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Just an observation

I’ve heard it said many times that the Congressional redistricting performed by the Texas Lege in 1991 was a masterful job of gerrymandering by the Democrats. After the 1992 election, the first one held following that session, the Texas Congressional delegation had 21 Dems and 9 Republicans.

In 1994, Steve Stockman ousted 20-term veteran Jack Brooks in the 9th CD, while Mac Thornberry unseated Bill Sarpaulius in the 13th.

In 1996, Pete Geren did not run for reelection in the 12th, opening the door for Kay Granger. Greg McLaughlin changed parties after the 94 election, then lost a Republican primary challenge to Ron Paul. John Bryant abandoned his 5th CD seat in an unsuccessful bid for the Democratic nomination for Senate, and Pete Sessions swooped in. Meanwhile, Nick Lampson made the loopy Stockman a one-termer.

That’s the last time an incumbent was defeated, though several others have had close calls, and it’s the last time a seat changed parties. There were a few retirements (Bill Archer, Dick Armey, Jack Fields) and other open seats (Ken Bentsen), but in each case the same party held the seat.

Thus, in the two elections immediately following the “great gerrymander” election of 1992, the Republicans picked up four seats. They got two more after the 2001 reapportionment, bringing us to the current total.

I don’t really have a point to make here, I just thought this was interesting. Make of it what you will. You can find all of the data here; please note that there was a “special” election and a runoff election in 1996, which accounts for most of the several missing Congressional election results in the November general election.

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7 Comments

  1. From The Almanac of American Politics 2000, p. 1515:

    Congressional Redistricting. Texas’s congressional redistricting plan was the shrewdest gerrymander of the 1990s. The original 1990 redistrictin plan was the product of Bob Mansker, aide to Democratic Congressman Martin Frost, put into law when Democrats controlled the legislature and held the governorship. While modified in 1996 by court ruling, it is still in effect for 17 of the 30 districts, and has not been changed much for the others. The lines were smoothed out for the heavily black 30th District in Dallas and 18th District in Houston and the heavily Latino 29th District in Houston, and accordingly in adjacent districts. This Democratic gerrymander has not been entirely availing against the clear Republican trend in Texans’ voting. In 1992 Democrats carried the popular vote for House by only 50%-48% but won 21 of 30 seats. In 1994 they lost the popular vote 56%-42%, but won 19 seats. In 1996 and 1998 they lost the popular vote 54%-44% and 52%-44% and still won 17 seats.

    To call this anything but a gerrymander isn’t correct by any stretch of the imagination.

  2. From The Almanac of American Politics 2000, p. 1515:

    Congressional Redistricting. Texas’s congressional redistricting plan was the shrewdest gerrymander of the 1990s. The original 1990 redistrictin plan was the product of Bob Mansker, aide to Democratic Congressman Martin Frost, put into law when Democrats controlled the legislature and held the governorship. While modified in 1996 by court ruling, it is still in effect for 17 of the 30 districts, and has not been changed much for the others. The lines were smoothed out for the heavily black 30th District in Dallas and 18th District in Houston and the heavily Latino 29th District in Houston, and accordingly in adjacent districts. This Democratic gerrymander has not been entirely availing against the clear Republican trend in Texans’ voting. In 1992 Democrats carried the popular vote for House by only 50%-48% but won 21 of 30 seats. In 1994 they lost the popular vote 56%-42%, but won 19 seats. In 1996 and 1998 they lost the popular vote 54%-44% and 52%-44% and still won 17 seats.

    To call this anything but a gerrymander isn’t correct by any stretch of the imagination.

  3. For the record, I’m not calling it anything else. Like I said, I just thought the history of what followed was interesting.

  4. Jim D says:

    The Almanac has its own agenda. Anyhow, I’d argue that calling the ’91 redistricting the “shrewdest” in the nation is a function not of how bad (or good) Texas Dems did, but more likely that the 90s just didn’t have very many good gerrymanders.

    Incidentally, though, in the 92 election the Democratic congressional candidates got about 55 percent of the vote and ended up with 21 seats. Now the Republicans get 55 percent of the vote and want 21+ seats. “So there.”

  5. Todd G says:

    Dont forget that the 21+ now comes from a total of 32 available districts whereas the Democrats in 1991 were claiming 21 out of 30. Texas picked up two districts following the 2000 census.

  6. Ally says:

    Actually, I belive the term “GerryManskering” was coined for the redistricting. If memory serves…

  7. David says:

    Does anyone know the results from the district 9 race in texas from 1992,1994 and 1996? If you do could you please email them to me. I keep records of that sort of thing. Thank you in advance. My email is [email protected]