Rep. Dan Crenshaw's misshapen, heavily gerrymandered congressional district may be getting a big makeover this year

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  • Texas Republicans released preliminary drafts of the state's new congressional maps.

  • Crenshaw's current district, which is heavily gerrymandered, would be redrawn under the proposal.

  • The 2nd District would take in more of exurban Montgomery County and Crenshaw would be placed in a safe seat.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

According to a new draft proposal released by Texas Republicans this week, Republican Rep. Dan Crenshaw's famously gerrymandered Houston-area seat may be getting a makeover.

Texas will gain two new seats in post-2020 redistricting, prompted by substantial growth in the state's population over the last decade. Republicans in the state legislature, back in Austin for the third special session of the year, released a new first map this week that largely shores up GOP incumbents while seeking to check potential Democratic gains.

The map would add two new seats to the Austin and Houston areas, create safely Democratic districts for Reps. Collin Allred and Lizzie Fletcher, and draw safer seats for a number of Republican representatives for a House map with 25 Republicans and 13 Democrats. The map released Monday is just a draft, and would need to be approved by both the chambers of the legislature and signed into law by the governor.

Among the most significant changes is the redrawing of the state's 2nd congressional district - which snakes around the urban core of Houston and is currently represented by Crenshaw - to a more exurban, solidly Republican district by adding in a big chunk of Montgomery County, a GOP stronghold.

The proposed map would put Crenshaw in the new 38th District, a solidly Republican Harris County-based seat, and Rep. Kevin Brady, who is retiring, in the new 2nd District, according to FiveThirtyEight. Crenshaw currently resides in what would be the 29th District under the map, represented by Democratic Rep. Sylvia Garcia.

The likely scenario under the new map would be for Crenshaw to continue to run in the 2nd and for Republican Wesley Hunt, who challenged and narrowly lost to Fletcher in the 7th District in 2020, to run in the 38th District.

Located entirely within Harris County, the current 2nd District snakes around the city of Houston from the suburbs northeast of the city, including Kingwood, Humble, and Spring, and then hooks down to encompass some of the areas in western and downtown Houston.

Under its current lines, the district has trended considerably more Democratic in the past decade. It voted for 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney by a margin of 27 percentage points in 2012 but backed Trump by nine points in 2016 and just 1.1 points in 2020, according to the Daily Kos, just barely making it the only Houston-area district to vote for Trump.

In 2018 too, Cruz carried the district by a margin of just one percentage point over O'Rourke in his reelection campaign. That same year, Crenshaw won his first election by seven points over his Democratic opponent.

The district, among the most strangely shaped congressional districts in the country, has been the subject of persistent criticism. Last year, journalist Mehdi Hasan dedicated an entire segment to highlight the misshapen nature of Crenshaw's district after the congressman called into question the results of the 2020 election.

And in June, as Rep. Crenshaw tweeted about his opposition to a sweeping voting-rights bill that would require independent commissions to redraw districts, Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota responded with a map of his own district. "Not sure I would be so indignant if my district looked like this," she wrote.

Portion of the proposed maps released today, showing Crenshaw's TX-02 district redrawn.
Portion of the proposed maps released today, showing Crenshaw's TX-02 district redrawn. Screenshot/

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