Diary

Redistricting Texas: 25R, 11D (With Maps!)

Let’s redistrict Texas!

First, here’s some background on the politics of Texas. Texas is a red state with pockets of liberal voters. It has voted for the Republican nominee for President of the United States since Jimmy Carter in 1976. No Democrat has been elected statewide since 1999. John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchinson are the two Senators. Both are conservative but not that conservative. Hutchinson is leaving office in two year. Cornyn leads the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee. There are currently 9 Democrats in the congressional delegation.

Second, here’s a background on the Voting Rights Act. Passed in 1965, the VRA sets up congressional districts for minorities. The thinking at the time of this law was that minorities needed their “own districts” to get fair representation. Whatever map is approved by the Texas legislature in redistricting will have to get cleared by Eric Holder’s Justice Department. In redistricting, you cannot dismantle the three African American districts (Bernice Johnson, Greene and Jackson Lee) or the Hispanic Districts. (Hinojosa, Reyes, Gonzalez, Canseco, Farenthold, Cuellar, Greene)

Owing to population increase in Texas, 4 new districts will have to be created. The large increase in Hispanics will mean 2 of the districts have to be VRA.

Below are the proposed districts of my map. There are demographic numbers, partisan numbers and in ( ), partisan numbers for the current district.

Got that? Let’s go to the maps. (Click on the thumbnails for a larger picture)

Let’s start in the Texas Panhandle.

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Texas’s 13th congressional district (Faded Pink)
Incumbent: Mac Thornberry (R)

Demographics
White: 76%
Black: 6%
Asian: 3%
Hispanic: 15%

Political Data
Obama: 24% (23%)
McCain: 75% (77%)

Mac Thornberry’s district still represents the rural ranches and farms of the Texas plains. The district expands eastward to take in Sherman. Farming issues are important here.

Texas’s 19th congressional district (Khaki Brown)
Incumbent: Randy Neugebauer (R)
Challenger: Chet Edwards (D)

Demographics
White: 78%
Black: 6%
Asian: 2%
Hispanic: 14%

Political Data
Obama: 26% (27%)
McCain: 73% (72%)

Randy Neugebauer represents this sprawling West Texas seat. Nearly 95% of this district is new territory to him (to make room for the new TX-23 in the panhandle), so he could get challenged by a state legislator. In the far southeast corner of this district, the city of Waco is included. This puts Chet Edwards in this district. Edwards is a real threat (He was able to win year after year voting like a liberal in a 32% Obama district), but putting him in unfamiliar territory and in a worse district for Obama mean’s he’s done.

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Texas’s 23rd congressional district (Light Blue)
Incumbent: None

Demographics
White: 39%
Black: 5%
Asian: 1%
Hispanic: 54%

Political Data
Obama: 38% (51%)
McCain: 61% (48%)

We’ve all heard the constant whining about how Republicans can’t take the state of Texas to their advantage because they have to include two new Democratic VRA districts. Here’s one that’s Republican. 54% Hispanic, and a McCain win by 23 points. The 23rd extends northward to grab some Hispanic areas in the panhandle.

The current Republican, Quico Canseco lives in San Antonio in a really liberal area. He is forced into having no seat to run in under this map, but I’d rather have this district than have Canseco running in a marginal district that he has to watch his back in in good Democratic years.

Texas’s 16th congressional district (Regular Green in the El Paso area)
Incumbent: Silvestre Reyes (D)

Demographics
White: 18%
Black: 3%
Asian: 2%
Hispanic: 77%

Political Data
Obama: 65% (66%)
McCain: 34% (34%)

Due to the growth in population in the El Paso area, this district shrinks. It remains a VRA-Hispanic district to be represented by Silvestre Reyes. Reyes will be 68 at next election time. He may retire sometime this decade. This seat is pretty much out of the question though – Reyes won it by 22 points last year, a very Republican year.

Texas’s 11th congressional district (Light Green)
Incumbent: Mike Conaway (R)

Demographics
White: 72%
Black: 4%
Asian: 2%
Hispanic: 21%

Political Data
Obama: 23% (24%)
McCain: 76% (76%)

This district sheds some western rural counties to expand southward and northward. Still in the Plains and in the desert in the South. A lot of this area is new to Mike Conaway, but his base is still preserved so he should be okay.

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Texas’s 17th congressional district (Slate Blue)
Incumbent: Bill Flores (R)

Demographics
White: 64%
Black: 16%
Asian: 4%
Hispanic: 15%

Political Data
Obama: 38% (32%)
McCain: 61% (67%)

This district removes Waco and within it the home of Chet Edwards. It adds Fort Hood and Killeen (the reason for this district becoming more Democratic) and some rural counties in the West. Flores is safe here.

Texas’s 31st congressional district (Faded White)
Incumbent: John Carter (R)

Demographics
White: 80%
Black: 3%
Asian: 4%
Hispanic: 13%

Political Data
Obama: 43% (42%)
McCain: 55% (58%)

John Carter’s district remains intact in the north Austin suburbs. The population explosion there means the district will get smaller. Carter could be vulnerable in a year where rural turnout is overpowered by urban turnout – some of the Western Austin fringes are in this district.

Texas’s 33th congressional district (Cornflower Blue)
Incumbent: Michael McCaul (R)

Demographics
White: 65%
Black: 6%
Asian: 3%
Hispanic: 25%

Political Data
Obama: 42%
McCain: 57%

Mike McCaul’s district becomes two points safer as only northern Austin is now included in this district. Southern Hill Country is also included – an area that is about 1/4 Hispanic. A lot of this area is unfamiliar to McCaul – but overall I think he’ll be okay.

Texas’s 25th congressional district (Austin Area Pink)
Incumbent: Lloyd Doggett (D)

Demographics
White: 48%
Black: 11%
Asian: 5%
Hispanic: 35%

Political Data
Obama: 73% (59%)
McCain: 26% (40%)

Lloyd Doggett comes out a big winner in redistricting as his district moves to be an Austin-centered district. Doggett should be around for a while.

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Texas’s 12th congressional district (Light Blue)
Incumbent: Kay Granger (R)

Demographics
White: 68%
Black: 7%
Asian: 3%
Hispanic: 21%

Political Data
Obama: 39% (36%)
McCain: 60% (63%)

Granger’s district loses Parker and Wise County and adds Johnson County. Not much to say here…

Texas’s 26th congressional district (Real Gray)
Incumbent: Michael Burgess (R)

Demographics
White: 63%
Black: 12%
Asian: 7%
Hispanic: 18%

Political Data
Obama: 44% (41%)
McCain: 55% (58%)

Michael Burgess’s district removes Denton and goes south to incorporate Fort Worth. Burgess could be in trouble by the end of the decade – Fort Worth is becoming Democratic fast.

Texas’s 24th congressional district (Purple-Blue)
Incumbent: Kenny Marchant (R), Pete Sessions (R)

Demographics
White: 60%
Black: 11%
Asian: 9%
Hispanic: 20%

Political Data
Obama: 44% (44%)
McCain: 55% (55%)

Kenny Marchant still lives in this district but 90% of it is new to him. It remains Republican enough for Marchant, but the Dallas suburbs are trending Democratic… so I had to throw Pete Sessions in with him. (His former district becomes a VRA district). Should make for some good competition.

Texas’s 3rd congressional district (Moderate Purple)
Incumbent: Sam Johnson (R)

Demographics
White: 77%
Black: 5%
Asian: 9%
Hispanic: 9%

Political Data
Obama: 38% (42%)
McCain: 61% (57%)

Sam Johnson will turn 82 in 2012. His Plano based district remains intact for him in case he wants to continue serving but becomes a few points more Republican to boot.

Kenny Marchant still lives in this district but 90% of it is new to him. It remains Republican enough for Marchant, but the Dallas suburbs are trending Democratic… so I had to throw Pete Sessions in with him. (His former district becomes a VRA district). Should make for some good competition.

Texas’s 32nd congressional district (Firey Orange)
Incumbent: None

Demographics
White: 34%
Black: 10%
Asian: 4%
Hispanic: 51%

Political Data
Obama: 58% (46%)
McCain: 41% (53%)

In the span of eleven years, this district will have become 22 more points Democratic. (Gore got 36% here in 2000) The growth of Hispanics in the greater Dallas area means it’s time for a new VRA district. Pete Sessions lives here, I believe. His logical place to run is TX-24. Or he could save us some time and retire.

Texas’s 30th congressional district (Pink)
Incumbent: Eddie Bernice Johnson (D)

Demographics
White: 27%
Black: 46%
Asian: 4%
Hispanic: 23%

Political Data
Obama: 78% (82%)
McCain: 22% (18%)

Eddie Bernice Johnson remains in her inner-city Dallas district. I’d love to see Texas Republicans get rid of her, but there really is no way to do so. This district is protected by the VRA. It sheds a little Obama strength (and Hispanics) to help out the new VRA district that is TX-32.

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Texas’s 34th congressional district (Pink)
Incumbent: None

Demographics
White: 71%
Black: 19%
Asian: 2%
Hispanic: 8%

Political Data
Obama: 34%
McCain: 65%

In the 1990s, east Texas voted exclusively for Clinton. Now it is a bastion of conservatism. This newly created East Texas district should have some local or state leader who can step up to the plate. Democrats are nonexistent here.

Texas’s 8th congressional district (Bluish Purple in the North Houston suburbs)
Incumbent: Kevin Brady (R)

Demographics
White: 80%
Black: 5%
Asian: 3%
Hispanic: 12%

Political Data
Obama: 26% (26%)
McCain: 73% (74%)

The North Houston suburbs have grown at an enormous rate so Brady’s district collapses to center on The Woodlands in Montgomery County. Safe Republican.

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Texas’s 10th congressional district
Incumbent: None

Demographics
White: 50%
Black: 20%
Asian: 5%
Hispanic: 25%

Political Data
Obama: 43% (44%)
McCain: 56% (55%)

This district meanders throughout Hill Country, North Houston, suburbs and rural farmland. Safe for whichever Republican would like to hold it.

Texas’s 21st congressional district (Deep Maroon)
Incumbent: Lamar Smith (R)

Demographics
White: 61%
Black: 6%
Asian: 4%
Hispanic: 29%

Political Data
Obama: 42% (41%)
McCain: 57% (58%)

Lamar Smith gets the North San Antonio suburbs. This is yet another “suburbs” that have been growing, so his district loses a lot of rural area. Should be fine.

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Texas’s 6th congressional district (Turquoise)
Incumbent: Joe Barton (R)

Demographics
White: 66%
Black: 7%
Asian: 3%
Hispanic: 13%

Political Data
Obama: 45% (40%)
McCain: 55% (60%)

Joe Barton’s district moves 5 points to the left. Barton can probably hold it or he can retire and another less vocal conservative Republican can hold it.

Texas’s 5th congressional district (Yellow)
Incumbent: Jeb Hensarling (R)

Demographics
White: 71%
Black: 12%
Asian: 3%
Hispanic: 14%

Political Data
Obama: 37% (36%)
McCain: 63% (63%)

Jeb Hensarling’s safe Republican district. Some of Dallas and East Texas. Safe for him.

Texas’s 36th congressional district (Yellow-Orange)
Incumbent: Louie Gohmert (R)

Demographics
White: 70%
Black: 20%
Asian: 2%
Hispanic: 8%

Political Data
Obama: 30%
McCain: 69%

Louie Gohmert’s home is moved from TX-01 to TX-36. This district, in the extreme Northeast part of Texas is safe for any Republican. Probably voted for Bill Clinton as recent as 1996 though.

Texas’s 1st congressional district (Deep Blue)
Incumbent: Ralph Hall (R)

Demographics
White: 79%
Black: 7%
Asian: 3%
Hispanic: 11%

Political Data
Obama: 32% (30%)
McCain: 67% (69%)

Ralph Hall needs to retire or face a primary. He is older than John Dingell and will be 89 in 2012. He nearly lost in the Republican primary this year. He’s safe from a Democrat, as is any other Republican.

Texas’s 4th congressional district (Deep Red)
Incumbent: None

Demographics
White: 78%
Black: 4%
Asian: 5%
Hispanic: 13%

Political Data
Obama: 34% (30%)
McCain: 65% (69%)

This district takes in Denton and other fast growing Republican suburbs. Safe…REPUBLICAN.

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Texas’s 20th congressional district (Light Pink)
Incumbent: Charlie Gonzalez (D)

Demographics
White: 16%
Black: 8%
Asian: 1%
Hispanic: 74%

Political Data
Obama: 70% (63%)
McCain: 29% (36%)

Charlie Gonzalez keeps his VRA held Hispanic district. This continues to be centered on San Antonio.

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Texas’s 18th congressional district (Vibrant Yellow)
Incumbent: Sheila Jackson Lee (D)

Demographics
White: 18%
Black: 41%
Asian: 2%
Hispanic: 37%

Political Data
Obama: 80% (77%)
McCain: 19% (22%)

Jackson Lee continues to hold her district in the inner city Houston area. Liberal and corrupt, but still there.

Texas’s 7th congressional district (Gray in West Houston)
Incumbent: John Culberson (R)

Demographics
White: 65%
Black: 5%
Asian: 8%
Hispanic: 21%

Political Data
Obama: 38% (41%)
McCain: 61% (58%)

Culberson keeps his Houston based seat.

Texas’s 9th congressional district (Light Blue)
Incumbent: Al Green (D)

Demographics
White: 20%
Black: 34%
Asian: 12%
Hispanic: 34%

Political Data
Obama: 73% (77%)
McCain: 26% (26%)

Demographically, whoever represents this district will have to have good knowledge of each of their district’s races. African American Al Green represents this district but could get a primary challenge from a Hispanic or a White. Safe for the liberals.

Texas’s 29th congressional district (Gray-Brown in East Houston)
Incumbent: Gene Green (D)

Demographics
White: 27%
Black: 11%
Asian: 3%
Hispanic: 59%

Political Data
Obama: 58% (62%)
McCain: 41% (38%)

Green may have to do a little bit of moderating in his positions – but as long as things don’t completely collapse for Houston Democrats he should be fine.

Texas’s 22nd congressional district (Authentic Brown)
Incumbent: Pete Olsen (R)

Demographics
White: 61%
Black: 10%
Asian: 12%
Hispanic: 17%

Political Data
Obama: 39% (41%)
McCain: 60% (58%)

This district remains centered on Sugarland, but also extends out into the open rural west area of Houston. Safe Republican.

Texas’s 2nd congressional district (Authentic Green)
Incumbent: Ted Poe (R)

Demographics
White: 72%
Black: 9%
Asian: 5%
Hispanic: 14%

Political Data
Obama: 33% (40%)
McCain: 67% (60%)

Ted Poe is an unabashed conservative and his district gets 7 points more Republican. His district stretches all the way to Beaumont and northward into Liberty County.

Texas’s 14th congressional district (Goldish)
Incumbent: Ron Paul (R)

Demographics
White: 62%
Black: 14%
Asian: 4%
Hispanic: 20%

Political Data
Obama: 39% (33%)
McCain: 60% (66%)

Ah yes, Ron Paul. I don’t dislike him as much as some people. His district stretches along the Gulf of Mexico from Port Arthur to Lake Jackson (his home), and Matagorda Island. I don’t know if his libertarianism (if that’s what you want to call it) will suit him well in a district that is 6 points more liberal. (and those liberals are mainly African Americans in Port Arthur). Also, Paul will be retiring soon. (He’s in his mid 70s)

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Texas’s 27th congressional district (Aqua)
Incumbent: Blake Farenthold (R)

Demographics
White: 40%
Black: 6%
Asian: 2%
Hispanic: 52%

Political Data
Obama: 46% (53%)
McCain: 54% (46%)

Blake Farenthold – the mystery man who beat Solomon Ortiz in the last election gets a safer VRA district. He gets some new territory in Fort Wharton and Fort Bend County. Being the unknown he is, he’ll have some work to do to get reelected, but it just got a lot easier.

Texas’s 35th congressional district (Purple)
Incumbent: None

Demographics
White: 13%
Black: 0%
Asian: 1%
Hispanic: 86%

Political Data
Obama: 67%
McCain: 32%

This district straddles the Mexico border and is tailor made for any Hispanic Democrat. Some people here are probably illegals.

Texas’s 15th congressional district (Orange)
Incumbent: Rueben Hinojosa (D)

Demographics
White: 17%
Black: 1%
Asian: 1%
Hispanic: 81%

Political Data
Obama: 60% (60%)
McCain: 40% (40%)

Hinojosa continues his dominance on this Hispanic district. Republicans will need to built up some party infrastructure in South Texas to ever have a chance at this seat.

Texas’s 28th congressional district (Light Pink)
Incumbent: Henry Cuellar (D)

Demographics
White: 20%
Black: 3%
Asian: 2%
Hispanic: 74%

Political Data
Obama: 61% (56%)
McCain: 38% (44%)

Cuellar gets saved by adding some more Hispanics into this district. Centered on Laredo and very Democratic…

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What is your redistricting philosophy? Fair? Gerrymandered? If you know Texas politics and geography, what do you think of the proposed map?