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Agreement in principle, but…

(UPDATE: You can see the new map here. Thanks to Tom for sending me the link.)

For all the statements about an agreement in principle on a new Congressional map, there sure seems to be a lot of caveats and qualifiers. Take a look at this, for instance.

“I think we’re pretty much in agreement on the map, but we haven’t seen the map, per se,” [House Speaker Tom] Craddick told reporters. “We’re very hopeful that we’ll have an agreement.”

His spokesman, Bob Richter, had already offered up a caveat that speaks volumes about the deep divisions that have blocked all previous agreements: “We reserve the right to back out,” he said.

One key player in the negotiations, state Sen. Robert Duncan, R-Lubbock, was not on hand when the agreement was announced by Dewhurst. Duncan and Craddick have wrangled mightily over the configuration of West Texas, with the speaker insisting that a district be drawn anchored in his hometown of Midland.

Duncan had expressed deep concerns that giving in to Craddick’s demand might undermine his commitment to protecting a district dominated by West Texas agriculture interests. Craddick came away with his Midland district.

“I think when it became clear that the governor and the speaker were going to get a District 4 Midland, I just tried to get the best deal I could get for the communities of interest in my area,” Duncan said.

Legislative leaders said they hope to vote on the new map by Friday — a day before the Texas-Oklahoma football game in Dallas that many members plan to attend. Less clear is whether they will have to change the date of the 2004 primary election.

I’ve heard stronger promises from the cable company regarding when my technician will show up. You’d think that after all this, they’d be singing Kumbaya and dumping Gatorade on each other. Anyway, the following quote appears in most accounts, though not the Star Telegram’s:

“We were told there’s a check in the mail,” Craddick spokesman Bob Richter said. “We want to see the check.”

Like I said, not exactly a gold-plated guarantee. Hard to imagine things falling apart at this point, but then you’d have thought that Deaf Smith County wouldn’t have been such a stumbling block. Since I’m taking off for Europe later today, you’ll have to tune in to the Burnt Orange Report or Polstate to see if anything unusual happens.

Today’s coverage is here, here, here, and here. Items of interest include uncertainty about the primary date, concerns that several West Texas Republicans in the House will vote against this plan, confidence from Democrats that the courts will not approve of this map, and Tom DeLay taking a victory lap. The Statesman has the most complete word on DeLay’s role in all this.

For the three days, DeLay shuttled maps between the offices of the speaker, governor and lieutenant governor as he tried to finish what he had started.

In 2001, the Legislature punted to the courts because it was split between Democrats and Republicans. After the 2002 Republican landslide, DeLay insisted that state GOP lawmakers redraw the boundaries to send more Republicans to Congress.

DeLay lobbied state leaders during the regular legislative session this spring and met with Gov. Rick Perry and legislative leaders at the Governor’s Mansion this summer before Perry called the first of three special sessions.

DeLay, whose nickname is “the Hammer,” kept pounding away for a deal.

“I’m going to stay here as long as I’m useful,” he said Tuesday.

State Rep. Pete Gallego, D-Alpine, said he had never seen someone outside the Legislature negotiate a final bill the way DeLay did.

“I don’t believe he was here as ‘the Diplomat,’ ” Gallego said. “I believe he was here as ‘the Enforcer.’ ”

In Washington, [Rep. Lloyd] Doggett went to the House floor to underscore DeLay’s absence. Saying he wanted to discuss scheduling federal budget matters with DeLay, Doggett said: “He has not been here all week long. He has developed such an affection for my hometown of Austin that we may have to make him an honorary citizen.”

Editorials:

The Statesman’s Dave McNeely reiterates what he wrote yesterday about this being the swan song for redistricting no matter what until 2011.

The Express News chastises DeLay for his involvement in a state legislative matter.

The Waco Trib decries the specter of moving the primary date.

The Chron slaps DeLay and criticizes the cost of the special sessions.

The Austin Chronicle has some extra coverage here and here.

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4 Comments

  1. precinct1233 says:

    Looks like a 22 R and 10 D map.

  2. Colorado Conservative says:

    It is indeed a beautiful thing. Finally, an end to the corrupting influence of the Democratic party in Texas. Landslide Lyndon is furious right now.

  3. holofernes says:

    Do you suppose that there’s any truth to the rumors that Rick Perry’s knee pads have Tom Delay’s monogram on them?

  4. […] time was running out in the third overtime, Tom DeLay swept into town, cracked a few heads, and got a deal […]