The Republican lawmaker leading efforts to redraw the Texas House district boundaries on Thursday released a proposed map that could strengthen the Republicans’ grip on power in that chamber.
Presidential election results show that in just over half of the current House districts – 76 out of 150 – a majority of voters favored former President Donald Trump in 2020. According to the plan tabled by Rep. Todd Hunter , R-Corpus Christi, that number would rise to 86, according to an analysis of the non-partisan redistribution site PlanScore.
There are currently 83 Republicans and 67 Democrats in the chamber.
The number of competitive districts – districts decided by less than 10 points – would also increase from 29 to 18. In some cases, districts owned by Democrats already considered safe have been made even safer, while swing districts have been redesigned. with strong Republican majorities.
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Democrats Respond to Texas House Redistribution Map
Representative for Texas House Democratic Caucus Chairman Chris Turner, D-Grand Prairie, issued a statement condemning the proposal for failing to adequately accommodate growing minority communities.
“Texans of color have been responsible for over 95% of growth in Texas over the past decade,” Turner said. “The maps of the House, Senate, and Congress should reflect this. We are still analyzing the House’s original plan, but it does not appear that this map accurately reflects our state’s population growth.”
There are currently seven House districts with a predominantly black population of voting age. This drops to four districts according to Hunter’s plan. And the number of House districts with a majority of Hispanic voters drops from 33 to 30.
Inadequate representation of minorities could be used in legal challenges to the proposed card under the Voting Rights Act of 1965. However, for the first time in decades, Texas will not be required to clear the cards with the Department of Justice.
Two Battlefield House districts in central Texas that turned from red to blue in 2018 – District 47 in western Travis County and District 45 in Hays and Blanco counties – have been redesigned to favor the Democratic candidates. The western parts of Travis and Hays counties were redesigned into districts with a majority of Republican voters.
However, Representative Erin Zwiener, D-Driftwood, who represents District 45, has been removed from her district. She lives within the proposed boundaries of District 73, which is drawn to elect a Republican.
“We’ll see what happens, but I’m very grateful that San Marcos in particular has remained intact,” Zwiener told the American-Stateman.
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District 52, which encompasses Round Rock, Taylor and southern Georgetown, has been redesigned to include rural areas, jeopardizing the re-election chances of Rep. James Talarico, D-Round Rock.
Williamson County will for the first time have three fully contained districts within the county, reflecting the county’s rapid growth.
The other six Austin-area districts currently represented by Democrats appear to remain secure Democratic seats under the new map. But Representative Vikki Goodwin, D-Austin, said she was not happy with the changes to her district.
Her district seems to have more or less interacted with Rep. Donna Howard, D-Austin. The two remain in Districts 47 and 48 respectively, but Howard would now represent parts of West Austin and Bee Cave, while Goodwin would represent West Lake Hills and parts of southern Austin and Travis County.
“It’s not ideal because we got to know the voters in our districts, so that would mean learning a whole new set of issues for a whole new set of voters,” Goodwin said. “For voters and voters, they need to bring a whole new representative up to speed on their issues.”
“We will try to resolve this problem,” she added.
Two Republicans were drawn to the district that would represent western Travis County communities such as Lakeway and Lago Vista. If this continues, it could lead to primary bruising between Fredericksburg rep Kyle Biedermann and Granite Shoals rep Terry Wilson.
The story continues below.
Lawmakers redraw the district boundaries for the legislative chambers and Texas seats in the United States House each decade with new census data. Republicans control all levels of the process.
It is a question of rebalancing the districts so that the population is almost the same in each district. The ideal population for a House neighborhood has been set at around 194,000 for this redistribution cycle.
For many urban and suburban districts, this meant that district sizes contracted as population growth in Texas was centered around major metropolitan areas. Conversely, rural districts in parts of eastern and western Texas have increased in size.
In the upper house of the Legislative Assembly, State Senator Joan Huffman, R-Houston, tabled a new district map for the Texas Senate, the 38 seats of the United States House in Texas, and the State Board of Education. Either way, Republicans drew constituency boundaries that would strengthen their power over Democrats.
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Democrats have cried foul over the plans, and some advocacy groups have threatened legal action if the proposed maps are passed in their current form.
The Special Senate Redistribution Committee voted on Tuesday to advance plans for the Senate and the State Education Council in the Senate.
Members of the House have until 9 a.m. Monday to table amendments to the Texas House map.