Texas Republicans Propose New Political Map | Texas
Texas House members on Thursday released the first proposed new map redrawing the chamber’s 150 ridings. The initial draft would increase both the strength of Republicans statewide and the number of districts in which white residents make up the majority of eligible voters.
House Bill 1, written by Corpus Christi Rep. Todd Hunter, the GOP chairman of the House Redistricting Committee, is just the first draft, and it will likely change as he progresses through the legislative process before being enacted by the government. Greg Abbott.
The Texas Legislature is in the middle of its third special session. This one is dedicated to redrawing political maps based on the latest census data that showed people of color have fueled 95% of Texas’ population growth over the past decade. The percentage of Hispanics is now almost equal to that of Whites in Texas.
But, the new map creates fewer districts where blacks and Hispanics make up the majority of eligible voters. Black and Hispanic Texans are two racial groups that, along with Asian Texans, have outgrown the growth of white residents in the state over the past decade.
Currently, 83 of the chamber’s 150 districts are areas in which white residents constitute the majority of eligible voters; 33 are districts where Hispanic voters constitute the majority, while black residents are the majority of eligible voters in seven districts.
As part of the new proposal, the map adds six additional districts where white residents constitute the majority of eligible voters, while the number of Hispanic and black districts would each decrease by three.
The proposed map would also change the partisan distribution among the 150 districts, tilting the scale towards Republicans.
Currently, 76 districts have gone to former President Donald Trump in the 2020 general election while 74 have gone to President Joe Biden. Of these, 50 districts voted 60% or more for Trump, – indicating the district is safe to be Republican – while 40 districts had more than 60% support for Biden – indicating strong Democratic support. According to the proposed new map, 86 districts would have gone for Trump, while 64 would have gone for Biden. The number of districts that voted 60% or more for Trump or Biden would equal 46.
The House bill would also pit several incumbents against each other, including two Democrats from El Paso – state representatives Evelina “Lina” Ortega and Claudia Ordaz Perez – who are expected to fight for the new House District 77.
In statements shortly after the original draft was released, both lawmakers criticized the proposal to pit two Hispanic incumbents against each other.
Ortega, who called the proposal a “direct attack on our border community,” said she was “committed to working for our community to prevent this injustice from happening.” Ordaz Perez said she would “refuse to sell my securities or those of the people I represent for political gain,” adding that she intended to return to the lower house for another term “to fight for the people of El Paso “.
In two other cases, State Representatives Jacey Jetton, R-Richmond, and Phil Stephenson, R-Wharton, would have to compete for the House District 26 project, while State Representatives Kyle Biedermann, R-Fredericksburg , and Terry Wilson, R-Marble Falls, would battle it out for the new House District 19.
Later Thursday, a disagreement emerged between Jetton and Stephenson over whether the latter had been removed from his district.
Stephenson’s office told the Tribune that Jetton “isn’t playing the best he can with this new card” and blamed him for taking Stephenson out of his district.
Jetton, in a statement to the Tribune, conceded that while “there has been some confusion about the residence of Representative Stephenson”, he understood that Stephenson resides in County Wharton, “so we are not actually paired in HD-26 ”.
As for the other GOP clash, it emerged later Thursday that the two incumbents could avoid a primary after Biedermann tweeted he could run in another district.
Beyond the pairs in place, the proposed card offered disappointing news for State Representative Erin Zwiener, D-Driftwood, who has been removed from her district and into an adjacent, much more Republican district. She told the Tribune on Thursday afternoon that she “hoped there was some space to fix it” in the next few days, but was not sure. She said she was unlikely to be able to keep up with the proposed new version of her current district, which is said to be solidly Democratic.
An outgoing Republican, State Representative Jeff Cason of Bedford, received bad news when he saw his district redesign itself into a shade of dark blue – the one Biden won by 27 points. Cason did not immediately comment.
At the same time, several House Republicans whose districts Biden wore last year received more red districts under the proposed map – but likely not red enough to avoid another competitive contest next year. For example, in suburban Dallas, Biden scored a 9-point victory in State Representative Jeff Leach’s district, R-Plano, although the card proposal only moves to a district that Trump was wearing from. 2 points.
Only two seats were returned last year to the lower house – both in the Houston area – and the proposed card makes each more holder-friendly rather than more competitive. State Representative Mike Schofield’s seat, R-Katy, would turn redder, while State Representative Ann Johnson’s seat, D-Houston, would turn blue.
This is the first time in decades that federal law has allowed Texas to draw and use political maps without first obtaining federal approval to ensure they do not violate the rights of people of color. This federal preclearance requirement in the Voting Rights Act was gutted by the Supreme Court in 2013.
Since the enactment of the Voting Rights Act in 1965, Texas has not gone through a decade without a federal court reprimanding it for violating federal protections for voters of color.
The Texas Tribune is a non-partisan, non-profit media organization that educates – and engages with – Texans about public policy, politics, government, and statewide issues. This story has been edited for length.