First proposed Congressional map is out

It’s a thing.

Texas lawmakers on Monday released their first draft of a new congressional map for the next decade that includes two new districts in Austin and Houston — metropolitan areas with diverse populations tht fueled much of the state’s population growth over the past 10 years.

Republicans constructed this map with incumbent protection in mind — a strategy that focused on bolstering Republican seats that Democrats targeted over the last two election cycles rather than aggressively adding new seats that could flip from blue to red. However, the map does in fact strengthen Republican positioning overall, going from 22 to 25 districts that voted for Donald Trump in 2020. The number of districts that voted for Joe Biden would shrink by one, from 14 to 13.

Texas members of the House GOP delegation were closely involved in the drawing process and approved the map last week, according to two sources close to the Texas delegation.

While many incumbents appear safe in these maps, others were drawn into districts that overlap with one another — for example the proposed map pits Houston Republican Rep. Dan Crenshaw against Democrat Rep. Sylvia Garcia. It also pits two Houston Democrats — Reps. Al Green and Sheila Jackson Lee — against each other.

The maps were proposed by state Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Houston, who leads the chamber’s redistricting committee.


Huffman’s first 38-district proposal would widen the gap between the parties, creating 25 districts that voted for Trump in 2020 and 13 that voted for Biden.

The racial makeup of the congressional maps is also expected to change as Texas added two new congressional seats based on last decade’s population growth, which was mostly driven by people of color. Based on eligible voters, the current map includes 22 districts with white majorities, eight with Hispanic majorities, one with a Black majority and five that have no majority. The newly proposed map includes 23 districts with white majorities, seven with Hispanic majorities, none with a Black majority and eight that have no majority.

Available data can be found here. Patrick Svitek has some numbers, which I’ll summarize briefly:

– Of the 14 districts carried by Biden in 2020, 12 were carried by him under this map. The exceptions are Republican-held CD24, which goes from Biden +5 to Trump +12, and Democratic-held CD15, which goes from Biden +2 to Trump +3. That may make CD15 the new CD23, which went from Trump +1 to Trump +7.

– Of the two new districts, CD37 in Travis County is deep, dark blue (Biden +53), while CD38 in Harris County is Trump +18. Let’s just say I don’t think it will remain that red over time.

– Regardless of what the story says, it seems clear to me that Reps. Crenshaw, Green, Jackson Lee, and Garcia would run in and win the same-numbered districts as they have now.

– Reps. Colin Allred and Lizzie Fletcher get much bluer districts. Maybe that makes them vulnerable to primary challenges, I don’t know. Rep. Henry Cuellar in CD28 gets a district that is less favorable for his 2020 primary challenger, Jessica Cisneros.

– Overall I think I agree with Michael Li:

This map uses the same strategy as the Senate and SBOE maps in that it shores up a Harris County incumbent (in this case Crenshaw) by extending his district into Montgomery County, and shores up some other incumbents (see in particular Reps. Williams in CD25 and Carter in CD31) by making their districts more rural. As the meme says, it’s a bold strategy, we’ll see how it works for them.

The Chron focuses on the Harris County piece of this, with the following observation:

A spokesman for Wesley Hunt, a Republican who ran against Fletcher in 2020, said the former Army helicopter pilot would run for the new District 38 seat if lawmakers were to adopt the initial map proposal.

Hunt had previously announced he was running in 2022 but had yet to settle on a district while awaiting the proposed map.

That sound you hear is me rolling my eyes, and yes I am rolling them hard enough for it to be audible. The Texas Signal has more.

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9 Responses to First proposed Congressional map is out

  1. voter_worker says:

    The Tribune paragraph asserting “overlapping districts” and incumbents pitted against each other needs editing for clarity, since districts do not actually overlap on any given map and US Reps are not Constitutionally required to reside in the district they represent.

  2. Flypusher says:

    I see that they’re proposing to split Pearland to protect sedition caucus member Nehls. Too many Dems in the west side.

  3. voter_worker says:

    I counted 25 voting precincts cut by the new lines. There could be a few more that I missed.

  4. Flypusher says:

    My friends in the Rice U area probably do like the prospect of not being in Crenshaw’s district anymore.

    The map Doug links to does indeed make sense, no dragon or Bart Simpson shapes.

  5. voter_worker says:

    It looks like C2102 might cause Districts 18 and 29 to favor Republican candidates. It puts most of the northeast quadrant of inside-the-Loop in District 2, the strong R territory of Tomball, Woodlands Township and Spring in District 18, and the entire SE part of Harris County in District 29. This link allows viewing at the voting precinct level.

  6. Doris Murdock says:

    Interesting and valid perspective by one of the political analysts on KUHF’s Houston Matters this morning: When electoral maps are designed to protect the incumbents, there are fewer competitive districts, which means each party has less, if no, incentive to compromise with the other. It seems to me, that, by extension, such silos or voter ghettos encourage and entrench unhelpful policies. Those supporting Medicaid expansion, access to voting, women’s health, and common sense gun policies are held hostage by the minority.

    And, this is certainly an understatement, Mr. K! “Texas members of the House GOP delegation were closely involved in the drawing process and approved the map last week . . “

  7. asmith says:

    I’ll let Houston folks speculate about Fletcher but Allred will be in pretty good shape in a primary.

    Most of his base remains intact. He picked up areas from Lance Gooden in TX-5 that have begged to be put in TX-32. He does pick up some high primary turnout precincts along both sides of I-30 in far east Dallas, but most of SE Dallas is fairly low turnout. I don’t see any big names trying to challenge him. The action in Dallas will be for TX-30 if/when EBJ retires, and possibly TX-33 as the hispanic voting age population increases.

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