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Our first Congressional race ratings

From Politico, here’s the early view of the state of Texas’ Congressional races in 2020.

Lean Dem

CD23 (Open, R)
CD32 (Allred, D)

Tossup

CD07 (Fletcher, D)
CD22 (Open, R)
CD24 (Open, R)

Lean GOP

CD02 (Crenshaw, R)
CD10 (McCaul, R)
CD21 (Roy, R)
CD31 (Carter, R)

Likely GOP

CD03 (Taylor, R)
CD06 (Wright, R)
CD17 (Open, R)
CD25 (Williams, R)

The rest are all Solid for their respective parties. A few thoughts:

Rep. Lizzie Fletcher

– I think they are underrating CD07. It’s a Lean Dem to me, based on Rep. Fletcher’s performance, the continued anti-Trump atmosphere, the overall strength of the HCDP and the overall weakness of the Harris County GOP. Until and unless I see something to make me think otherwise, CD07 and CD32 are equivalent.

– The three Republican-held-but-open seats that are Lean Dem or Tossup seem right to me. I’ve been burned by CD23 before, but I’ve chosen to believe that Rep. Will Hurd had some special sauce that enabled him to survive two elections he really should have lost. We’ll see if I’m right about that or if this district will bedevil us again.

– The Lean GOP districts sure seem to be on a spectrum. On the one end, CD10 was carried by Beto O’Rourke in 2018, and all three Dems are raising good money; CD21 is a bit redder, but Wendy Davis is killing it in fundraising. On the other end, we still have no idea who might emerge as a serious contender in CD31, while Dan Crenshaw is getting Will Hurd levels of undeserved media attention, while also sitting on three million bucks in his campaign coffers. Both are trending in the right direction, and Elisa Cardnell is a good candidate (who now has a primary opponent), but it’s not hard to imagine these races being classified as “likely GOP” in the future or by other prognosticators.

– The Likely GOP districts seem about right, though the inclusion of CD17 is optimistic, to put it mildly, even if it is an open seat and even if the Ukraine-compromised Pete Sessions is the GOP nominee. (Unless someone persuades Chet Edwards to jump in, which would change things considerably.) CDs 03 and 06 have candidates with fundraising potential, and could possibly get upgraded if everything goes well. CD25 is a step behind them, but having it on the radar at all is a sign of how much things, and the perception of things, have changed since 2016.

– We’re getting way, way ahead of ourselves, but the GOP is going to have to think long and hard about what the landscape is going to look like over the next decade. The 2011/2013 gerrymander worked very well for them in a state that was 55-60% Republican. In a state that’s a tossup or close to it, they have a lot of seats to defend. Texas will get more Congressional seats in 2021, assuming its idiotic penury in supporting the Census doesn’t cause a dramatic undercount, which will give a bit more latitude, but the basic questions about how many reasonably safe GOP seats the state can support will remain. And if the Dems take the State House and gain leverage over the process, those questions will get even trickier for them.

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6 Comments

  1. Tom in Lazybrook says:

    Yep. Im thinking that the GOP will have some terrible choices in their 2021 gerrymandering attempts.

    Im really wondering how theyre going to try to gerrymander the state House and Senate. Remember they wont have extra seats to play with in those districts. And with a falling number of Republican voters relative to Democratic ones, some Republican incumbents may be faced with more competition in their own districts and might not vote for a hard GOP gerrymander that puts them into danger.

    If the Dems win the Presidency in 2020, the GOP will also face real scrutiny from the DOJ over minority opportunity districts. If the GOP wins in 2020, theyll face a truly catastrophic political environment in 2022 in the suburbs and one where there will likely be strong statewide candidates.

    I suspect theyll try to crack Hispanic representation, taking advantage of lower turnout rates in those districts and hope that they can delay judicial remediation of that (However a large undercount of Hispanic voters frustrates that to an extent). Plus, that theyll likely try to ignore county lines in legislative seats. But in the end, theres nothing they can do to change the fact that every district cannot be anchored in Comal or Montgomery Counties.

  2. blank says:

    Im thinking that the GOP will have some terrible choices in their 2021 gerrymandering attempts.

    I can easily see Democrats hitting some high-water marks in 2020, making it not terribly hard. In the State House, my guess is that the focus of the gerrymandering will likely be in Tarrant and the suburban counties, while leaving the urban counties with maybe a few lean Republican seats. With very few urban Republicans likely left after 2020, this won’t be much of a challenge. If Democrats don’t pick up a seat in Tarrant though, then I could see them dummymandering it. There are probably a few Tarrant Republican reps who are secretly hoping that some of their colleagues lose, so they can set up a fourth or even fifth Democratic voter sink on Tarrant.

    As for Congress, I recently drew a 13-26 map using Dave’s redistricting page. It was pretty crazy in appearance, but it looked legal in my I-am-not-a-lawyer eyes. The Republicans will likely have no more than 21 incumbents after 2020, so that gives them a lot flexibility to protect them. The State Senate will be 13-18 after 2020. Protecting those 18 incumbents could be a challenge. In the Metroplex, Paxton, Hancock, and Nelson can be protected by making Powell’s and Johnson’s districts Democratic voter sinks. However, the other swingier districts will require more creativity. Though if you can build a 13-26 map in Congress, you can definitely build a 13-18 map in the State Senate.

  3. Tom in Lazybrook says:

    Isnt Daves limited to 2016 data? And did your analysis keep counties whole when possible?

  4. blank says:

    Isnt Daves limited to 2016 data?

    Yes, so populations aren’t exact. But, of the 26 districts, 2 of them were Trump 17-point wins. The other 24 districts were even more Republican.

    And did your analysis keep counties whole when possible?

    No even close; but this is not required in for the Congressional or State Senate maps. The county rule only applies to the State House.

  5. asmith says:

    I work in CD32 and the demographics are getting worse for the gop especially in the new, trendy apartment/lofts developments from Richardson down US75 to uptown Dallas. The north central expressway is basically the political demarcation point in north dallas now. Even the old GOP stronghold areas in Preston Hollow, Far North Dallas, and Lake Highlands are far less Republican. Only ruby red precincts are in the Park Cities, and the parts of north Richardson/Sachse/Rowlett near the Dallas/Collin county line.

    CD22 is a tossup, CD24 is slight tilt R at best, and I think we have a good shot at 10, 21 and maybe the 31st. I think the 3rd is changing fast but Van Taylor is a millionaire and it will be tough for the D nominee to get on the national radar.

    I agree that the GOP should make SD16 a vote sink but the GOP donor class in the park cities/preston hollow will want a GOP senator. Will be interesting to see what they do since Nathan Johnson actually lives in preston hollow. They could easily add the east side of white rock lake and Mesquite, shed the park cities/much of preston hollow, and make the 16th a vote sink.

  6. […] start with CD02, which was a race of interest in 2018 and which has a higher profile this time around. Elisa Cardnell was one of the first new candidates of the cycle, and has been a […]

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