I’ve been reading up a bit more on the compromise redistricting lines released by the San Antonio district court. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbot was able to keep most of what the legislature passed, and the Governor signed, intact, but a few changes were made to
satisfy Democratic demands to win in court what they couldn’t at the ballot box settle lawsuits by various minority interest groups under the provisions of the Voting Rights Act.
Though U.S. Congressional Districts, State Senate Districts, and State House districts were all affected by the new maps, I want to focus on three U.S. Congressional Districts, including some shown in this map here:
District 35: Lloyd Doggett may not be gone, but District 35, the one Doggett plans to run in, is now 65% Hispanic and mostly based in San Antonio. And the recriminations have already started among Democrats: “If Lloyd Doggett would man up and spend that $3 million he’s been hoarding for the last decade, then we could have an extra Democratic seat.” Doggett dodged a bullet when District 20 incumbent Charlie Gonzalez (son of long-time Congressmen Henry B. Gonzalez, who held the office before him) announced he was retiring, letting up-and-comer Joaquin Castro run for that seat instead of 35, but there’s no shortage of San Antonio-based Democratic contenders, including Bexar County Tax Assessor-Collector Sylvia Romo. (There are two Republicans running for District 35, Susan Narvaiz and Rob Roark, both of San Marcos, but given that the new district went for Obaama by 63%, it’s going to be quite an uphill climb for any Republican.) One of the candidates currently running in District 35 is former Democratic Congressman Ciro D. Rodriguez (who is very pissy indeed about redistricting), who previously represented:
District 23: This seat is currently held by Republican Francisco “Quico” Canseco, who beat Rodriguez by a little over 7,000 votes in 2010. The redistricting map passed by the legislature made Canseco’s district more Republican, but the compromise district scales back Republican gains. It’s now slightly more Republican (50% of the new district voted for Obama in 2008, down slightly from 51% in the old district), but it’s still close enough that Democrats have to consider this a prime takeover target. Still, Canseco now has the power and name recognition of incumbency, and even if Obama wins (doubtful and frightful, but possible), I doubt his coattails will be particularly long in San Antonio. Texas State Rep. Peter Gallego is the likely Democratic candidate, but so far Canseco is beating him in the fundraising race over three to one. (Disclaimer: Canseco is one of two U.S. congressional candidates I donated to in the 2010 election cycle (three if you count attending a couple of John Carter’s picnics at $10 a pop).)
District 27: This is the district where Republican Black Farenthold narrowly edged Democratic incumbent Solomon Ortiz in 2010. (Despite the narrowness of the result, Ortiz announced he wouldn’t be trying to reclaim his old seat.) The interim map successfully makes Farenthold’s seat more safely Republican; Obama pulled 53% of the vote in the old district, but only 40% in the new. Farenthold also has a considerable fundraising advantage. The Democratic who raised the most for that race is Cameron County District Attorney Armando Villalobos. However, Cameron County is now in District 34.
All in all, Texas Republicans expect to pick up two to four U.S. Congressional seats thanks to redistricting, which looks extremely doable.
And now we finally have election dates:
March 2: Filing for office reopens
March 6: Filing closes again
May 14: Early voting begins
May 26: Early voting ends
May 29: Primary Day
June 7-9: Republican and Democratic state conventions
July 31: Primary Runoff
Interactive Redistricting Map
The Texas Congressional Delegation
FEC Page for Texas Congressional and Senate Fundraising
List of 2012 Texas Republican Congressional Candidates
List of 2012 Texas Democratic Congressional Candidates
The Texas Redistricting Blog
Over on the left side of the Blogsphere, the Kos Kids have put up the a breakdown that includes numbers on how each District voted in the 2008 Presidential race.