Texas Redistricting: Deal or No Deal?
Posted at 7:11 p.m. on Feb. 6, 2012
The Texas attorney general announced both parties reached a compromise map in the Texas redistricting case today — hours before the court-mandated deadline to keep the April 3 primary.
But the majority of the plaintiffs say there’s no compromise yet, and a federal court in San Antonio suggested it agrees.
Texas will pick up four House seats in 2012 because of population growth, mostly in the Hispanic community.
Lone Star State GOP lawmakers passed an aggressive new Congressional map last year, but the plan has been stuck in court as the state seeks pre-clearance approval under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.
State Attorney General Greg Abbott’s alleged compromise map is somewhat similar to the plan passed by the Texas GOP Legislature last year but includes an additional Hispanic-majority seat in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
Today marks the last day for both parties to submit a compromise to a federal court in San Antonio, or the state will have to move its primary date again.
“Even though these proposed interim maps aren’t fully supported by all interest groups, modifications have been incorporated based on requests made by all parties,” Abbott said in a statement. “Today’s maps should allow the court to finalize the interim redistricting maps in time to have elections in April.”
Abbott said the Texas Latino Redistricting Task Force and Rep. Henry Cuellar (D) agreed to the compromise. But the vast majority of the plaintiffs said there’s no deal, according to Democratic strategist Matt Angle, a redistricting expert.
“The AG’s office is running a scam,” Angle wrote in an e-mail to Roll Call. “The only group to sign off is MALDEF. LULAC, MALC, NAACP, Quesada Plaintiffs and Gonzales plaintiffs all oppose.”
After Abbott released the map, the court signaled that the Feb. 6 deadline had not been met, implying this compromise was not acceptable, but that both parties should continue to negotiate.
The new proposed map made several other changes in addition to the new Dallas-Fort Worth seat. Republicans pointed out that freshman Rep. Blake Farenthold’s (R) 27th district greatly improves under the new map, plus the GOP picks up a new 36th district seat east of Houston.
Under Abbott’s proposed map, Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D) would reside in the 25th district, a GOP seat. But Doggett would likely run in a nearby, new 35th district, a Hispanic-majority seat running from Austin to San Antonio.
The 23rd district, which freshman Rep. Francisco “Quico” Canseco (R) represents, slightly improved under the new lines. That means his seat will likely remain competitive this cycle if Abbott’s map becomes law.