First State House redistricting plan is up

Go here, click Select Plans, then Base Plan, then choose Plan H113. The first thing I noticed is that it did in fact reduce Harris County to 24 members. Here’s a screen grab:

This could be what Harris County State Rep districts look like

HD149 is the odd district out – it’s a weird barbell district that joins Burnet and Milam Counties via a thin strip of southern Williamson County. Go ahead, take a look at that and then tell me why MALDEF’s CD35 is too ugly to live.

According to the announcement letter from Redistricting Chair Burt Solomons, which you can see on this Trib post, the map pairs Reps. Scott Hochberg and Hubert Vo in Harris County. For what it’s worth, I’ll note that the “Other” population, which usually means “Asian”, is highest for HDs 137 (Hochberg) and 133, the latter being Rep. Jim Murphy’s district. See here for those numbers. Until we see data for previous elections, it’s hard to put it all in context. Note that this was the only Dem-on-Dem pairing – there were five R-on-R pairings elsewhere in the state, all driven by lagging population.

Beyond that, I don’t have much to say just yet. These things take time to figure out. I will note that this map moves me from HD148 to HD143. While I will be delighted to be represented by Rep. Ana Hernandez Luna, I will be equally sad to not be represented by Rep. Jessica Farrar, who has been my voice in Austin since I moved to the Heights in 1997. What do you think about this map?

UPDATE: From the Inbox, a statement from Rep. Carol Alvarado:

“The redistricting proposal by Chairman Solomons is a starting point, however, I believe there is still work left to do,” said Alvarado.

“I believe that there is a major deficiency in taking Harris County down from 25 districts to 24 districts. I believe that unlike other counties in Texas which have seen drastic loss, Harris County’s population did not significantly desert our county, they shifted from the east to the west. It is important that Harris County be able to maintain its 25 house districts in order to best represent our constituents.”

I’d prefer that Harris get 25 as well, but the numbers are what they are. I can’t fault the committee or Rep. Solomons for that.

UPDATE: And a statement from Rep. Garnet Coleman:

I know Chairman Solomons and the members have worked hard and we all have more steps to take in this process. However, I am disappointed that the first Harris County House map produced by the House leadership was devised and designed without the input of many members of the Harris County Delegation. This initial plan only allots Harris County 24 seats, contrary to the original instructions by Chairman Solomons to develop a 25 seat plan for Harris County.

Most importantly, Harris County loses representation under this plan because it pairs two incumbents who represent predominantly minority districts, which almost certainly violates the Voting Rights Act.

With a month left before this bill must be considered by the House, the public should have an opportunity to demand a fair plan instead of one that includes bizarre districts that can cause voters to lose faith in their government. Unfortunately, hearings on this map are scheduled in less than 48 hours. I intend to work with the House leaders to allow more input from our constituents who will be impacted for 10 years by this process.

I’m sure there will be more.

UPDATE: Found on Facebook, a statement from Rep. Jessica Farrar:

“At first glance, there are districts with the proposed House map that would make Tom Delay blush. Surely the final House plan won’t resemble this one, because it does not respect the voters and it violates the standards established by the Voting Rights Act. Simply put, this is not a fair or a legal plan. The map laid out today splits communities of interest and denies proper representation to people of color who drove the population growth in Texas for the past decade. Without question, Texans deserve better than another redistricting plan that puts politics ahead of fair representation for Texas voters. We’ll spend time listening to our constituents about this map and looking at compliance with the Voting Rights Act, legally accepted redistricting practices and protecting communities of interest.”

Keep ’em coming.

UPDATE: Still more, a twofer from PoliTex, from Postcards, and from Burka.

UPDATE: Here’s PDiddie, and Greg with the Google Maps view.

UPDATE: EoW analyzes that barbell monstrosity HD149. Burka analyzes the Republican pairings and longrer term prospects. Greg gives his take on the WilCo Barbell and has several other maps up besides.

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11 Responses to First State House redistricting plan is up

  1. blank says:

    I originally made the following predictions for the number of Democratic districts in the major counties:

    Harris 12, Tarrant 3, Bexar 7, Travis 5, and Dallas 6.

    Harris is a bit worse than I expected, and I can see where Farrar is coming from. There are only 11 solid Democratic seats, which is down from 12. I predicted that they would have to keep 12 to maintain VRA status, and it sounds like that’s the primary reason for concern. I think there are still a few Republican seats that could be picked up, like Murphy, Bohac, and Legler, but I understand why Harris Democrats would take issue with this map. Nonetheless, my prediction that Harris would have 12 D seats seems pretty close.

    Tarrant is almost exactly as I predicted with a new minority district in East Arlington. In fact, I drew a map of Tarrant in which Nash was going to the North but along the East edge of the county. In this map, her district goes North in the middle of the county. Close enough. Tarrant will likely have 3 Democratic seats for most, if not all, of the decade. I.e., I called it!

    Bexar is also similar to what I thought would happen. Bexar was 6D-2R-2S, and I didn’t see how it could really change other than make the 2 swing districts a little more Republican friendly. Based upon my reading of the map, those 2 districts are probably a touch more Republican friendly, but I suspect they will be in Democratic hands within a cycle or two. My prediction of Bexar having 7 D seats sounds pretty close to an average situation. Again, I called it!

    Travis was 4D-2S, and now it looks like it might be 5D-1R, which I suspect will be the situation for most of the decade. Once again, I called it!

    Dallas is better than I thought it would be. Here’s what I sent to <a href=";. Well, Solomons drew 6 VRA seats, and I suspect that Vaught, Kent, and Miklos all reside in more Republican districts. However, I think that he left more on the table than I thought he would. For example, he didn’t pack the Northeast part along I635 in Democratic districts, like I did, and he didn’t crack or pack the Asian precincts and left them in Republican districts. Unlike other counties, I feel pretty good about this Dallas map.

  2. blank says:

    Bad hyperlink. Here’s what I meant to say:

    Dallas is better than I thought it would be. Here’s what I sent to Greg.

  3. Brian Olson says:

    I don’t zoom in quite as much as that, so I don’t have the detail, but I have worked out a set of impartial compactness based maps as an alternative. They’re here:

  4. Jeb says:

    Not surprisingly for Travis County, the Solomons map protects Workman and in the process gives Donna Howard a more Democratic district.

    Jason Embry:

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