On to the Governor for final approval of the new SBOE redistricting map.
The House voted 80-61 for the map, which contained changes made by the Senate and finishes the Legislature’s action on redrawing lines for the State Board of Education.
Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, D-San Antonio, chairman of the Mexican American Legislative Caucus, called the plan “a perfect status quo map” that ignores the minority population growth.
The map is designed to elect five minorities from the 15 districts.
Fischer told minority lawmakers that it’s important to reflect their opposition in the final vote as they “take our business elsewhere.”
Social conservative Republicans also tried to stir opposition. They considered the map unfriendly for the board’s social conservative members. It also would force former board Chair Don McLeroy to run against incumbent Barbara Cargill, R-The Woodlands. Both are social conservatives. McLeroy lost a GOP primary last year to Thomas Ratliff and has been planning to run again.
Nineteen House Republicans voted against the plan.
I hadn’t realized that McLeroy was moved into a different district by the Senate plan, thus protecting Thomas Ratliff from a rematch. Someone in the Senate must still like the Ratliff family.
I have election data for the new districts, again thanks to Joe Madden of the Legislative Study Group. These are fairly small documents, so I’ve posted them as Google spreadsheets for your perusal. Here’s the 2008 data, and here’s the 2010 data. A few observations:
– Unless Charlie Garza is a heck of a politician, I don’t see how SBOE1 doesn’t flip back to the Democrats next year. No Republican did better than John McCain’s 42.84% there, and downballot Dems were winning the district by 20 points or more. What’s more, this district should stay Democratic even if it draws the off years for subsequent elections. Only Greg Abbott, David Porter, and Eva Guzman carried it in 2010, and it’s fair to say that 2014 is likely to be less Republican than that.
– On the other hand, Democrat Mary Helen Berlanga in SBOE2 would do well to get Presidential years for her re-elects. Her district is actually less Democratic than Garza’s, and while every Dem carried it in 2008, only Bill White managed to eke out a plurality in 2010. Again, I assume that 2014 will be much less hostile to Democrats than 2010 was, but even if you assume a five point shift in their favor, that makes SBOE2 a tossup. Keep an eye on this, and don’t be surprised if complaints about retrogression in this district are a part of any lawsuit that gets filed.
– Democrats will have three decent targets to aim for in 2010 besides Garza: Ken Mercer in SBOE5, Terri “Don’t call me Terry” Leo in SBOE6, and Marsha Farney in SBOE10. The 2008 numbers:
Dist Incumbent Obama Houston Strawn ============================================ 05 Mercer 46.50 44.87 45.80 06 Leo 40.77 40.24 40.41 10 Farney 44.94 45.59 45.46
OK, I admit, SBOE6 is a big stretch. That’s my district, and I want someone to vote for, dammit. Note that SBOE10 was made slightly more Republican than the original House map. I can’t say I’m terribly surprised by that. Still, I really want to see some good challengers in these districts. We’ve had some quality people step up in recent years – Laura Ewing, Michael Soto, Judy Jennings, Rebecca Bell-Metereau – and we need more like that in 2012 to take advantage of all the opportunities available to us. If the wind is blowing right, who knows? The SBOE could be a very different institution in 2013, and that would be very much a good thing. Greg has more.