Gonzalez for his long service to San Antonio, following in the footsteps of his father, Congressman Henry B. Gonzalez. He also currently chairs the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. It is exciting to see a new generation of leaders running for these seats, but it's also sad, in a way, to lose so much seniority and institutional memory. Best of luck to Gonzalez as he looks towards his future!

Discuss :: (7 Comments)

Joaquin Castro Posts Austin Supporter List

by: Karl-Thomas Musselman

Thu Nov 10, 2011 at 06:51 PM CST

As Congressman Lloyd Doggett and Rep. Joaquin Castro continue on their campaign of one-upsmanship in each other's home turf, it comes as no surprise that each side has recently begun promoting lists of supporters from the other's home city. Today it was Castro's turn.

In an email sent this afternoon, the following people were highlighted as Austin based supporters of Joaquin Casto. Less clear is if everyone on the list actually lives in the confines of the congressional district as currently crafted by the legislature (not that this really matters as no one expects the exact lines of today to be the same lines that will be used at the end of this month).

Additional pictures and videos of supporters can be found here.

Joaquin Castro Austin Public Supporters

Juan Alcala Terrysa Guerra Genoveva Rodriguez
Steve  Alvarez Honorable Sam Guzman Luis Rodriguez
Sylvestre Alvarez Nathan Hardy Jeff Rotkoff
Sylvia Araiza David Holmes Kirk Rudy
Eduardo Arambuno Sarita Iruegas Brenda Ruiz
JJ Baskin Catherine Tymniak Jarmon Victoria Ruiz
Josh Bingaman Jake Jarmon Janie Saldana
Aimee Boone John  Johnson Paul Saldana
Amy Brlanski Chaille Jolink Phillip Saldana
Cassie Brown Emily Limon Ryan Saldana
Josh Calloway Gilbert Limon Randall Salinas
Taylor  Calvin Martha Limon Trey Salinas
Lori Cantu Betty  Littrell Juan  Sanchez
Rian Carkhum Teresa & Joe Long Alfredo  Santos
Eddie Cavazos Carmelo Macias Jay B.  Sauceda
Linda Chavez Rudy Malveaux Ron Schneider
Thomas Choo Raul Marquez Eugene Sepulveda
Honorable Joe Christie Rene  Martinez Thom Singer
Clovis Cisneros Cynthia Valadez-Mata Rick Sookiasian
Frances Cornejo David Mauro Bertrand Sosa
Albert Cortez Chelsea McCullough Dennis Speight
Laura J. Cortez Jessica Medel Jason Stanford
Ruben Cubillos Theresa Medel Chris Taha
Joe Davila Nicole Merritt Jason Tasset
Rachel Davila Wade Miller Kim Taylor
Richard DePalma Rick Molina Angela Thornton
Julian Dominguez Janie Montemayor Steven Tomlinson
Grace  Drake Nicole Morales Julian Torres
Robert Drake Terence Morales Juliana Torres
Ann Eaton Randy Moreno Julie Torres
Fidel Estrada Ali Nasser Herculano Trevino
Dolores Eufracio Kristen Nesbitt Denise Urias
Zac T. Evans April Newcomb Cynthia Valadez
Marissa Fernandez Elizabeth Barraza Nieto Kathy Vale
Dr. Kevin Foster Roy Nieto Blanca N. Valencia
Brie Franco Amaury Nora Dr. Lila Valencia
Frank Fuentes James Nortey Mark Vane
Alex Garcia Angelina Noyola Tony Vargas
Armando Garcia Anne Pederson Michael Velarde
Eric J. Garcia Brian Pendleton Christopher Velasquez
Gavin Garcia Alicia Perez Jose A.  Velasquez
Gina Garcia Nick Pesina Sharon  Velasquez
Isaiah Garcia James Powell Yolanda Velasquez
Myrna Gaxiola Jay  Propes Michelle Wharry
JD Gins Andy Ramirez Doris Williams
Dr. Juan Gonzalez Leo Ramirez, Jr. Teresa & Darrell Windham
Zachary Gonzalez Linda Ramirez Anne Wynn
Jose Gonzalez Tom Ramsey Hermelinda Zamarripa
Mary Gonzalez Robin Rather Dr. Emilio Zamora
Vera Lopez-Rincon Kristina Zvinakis
Crystal Torres Rodriguez
Discuss :: (9 Comments)

Why I Am Now Even More Dogged for Doggett

by: JMVC

Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 09:08 PM CDT

(Readers have been asking us for more coverage of the TX-35 Democratic primary. Here is a perspective from an Austin voter and reader on the race. - promoted by Karl-Thomas Musselman)

By John-Michael Vincent Cortez

I am a young, Latino elected official - and I want to see more Latinos, especially young ones, in elected office at all levels of government. Not only is an increase in Latino representation warranted given our demographic reality, but it is also generally in the best interest of having a government that substantively represents the communities it serves. However, in the case of the newly created Congressional District 35, I argue that Hispanic community interests could not be more substantively and effectively represented than they are currently by Congressman Lloyd Doggett. For this, and many other reasons, if this travesty of Republican gerrymandering is to stand, I firmly believe Congressman Doggett is the best candidate to represent CD35 in Washington.

Despite my strong support of Doggett, until very recently, I did not begrudge Joaquin Castro for his efforts to take advantage of this terrible situation created by another Republican power grab by announcing his intent to run in CD35. However, I am now terribly disappointed by recent reports of Castro's involvement along side the very Republicans who have essentially disenfranchised me, my neighbors, and many communities all the way down to Bexar County. As a result, my support of Doggett is firmer still, and I hope you will join me.

I always found it odd that Castro and many of his supporters were justifying his challenge to Congressman Doggett by claiming that he would be more effective than Lloyd, because Castro knew best how to get along with Republicans. Well, most folks I know want someone who will stand up to Republican extremism, not go along with it.  However, I previously felt that Castro's claims to be strongly opposed to the GOP congressional map were believable - no committed Democrat could justifiably support this plan that illegally divides communities across Texas.  However, we now know that this purported opposition was only superficial, as Castro worked hand-in-hand with Republicans to draw the most favorable district for himself, no matter how many of us were harmed.  

At the recent trial in Federal Court in San Antonio, Republicans actually used Castro's involvement as part of their defense against Democratic claims that this redistricting plan is illegal.  Republicans essentially said: "Hey, it was not Republicans alone who drew this map to which you Democrats are objecting, we were just following the advice of Democratic State Rep. Castro (and his friend, Redistricting Committee Vice Chair Rep. Mike Villareal)." Castro wanted this crooked District carving up neighborhoods in San Antonio, New Braunfels, San Marcos, Kyle, Buda, Lockhart and Austin.  Then he asked that this area be carved up a little more to add what he thought would be even more favorable additional territory in San Antonio along with symbolic locations like the Alamo.  

Why are parts of San Marcos, Kyle and Lockhart consigned to Tea Party Republican Lamar Smith or Blake Farenthold? Why are the people of East Austin and the Eastside of San Antonio and Harlandale split up to weaken the strength of their voices?  Because the only community of interest Castro seemed to care about was his own interest when he reached out to GOP map drawers to draw himself into Congress.  One small step forward for Castro, but one lamentable step backwards for our Hispanic communities generally.  

There's More... :: (61 Comments, 606 words in story)

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