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First thoughts on the new Congressional map

OK, down to business. Here’s a map of the new plan, which was unanimously approved by the three judges, the 2008 election data, and here’s 2010 election data. Going by the 2012 data, I break it down as follows:

Strong R


Dist  Obama Pct  Houston Pct
============================
01         30.5         36.4
02         34.4         35.6
03         37.4         36.8
04         29.4         37.6
05         36.5         41.2
08         25.6         29.3
11         23.0         28.4
12         34.1         35.5
13         22.2         27.4
17         33.2         38.2
19         28.0         32.4
21         33.0         31.5
24         38.0         37.5
26         35.4         35.5
31         39.8         41.3
34         32.9         37.1
36         31.1         39.8

Likely R


Dist    Obama Pct    Houston Pct
============================
07         42.5         40.8
14         41.9         47.3
22         40.6         41.2
32         43.0         43.1

Lean R


Dist  Obama Pct  Houston Pct
============================
06         44.8         47.5
10         46.5         45.5

Strong D


Dist  Obama Pct  Houston Pct
============================
09         77.3         77.6
15         61.9         65.8
16         66.6         68.8
18         77.4         77.5
25         68.4         65.2
27         58.3         62.1
28         58.6         63.0
29         62.0         67.6
30         81.5         81.3
33         62.5         63.1

Likely D


Dist  Obama Pct  Houston Pct
============================
20         58.5         58.8

Lean D


Dist  Obama Pct  Houston Pct
============================
23         51.4         53.1
35         54.4         55.9
 

Barring any surprises, that’s a 23-13 split, which means (contra the Chron and its funny math once again) a four-seat gain from the current 23-9 split. The Dems have more upside than downside, and it’s not crazy to think that over the course of the decade some districts could move into a different classification, such as currently solid R seats 05, 24, and 31. I was just on a conference call with Matt Angle and Gerry Hebert about the new map, and Angle suggested CDs 06 and 14 as ones that will trend Democratic. I asked him about CD10, which has a similar electoral profile right now to those two, and while he agreed it can be competitive, he didn’t think the demographics will change as much as in the others.

Note that CD33 is now a majority-minority seat in Tarrant County – BOR notes that State Rep. Marc Veasey, one of the plaintiffs and strong fighters in these suits, has already indicated his interest in running for it. He’s already got an opponent if so – a press release from Fort Worth City Council member Kathleen Hicks that announced her entry into the CD33 sweepstakes, hit my inbox about ten minutes after the publication of the new map. PoliTex confirms both of these. One way or another, though, it sounds like sayonara to Roger Williams.

CD34 stretches from the Gulf Coast into the Hill Country, taking a chunk out of the southern edge of the old CD10. CD36 is more or less as it was before, in the eastern/southeastern part of Harris County and points east from there. CD35 is no longer in Travis County, so the Doggett/Castro death match is no more – Rep. Lloyd Doggett gets his Travis-anchored CD25 back, and Rep. Joaquin Castro gets a new Bexar-anchored district to run in. I don’t know if freshman Rep. Blake Farenthold can run in CD34 – I suspect he’d face a challenge from some Republican State Reps if he tried. Perhaps State Rep. Geanie Morrison, based in Victoria and now paired with State Rep. Todd Hunter, might take a crack at it, or maybe Hunter will. I presume State Sen. Mike Jackson will continue to pursue CD36. All of the Republican contenders for the Lege-drawn CD25 are also now out of luck, so bye-bye to former Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams as well. Not a good day for Williamses who wanted to run for Congress.

Comments and objections are due on Friday, and one presumes it, along with the other two, will be finalized by Monday the 28th, which is the opening of filing season, though I hear that could possibly get pushed back a day. Greg, Stace, the Lone Star Project, Postcards, the Trib, and Trail Blazers have more.

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16 Comments

  1. Ross says:

    If I were the State, I would tell the Feds to get lost, and use the map the legislature drew. It’s the only legal map out there – I don’t see anything in the Constitution that lets Federal judges do redistricting.

    The court drawn map is ridiculous, and panders to a bunch of whiny Progressives, who can’t elect candidates based on the merits of their platforms.

  2. So you’re saying Texas should secede now, since it is no longer subject to federal law? I just want to be clear about your intentions.

  3. Mainstream says:

    I have not researched the details enough to have a sense of whether the judges are mistaken about what the Voting Rights Act requires elsewhere in the state, but I find it hard to imagine that it requires creation of a new coalition minority district in Tarrant. I predict that this case will be the vehicle by which the Voting Rights Act is determined unconstitutional. It has become a Democrat protection act.

    My first reaction upon seeing the map is that I would have expected judges to create a more compact, regionally based map, as I would expect their duties of fairness to be even higher than that of a legislature. Some of the contortions of this and their other maps shock me.

    On a political level, my first thoughts without researching the data fully is that Congressman Culberson could be successfully challenged by an inside the loop Republican of an Anne Clutterbuck/Stephen Costello/River Oaks business leader mold, and that Sen. Jackson has less of a Harris County base from which to win the new District 36.

  4. Ross says:

    I’m saying the Constitution doesn’t have a provision for Federal judges to perform redistricting. I would accept a map drawn by Congress, since that does seem to be allowed by the Constitution.

    It’s time for the VRA to go. The objections to the districts as drawn by the legislature are not racially based, but are based on the fact that Democrats can’t get elected without pandering to minorities, since the Dems in general haven’t had a good idea in about 5 decades. That’s not to say the Republicans are much better, but at least they give some credence to the concept that government ought to be limited, and that not every problem has to be solved by spending tax dollars.

  5. Mainstream says:

    Review of the population data shows that the new CD 34 has 200K of the 700K population in Harris County, and only 100K in Nueces. The state house district overlaps appear to be Callegari, Riddle, and Harless, and the state senate overlaps Patrick. I would not be surprised to see Houston pick up a new seat in Congress as a result of the remap, if a single Harris County entrant with local name ID entered. Bettencourt? To be fair, most voters are in Berlanga’s state board of Education district and in the Victoria-based state senate district, but in a primary, a GOP name from Houston would have a fair shot.

  6. Matt says:

    Ross-

    If Texas didn’t have a history of rascism and discrimination, it wouldn’t have to have the Feds hold its’ hand.

    They were allowed to come up with their own map and, shocking, they tried to screw minorities. That kind of proves the need for the process that the VRA set up.

    Meanwhile, watching the GOP debates, the rest of the country is in disbelief that Texas elected 2 governors in a row who couldn’t speak or count. And we’re supposed to believe you guys know what you’re doing?

    P.S. The Constitution also doesn’t have a “provision” for the Air Force. Is it “unconstitutional”, too?

  7. Mainstream says:

    Another seasoned observer suggests that Nick Lampson would have a fair shot at District 14, although on paper the district leans GOP.

  8. […] couple of other links you’ll want to check out include Charles Kuffner’s analysis, in which he slots each district into the usual Safe/Likely/Lean categories (but doesn’t […]

  9. cd says:

    Ross, are you saying that non-whites are not real American citizens and don’t deserve federal representation? And isn’t it great how ‘small government’, epitomized by Texas state government at present, seems to require federal supervision and subsidies to prevent total deterioration to Third World conditions?

  10. […] couple of other links you’ll want to check out include Charles Kuffner’s analysis, in which he slots each district into the usual Safe/Likely/Lean categories (but doesn’t […]

  11. […] Noted “redistricting analyst” Off the Kuff analyzed the new court-drawn Congressional map. […]

  12. […] Noted “redistricting analyst” Off the Kuff analyzed the new court-drawn Congressional map. […]

  13. […] Noted “redistricting analyst” Off the Kuff analyzed the new court-drawn Congressional map. […]

  14. […] Noted “redistricting analyst” Off the Kuff analyzed the new court-drawn Congressional map. […]

  15. […] Noted “redistricting analyst” Off the Kuff analyzed the new court-drawn Congressional map. […]

  16. […] of those three districts, only the 35th is reasonably competitive, and with Rep. Joaquin Castro having announced for it, I’m not terribly worried about […]

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