What about Lizzie?

Rep. Lizzie Fletcher is waiting to see what happens to her district with redistricting, just like the rest of us.

Rep. Lizzie Fletcher

Lizzie Pannill Fletcher’s political career became something of a trophy to Washington Democrats in 2018 after she won the Houston-based 7th Congressional District — long a bastion of Texas Republican leadership.

The seat was once held by the late President George H. W. Bush, and one of Fletcher’s most prominent constituents is U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz. The 7th was designed to be a safe Republican stronghold, but the 46-year-old former trial attorney snatched it away three years ago. And while many of her classmates from the 2018 Democratic wave lost reelection in 2020, she held on against a formidable Republican opponent.

Any day now, she’ll find out how intent Texas Republicans are on taking the seat back.

The Texas Legislature is poised to unveil its proposed maps for new Texas Congressional districts, and some expect they’ll redraw the 7th in a way that dooms Fletcher’s chances of winning there again.

Fletcher is well aware she is in political purgatory.

“I’ve always known that this is just part of the process and … there’s so much happening here, that perhaps it’s good that it’s not my focus,” she said in an interview. “It’s on my radar that my job is to represent my constituents and certainly hearing what I’ve heard, knowing what I know, I do feel a responsibility to try to protect the district and to protect them.”


What that district will look like after the Legislature is done drawing new maps is now one of the most debated questions in Texas politics, and the merciful scenarios for Fletcher are limited.

It’s an open secret that House GOP leadership wants to elevate her 2020 rival, retired veteran Wesley Hunt. And after Republicans held onto the Legislature last year, speculation began about how to draw maps in a way that would make it impossible for her, and U.S. Rep. Colin Allred, a Dallas Democrat also elected in 2018, to win reelection.


But eight state and national Republican operatives with direct ties to the Texas delegation warned in interviews that an aggressive effort to unseat Fletcher could endanger the Republican incumbents who surround her district: U.S. Reps. Michael McCaul of Austin, Dan Crenshaw of Houston and Troy Nehls of Richmond.

Historically, the Legislature listens to the sitting Congressional Republicans when they redraw maps, and McCaul, as a senior Republican, is serving as a point person between the state lawmakers and his GOP colleagues.

While early details of the new districts remain closely held, some Republican sources said they sense survival instincts are setting in among the federal Republicans. Meaning, few are excited about the notion of pulling conservative voters from nearby Republican incumbents’ districts to take out Fletcher.

Instead, the map drawers could decide to leave Fletcher alone, and siphon Republicans from her district to bolster the long term reelection chances of Republicans in neighboring districts.

But that might hurt Fletcher in a different way: Her district could end up including many new Democratic voters unfamiliar with her, leaving her vulnerable to a primary challenge from an established Houston Democrat.

Wesley Hunt is running for something, he just hasn’t specified what yet. Moving is always an option, for when the Republicans draw the new seats. As for Rep. Fletcher, we’ve discussed the scenarios a few times here. The Republican decline in Harris and Fort Bend counties is a challenge for them. I’m sure they can draw something that would favor a Republican over Fletcher, but at what risk to their incumbents in close districts? For what it’s worth, Dave Wasserman is predicting that Reps. Fletcher and Allred get packed and not cracked, which is to say their districts become Democratic vote sinks to protect the Republicans around them. That may make her more vulnerable to a primary challenge, but she’s pretty well-regarded and she has lots of cash on hand, two things that would help her in that scenario.

And if she does wind up on the outs, one way or another?

“I don’t know that I’ve thought through my process,” she said, describing how she will sort out her political future. “But I’m generally most concerned about making sure that my constituents get the representation they deserve.”

“At this point, all options are on the table,” she said.

When asked if that included retirement, she laughed: “I’m too young to retire, right?”

But there is another option.

The 2018 wave was consequential in Texas partly because it gave Democrats a farm team for the first time in decades. Fletcher could run for a different office.

“If I think I have something to offer, or if I think I can contribute … I have to kick the tires for a long time before I feel confident that I can do a job here, but I think I’ve done a good job here,” she said.

Lord knows, we can always use good statewide candidates. This is not how I would prefer to find them, but it’s a possible path. We’ll see where we go.

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10 Responses to What about Lizzie?

  1. Kibitzer says:


    – Congressional District Geewhatwasthenumber. — Huh ?

    Re: “protect the district and to protect them.”

    That doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. District lines are drawn for reasons other than delimiting a historically grown community – say a small city – and don’t have a collective identity. Many voters (not to mention recently signed-up registrants) don’t even know which of numerous overlapping electoral districts they reside in, though they might think of themselves as Houstonians, which is a meaningful geo-based collective identity, and H-Town a brand name with resonance. Clutch Town not so much any more. Mutt City anyone?


    A state Lege or congressional district generally is not a basis for a shared identity. At least not in states like Texas that are large and have many, so that the congressional district is not coextensive with a historically grown community.

    So, as for protection, it’s self-protection of an incumbent wanting to keep a seat in the legislature, whether within the same territory or somewhat altered.

    Don’t get me wrong, fellow Mutt City denizens.

    Political self-preservation is not a bad thing. After all, if you don’t get re-elected, you are not in the game and can’t accomplish much on the legislative front. Except by extra-parliamentary means, like getting yourself arrested on Capitol or Supreme Court steps holding a big colorful placard on a stick.

  2. Bill Daniels says:


    I think the nickname you were searching for was, “Clutch City,” popularized by folks memorializing our various sports franchises eking out come-from-behind victories. The back to back Rockets NBA championships cemented the name in Houston history.

    Of course, this was back in the 90’s, before the various sports franchises decided to alienate half the people in the city. Back then, Houstonians united in backing their hometown favorites who brought home the trophies.

    I remember those days, happy days, when the mood in the city was upbeat and positive. People who otherwise would have nothing in common found common ground to discuss and commiserate about the latest goings on of THEIR team.

    “Did you see when…..” was often a conversation starter. I admit I happily walked around wearing my own ‘Clutch City’ Rockets t-shirt, I think the only Rockets swag I ever actually bought, although I used to enjoy going to games back in the day.

    That was a high point for Houston, I think, and something that can never be repeated, even if, by some miracle, any of our sports teams actually win championships. Even if they do, for many of us, including me, the well has been poisoned. Those teams don’t represent me, or people who look like me. We’re specifically not wanted. I mean, OK, fine, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be nostalgic for a time when everyone had common purpose.

  3. voter_worker says:

    Godspeed to Isabel Longoria for having to make the laborious and exacting journey of preparing for the 2022 election cycle. The first obvious result to Harris County voters will be the mass-mailout of new voter certificates immediately after the voter database has been reconfigured to the new redistricting plans.

  4. C.L. says:

    Isn’t Lizzy currently running a TV spot depicting goose-stepping IRS Agents who are going to audit every single American taxpayer…’cause, ya know, they ain’t got nothing else to do ?

  5. Mainstream says:

    I saw the IRS attack ad, and also a Hurricane Tax ad directed against Congresswoman Fletcher today.

  6. Joel says:

    logorrhea sez:

    “District lines are drawn for reasons other than delimiting a historically grown community – say a small city – and don’t have a collective identity. ”

    i say: erm, miller v. johnson (1995) regarding “communities of interest”?

    with apologies for the extra “erm.”

  7. Lingo says:

    No worries, Joel … always plural

    ERM = Enterprise Risk Management

    In a traditional risk management framework, an organization only looks at things that are insurable. … ERM, on the other hand, goes beyond insurable hazards to include areas of risk that cannot be transferred through insurance.

    Fount of wisdom: https://www.erminsightsbycarol.com/traditional-risk-management-erm-differences/

    Don’t mention it.

  8. Kibitzer says:

    A State is free to recognize communities that have a particular racial makeup, provided its action is directed toward some common thread of relevant interests. “[W]hen members of a racial group live together in one community, a reapportionment plan that concentrates members of the group in one district and excludes them from others may reflect wholly legitimate purposes.” Shaw, 509 U. S., at 646.

    But where the State assumes from a group of voters’ race that they “think alike, share the same political interests, and will prefer the same candidates at the polls,” it engages in racial stereotyping at odds with equal protection mandates. Id., at 647; cf. Powers v. Ohio, 499 U. S. 400, 410 (1991) (“We may not accept as a defense to racial discrimination the very stereotype the law condemns”).

    Race was, as the District Court found, the predominant, overriding factor explaining the General Assembly’s decision to attach to the Eleventh District various appendages containing dense majority-black populations. 864 F. Supp., at 1372, 1378.

    Excerpt from Miller v. Johnson.

    So far, so good, as the equal protection analysis goes. What’s your point, Joel?

    Does anyone want more recially homogenous “homelands”? Or do want more Mutt City districts. Think Greater Southwest Hillcroft as an example.

  9. Joel says:

    “my point,” excruciator, is that your 3rd (?) comment in this thread appears to disagree with your 1st.

    sorry if that is so straightforward (and brief) as to elude your grasp.

  10. Pingback: First proposed Congressional map is out – Off the Kuff

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