Two New Texas Congressional Districts Added to Houston, Austin in Proposed Redistribution Map | State News
Texas lawmakers on Monday released their first draft of a new congressional map for the next decade that includes two new districts in Austin and Houston – metropolitan areas with diverse populations that have fueled much of the country’s population growth ‘State over the past 10 years.
Republicans constructed this map with incumbent protection in mind – a strategy focused on bolstering Republican seats that Democrats have targeted over the past two election cycles rather than aggressively adding new seats that could turn from blue to red. However, the map actually bolsters Republican positioning as a whole, dropping from 22 to 25 ridings that voted for Donald Trump in 2020. The number of ridings that voted for Joe Biden would decrease by one, from 14 to 13.
Texas members of the House GOP delegation were closely involved in the design process and approved the map last week, according to two sources close to the Texas delegation.
While many cardholders appear safe on these cards, others have been drawn into overlapping districts – for example, the proposed card pits Houston Republican Representative Dan Crenshaw against Democratic Representative Sylvia Garcia. He also pits two Houston Democrats – Reps Al Green and Sheila Jackson Lee – against each other.
The cards were proposed by State Senator Joan Huffman, R-Houston, who heads the chamber redistribution committee.
Democrats, who have been in power for decades, have tried to make state elections more competitive, but the reshuffle of the cards in Congress gives the GOP an opportunity to maintain its advantage for another decade.
The current 36-seat Texas congressional delegation is made up of 23 Republicans and 13 Democrats. According to the new map, Texas will have 38 seats in Congress and 40 electoral votes in the upcoming presidential election.
The racial makeup of Congress cards is also expected to change, as Texas added two new congressional seats based on population growth over the past decade, which was primarily driven by people of color. Based on eligible voters, the current map includes 22 districts with a white majority, eight with a majority Hispanic, one with a majority black, and five without a majority. The newly proposed map includes 23 districts with a majority white, seven with a majority Hispanic, none with a majority black, and eight without a majority.
This is only the first draft of the map, which is subject to change before it is passed by the Texas legislature and signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott.
Less competitive neighborhoods
If approved, the proposed map would narrow the battlefield of competitive racing for Democrats and Republicans.
Based on the results of the 2020 presidential election, there will be only one district in the state – the 15th Congressional District of South Texas that has a margin between Biden and Trump voters less than five points.
As a result, nearly all incumbents at risk on both sides of the aisle will likely have easier paths to re-election.
The most obvious exception to this is U.S. Representative Vicente Gonzalez, who has a surprisingly close end to 2020. His district, once a secure Democratic seat, now leans in favor of Republicans. But instead of a veritable South Texas GOP offensive targeting two other neighboring Democratic districts, cartographers bolstered Democratic voters in the seats held by U.S. Representative Henry Cuellar de Laredo and Filemon Vela of Brownsville – specifically the seat. de Vela, who is retiring – at Gonzalez’s expense. His 15th district has gone from a seat Biden carried to a seat where Trump narrowly won.
But the card was a relief for most of the other cardholders.
United States Democratic Representative Colin Allred of Dallas surprised Republicans in 2018 when he managed to dislodge the once-safe 32nd Republican Congressional District. Instead of targeting him this time around, Republicans sought to bolster neighboring Republicans by filling his district with Democrats and virtually ensuring that a Democrat would retain his seat for years to come.
To its west, the seat of Republican Representative of the United States Beth Van Duyne has gone from a Biden district carried by nearly 6 points in 2020 to a solid Trump district of 12 points. In 2020, Democrats heavily targeted Van Duyne and several other Republican seats.
The new card has also packed more Trump voters in Texas’ 23rd District, currently held by Republican United States Rep. Tony Gonzales, who has served for many cycles over the past 18 years as the sole seat. competitive US House. The new version of that district saw Trump win by a seven-point margin, a radical departure from the seat Hillary Clinton held in 2016.
U.S. Representative Lizzie Pannill Fletcher, a Democrat from Houston, will likely run in a revamped version of her 7th Congressional District. Like Allred, his 2018 victory came as a surprise to Republicans. But instead of targeting her, they extended part of the Republican vote in her region to Republican incumbents.
Elsewhere in Houston, the retirement of U.S. Representative Kevin Brady allowed Republicans to split up its 8th district based in Montgomery County in order to bolster neighboring Republican districts held by U.S. Representatives Michael McCaul of Austin, Dan Crenshaw of Houston and the 38th newly created district.
The state won two seats in the redistribution and at first glance they appear to be divided between the two parties.
The new 37th Congressional District will bring together central and western Austin, somewhat resembling a long-standing district that United States Democratic Representative Lloyd Doggett occupied until Republicans dismantled it in 2003. It was immediately clear whether he would run in that district or continue to serve in the 35th of Congress. District, which extends to the county of Bexar. At the time, Republicans aimed to dilute the liberal vote in Austin, which is divided into several congressional districts, several of which had otherwise rural populations. But as that decade wore on, Austin’s liberal vote was so powerful that otherwise confident Republicans had to fight hard to get re-elected.
The other new seat is the 38th Congressional District in western and northern Harris County, which will likely be safe Republican territory.
This will be the first political mapping round in Texas since the United States Supreme Court overturned provisions to protect voters of color from discrimination. Previously, states with a long history of electoral discrimination, such as Texas, had to receive federal approval before making changes to election laws or political maps.
But the Supreme Court essentially removed that requirement in 2013, leaving no buffer for voters of color if lawmakers passed discriminatory cards.
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.