September 23, 2003
Perry's proposal falls flat

Governor Perry's "compromise" map got a big raspberry from Senate Republicans. Full coverage is here, here, here, here and here. Here's what they're saying about it, taken from each of the new accounts:

Sen. Kip Averitt, R-Waco, questioned the value of drawing a map for only part of Texas. Perry's map would divide McClennan, Coryell and Bell counties into separate congressional districts, which has been strongly opposed by community leaders in Averitt's Senate district.

"Doesn't he (Perry) care about the rest of the state?" asked Averitt. "How can you negotiate half a state? What I've seen, I don't like."

Perry's map also immediately drew opposition from Sen. Teel Bivins, R-Amarillo, who has been supporting Craddick in his effort to get a congressional district for Midland. Bivins' state Senate district includes Midland. But the Perry plan would split the Panhandle into two districts and push the district of U.S. Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Amarillo, to east of Dallas along the Red River.

"I continue to support Speaker Craddick in his effort to create a district that enhances the chances of electing a congressman from the Permian Basin," Bivins said in a statement. "However, I would not be able to agree to a map which needlessly dissects a community of interest in the Texas Panhandle."


Sen. Jeff Wentworth, a San Antonio Republican whose district includes southern Travis County, said he has questions about the governor's proposal.

"I'd like to see the whole map," Wentworth said. "You can't just do East Texas or West Texas or North Texas or South Texas, because they all have ripple effects."

The governor's map leaves Travis, Williamson, Bastrop, Caldwell and Hays counties blank.

Sen. Todd Staples, R-Palestine, author of the map heading to the Senate floor today, said the Perry-backed version leaves many unanswered questions.

"It's significant progress from the viewpoint of West Texas, but it leaves a good bit of uncharted territory that must be filled in," he said.


Sen. Robert Duncan, R-Lubbock, chairman of the panel that hears redistricting bills, said he also welcomed the House effort to seek compromise but didn't embrace the governor's map.

"While this plan is one option, it maintains some problems in West Texas and it doesn't take into account the progress we have made in drawing East Texas districts," he said. "Much work remains to be done, and during the coming days, I will continue to work with my Senate and House colleagues to develop a fair redistricting plan."


[I]t was unclear late Monday whether Perry's proposal can even be considered for debate since it didn't make a 5 p.m. deadline for written amendments, as stipulated by Senate rules.

"It's got too many moving parts and it is unacceptable to too many senators," said Dave Beckwith, spokesman for Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, the Senate's presiding officer.

"I would not call this a compromise because it decimates the voices of Central Texans," said Sen. Kip Averitt, R-Waco. "This map addresses a small part of Texas, and frankly, it is insulting to me that all the concerns we heard during statewide Senate public hearings will be dismissed simply to address the Midland issue."

I think "dead in the water" is the applicable phrase here. Sen. Averitt of Waco was the most vocal, and has more to say in the Waco Trib.

Meanwhile, the Senate Democrats are plotting strategy.

"I really think the Democrats will fight this on the floor and will voice their constituents' concerns but I think what you'll see is that we're going to be professional. We're going to be respectful," said Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, chairwoman of the Senate Democratic Caucus.


Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, said the senators will point out deficiencies in the proposed redistricting map as they debate the bill on the floor.

Sen. Gonzalo Barrientos, D-Austin, held out the chance that he could try to filibuster the bill on the floor to delay it from getting approved.

"I don't want to give the other side any information," Barrientos said when asked if he would filibuster.

Finally, here's an editorial from the Amarillo Globe-News that questions Speaker Craddick's tactics.

We're all for the GOP strengthening its conservative influence on the state, but is Tom Craddick's power play the way to do it?

Craddick, the GOP House speaker from Midland, favors a redistricting plan that includes a congressional district with Midland as the focal point.

This way, Craddick kills two birds with one stone.

By separating Midland from Lubbock, which is the current configuration of the 19th District represented by freshman Randy Neugebauer, R-Lubbock, Craddick creates a congressional district for his home.

Secondly, by combining Lubbock with Abilene in a newly configured district, U.S. Rep. Charles Stenholm, a Democrat, would have to face Neugebauer at the ballot box.

It is debatable whether Neugebauer, still paying his dues in Congress, could defeat the popular Stenholm, but either way Craddick comes out ahead.

Obviously state Sen. Robert Duncan, R-Lubbock, is not too thrilled with Craddick's redistricting map. It remains to be seen if a compromise can be reached or if a showdown awaits.

We fail to see the pressing need to hack up West Texas for Craddick, Midland or any other politician or city. If some justification can be made to do so, we're all ears. Otherwise, we would prefer Republicans flex their muscles where they do so best - at the ballot box rather than through redistricting.

Link via Save Texas Reps. As always, stay tuned.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on September 23, 2003 to Killer D's | TrackBack

A map is going to happen.
There is nothing going on in the country right now as politically important to Karl Rove as getting a Texas map passed. This is one of those "short term effort, long term gain" projects, not unlike filling the courts with conservative judges, and Rove through Delay will let some fussing and feuding go on, but at some point, I see phone calls being made and assistant EPA chairmanships being promised. There seems to me just no way that Bush and Rove would throw away a chance to keep Texas Republican for the decade.

Posted by: brett on September 23, 2003 4:38 PM