July 02, 2003
Today's redistricting report

Here is the new map (via Burnt Orange - for whatever reason, the Chron story, which I'll get to in a minute, doesn't have a link to this). It leaves the 18th CD more or less as it was (and more importantly, if this winds up being the new map, it leaves me in the 18th instead of dropping me into Culberson's infernal 7th CD), and it puts the 25th CD back (mostly) in Harris County. It still moves all of those pesky black voters out of Tom DeLay's 22nd CD, but I suppose any Republican-drawn map will do that.

Here's the Chron's take on the new proposal:

The 25th remains in Harris County in the new map, but it loses the eastern portion of the county while picking up some of Fort Bend County. King said Bell should be able to win re-election in the new district.

However, Bell's home is moved into the 7th District of Republican John Culberson. Bell would have to move back into the 25th District to seek re-election.

The King map also substantially increases the minority population of the 25th District from a current black and Hispanic population of 57 percent to a proposed 70 percent minority population.

The proposed 25th would include most of the state House district of Democratic Rep. Ron Wilson, a redistricting committee member. Wilson has been working with Republicans to secure a new district that would elect a black politician.

The 9th District in the first King map was turned into a black district that stretched from Beaumont to north Houston. But the district is pulled back in the new map just to include two portions of eastern Harris County. King said it no longer could be considered to be a black district as in his first proposal.

The district instead would become a solid Republican district based on the 2002 vote in the race for lieutenant governor.

Lampson also would have his home moved out of the district and into the Republican territory of Rep. Kevin Brady, R-The Woodlands.

Rep. Shelia Jackson Lee's 18th District appears to more closely compare to her current district than the one that King first proposed. The black population of the district would decline by 2 percent to be 41 percent of the district's population, while the Hispanic population of the district would grow by 3 percent to 36 percent.

Green's home territory would be moved out of his 29th District. The Hispanic population of the 29th District would increase from 62 percent to 66 percent, making it more likely that Green could be beaten by a Hispanic politician in a Democratic primary. The district's political makeup would remain strongly Democratic.

In other parts of Texas, King's map apparently would cause potential political losses for Democratic Reps. Martin Frost of Dallas, Charles Stenholm of Abilene and Chet Edwards of Waco.

Emphasis mine. First and foremost, if this map or any other like it goes through and Ron Wilson does challenge Chris Bell or any other sitting Democratic Congress member in the 2004 primary, I swear on the grave of Inigo Montoya's father that I will do everything in my power to help defeat the sonofabitch. You can take that to the bank.

Second, just an idle thought: Suppose this map goes through, and in 2004 Frost, Stenholm, Edwards, and Lampson win reelection anyway, preserving the bulk of the Democrats' delegation. Will Republicans try again in 2005? They've already set the precedent that they can redistrict to eradicate a result they don't like. What's to stop this from turning into the oldest established permanent floating crap game in the US?

The Statesman has a somewhat curious take on the new map:

The biggest change in Central Texas is in Williamson County, where rookie U.S. Rep. John Carter, R-Round Rock, would be in the same district as U.S. Rep. Chet Edwards, D-Waco. Williamson County, which is currently split into two districts, would be in a very different district than Carter won last year. However, the county would be the geographic and population center of the new district. Edwards' home county, McLennan, would be the one split into two districts.


Statewide, the Republicans appear likely to win a majority of the state's 32 congressional districts — at least 19 — by pitting 12 members of Congress against one another. The head-to-head contests would be: Joe Barton, R-Ennis, against Martin Frost, D-Arlington; John Culberson, R-Houston, against Chris Bell, D-Houston; Kevin Brady, R-The Woodlands, against Nick Lampson, D-Beaumont; Gene Green, D-Houston, against Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Houston; and Charles Stenholm, D-Stamford, against Randy Neugebauer, R-Lubbock.

There would be seven districts without incumbents, including a district drawn for Midland-Odessa. Republican House Speaker Tom Craddick is from Midland, a West Texas community traditionally represented by a member of Congress from Lubbock, in the Panhandle.

The other districts without incumbents include three in Houston, two in Dallas and a north Central Texas district centered on Bell and Coryell counties.

No way in hell that 2004 will see elections featuring all of those incumbents going against each other. For sure Bell, Lampson, Frost, and Green would move, and I'll bet Stenholm would as well. Edwards may move or may challenge Carter, I couldn't say. Of course, that assumes that 1) this is the final map, and 2) it survives the Senate and the inevitable court challenge.

The Dallas Morning News has the first mention that I've seen of Max Sandlin and Jim Turner:

Mr. King's map seeks to erase the Republican deficit by:

• Changing Mr. Frost's district by removing parts of southeast Tarrant County and adding Republican suburban North Dallas, including the Coppell area that houses potential GOP congressional candidate Ken Marchant. Mr. Marchant is a member of the House Redistricting Committee.

The map also places Mr. Frost's home into the district now represented by Mr. Barton of Ennis.

• Pairing two incumbents, Democrat Chet Edwards of Waco and Republican John Carter of Georgetown, in a majority Republican district.

• Pairing two incumbents, Democrat Nick Lampson of Beaumont in a majority Republican district with Republican Kevin Brady of The Woodlands.

• Pairing two incumbents, Democrat Charles Stenholm of Abilene in a mostly GOP district with Republican Randy Neugebauer of Waco.

• Flipping the East Texas districts of Democratic incumbent Max Sandlin of Marshall and Jim Turner of Crockett, throwing them both in majority Republican districts that include suburban voters.

Mr. Coleman said the plan puts Mr. Turner, Mr. Lampson, Mr. Edwards, Mr. Sandlin and Mr. Frost at most risk. But congressmen paired together could get around that by running for another district because they are not required to live in the district they represent.

According to the Star-Telegram, Martin Frost isn't worried just yet:

Frost said he's not sure which district he would seek to represent if the map is approved, but he's betting that the proposed districts will be rejected either by the Legislature, or ultimately in federal court.

"My overall reaction is it does not have a snowball's chance in hell of being approved by the federal courts," Frost said. The GOP-drawn map, he added, "really disenfranchises the black community in Fort Worth because it submerges the black community into a Republican district."

The Denton County-dominated district is represented by freshman U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Highland Village, who succeeded longtime GOP Congressman Dick Armey.

Frost predicted that the proposal will be revised several times before anything is sent to the final drawing board. "This is just another shot in the battle," he said.

The veteran Democrat also said he was surprised that U.S. Rep. Kay Granger, a Republican, was given much of west Tarrant County, while Barton was given much of the eastern part of the county. Burgess' district, under the new plan, would slice through the middle of Tarrant County, cutting into some black and Hispanic neighborhoods that have supported Frost.


Frost said he believes he could retain his District 24 seat even though the Republican plan would make it far more favorable to a GOP candidate in Dallas County. He noted that his newly redrawn district would have 47 percent Hispanic voters, who traditionally favor Democrats, and 8 percent black voters, who also lean more favorably toward Democrats.

The only interesting thing I could find in the San Antonio Express-News was in this story about the expanded agenda of the special session:

Sen. Frank Madla, a San Antonio Democrat, saw the expanded call as giving reason to the session.

"I guess we're here. We ought to be doing something else that's really meaningful," Madla said after Perry expanded the session agenda.

"I have never felt that being here specifically for congressional redistricting was that important. I don't see a groundswell" for the issue.

With Sen. Eddie Lucio stating that he won't support any redistricting maps that aren't endorsed by LULAC and MALDEF, Madla is one of two wavering Democratic Senators that the GOP would need to pick up in order to get the 2/3 majority for floor debate. He's been quoted as saying he's "undecided" and "praying" about the issue, but this quote makes him look like he doesn't care. I'm not sure what to make of that.

In other coverage, Byron has what happened in McAllen at the Senate redistricting hearings, and Hope has been listening to the committee meetings (links still wacky, scroll down to "More Redistricting"). If anyone here in Houston attends the Houston Senate hearings (1 PM, Cesar Chavez High School auditorium, 8501 Howard Drive), please take notes and tell me about it.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on July 02, 2003 to Killer D's | TrackBack

Maybe I'm dreaming, but isn't there a chance if they draw these lines too fine that they can endanger some of the incumbents? After all, if they are bleeding off Democratic leaning areas into Republican areas, those Democrats are still going to vote.

For instance, Tarrant County (where I am) will be divided between three different districts, all of them approximately 30% black and Latino. Now Kay Granger is established enough as a former mayor of Fort Worth to be safe, but I wonder about the freshman from Denton (Burgess, I think his name is). Enough of those Dems get pissed off, they may give him a run for his money, especially with demographics changing against him with every passing day. And the people in SE Fort Worth have never even heard of Joe Barton, although he's been around for a while.

With a massive voter reg campaign, and a targetted and strong get out the vote programs, I bet at least one of these "safe" Republican districts could turn on them (my money would be on Burgess, if we had a good candidate running against him).


Posted by: Brennan on July 2, 2003 7:12 PM

Brennan, that's what Bill Ratliff said recently:

Ratliff disagrees with many Republicans who argue redistricting is necessary for the GOP to gain additional seats in Congress.

“I think people need to understand there are five congressional districts held by Democrats that the numbers would tell you should be Republican,” Ratliff said.

Conservative Democrats hold those seats, Ratliff said, using Democrat Ralph Hall, D-Rockwall, as an example.

“He represents a strong Republican district, but the people keep sending him back,” Ratliff said.

People have a way of defying the numbers, the Republican senator from a primarily Democratic district said.

Ratliff issued a reminder of sorts to Republicans.

“In 1991 and in 1993, the Democrats shaved their margins too thin to move more Democrats into growing Republican areas,” Ratliff said. The end result was Democrats eventually lost more districts than they might have otherwise, he said.

Posted by: Charles Kuffner on July 2, 2003 8:23 PM

First, splitting Denton County is idiotic. Sure, Carrollton is in both Dallas and Denton Counties, but Northern Carrollton (the Denton County part) isn't even entirely in the Carrollton-Farmers Branch School District. They are in the Denton County based Lewisville School district. The idiot (King, R-Weatherford, not Houston, like I saw in a Chronicle online piece) needs to have his head examined for putting us in Frost's distrct. Frost is hated up here.

Posted by: David Block on July 3, 2003 9:48 AM