Rep. Nick Lampson has made up his mind: he's running in the 2nd CD.
Lampson, who has represented the 9th District since 1997, will run in the new 2nd District, which extends from eastern Harris County to Beaumont. The 9th District moved to south Harris County in the redistricting plan passed last year by the state Legislature and approved recently by a federal court.
The existing 9th District, which includes a fraction of Harris County and all of Galveston, Chambers and Jefferson counties, gave a slight edge to Republicans in recent statewide elections while continuing to elect Lampson.
The new 2nd, which includes all of Jefferson and parts of Liberty and Harris counties, has voted 67 percent Republican. More than half a dozen candidates have announced in the Republican primary for the new district.
"For eight years I have had the privilege of representing Jefferson and Harris counties in the United States Congress and welcome the opportunity to also serve the people of Liberty as well as other Harris County citizens," Lampson said in his announcement.
He previously had hinted that he might challenge House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Sugar Land, in the 22nd Congressional District. DeLay was the leader of efforts to redraw Texas districts in a manner expected to send more than 20 Republicans to the House from Texas.
Former Austin Mayor Gus Garcia has decided against running in the new 10th CD. His odds would not have been particularly good, but it would have been nice to have a viable candidate nonetheless. The GOP primary winner here will likely face no more than token opposition.
It's still not official, but Rep. Martin Frost is looking like a sure thing to run against Rep. Pete Sessions in the 32nd CD.
There was considerable buzz at a Dallas Democratic event this week that Frost had decided to run against Sessions, said state Rep. Lon Burnam, D-Fort Worth.
"Everybody was talking about it all evening long," Burnam said. As the crowd whispered, he said, "Martin was standing at the door greeting people."
Some political insiders say Sessions is the least insulated against a challenge by Frost.
While 57.6 percent of the voters in the new 32nd District are believed to be Republicans, Frost would be considered the favorite among blacks and Hispanics, which make up 39 percent of the district.
The 32nd District also contains Jewish and Islamic neighborhoods that Democrats hope would swing toward Frost. His name is already familiar in areas of the district that he has represented in the past.
"He knows what's going on. He understands the big picture. He knows this congressional district is the one in North Texas where he has the best chance of overcoming the odds," Burnam said.
Dallas County Democratic officials said they have lobbied Frost to run in their county, with hopes that his campaign's organizational resources would benefit candidates lower on the ballot. "I've been praying at night that he would run in the 32nd," said Susan Hays, chairwoman of the county's Democratic Party.
Art Brender, chairman of the Tarrant County Democratic Party, said he has asked Frost to run against Michael Burgess or Joe Barton, incumbent Republicans whose districts contain considerable chunks of Tarrant County. But even if it means leaving Tarrant County, Brender added, "I want to see him run where he can get elected, because he's been such a valuable member of the Texas delegation."
In Washington, some insiders are convinced that Frost will run against Sessions.
"Everybody here seems to think it's Sessions," said Jim Ellis, political consultant to House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Sugar Land. "Sessions' people seem to think it's true."