Texas Republicans on Monday released a draft proposal for a new congressional map that would add two new congressional seats to the state’s delegation and would largely leave incumbent lawmakers safe.
Population growth in Texas found in the 2020 census means the state will add two congressional seats, increasing the state’s delegation from 36 to 38 members. The proposal would create a Democratic-leaning seat in Austin and a Republican-leaning seat in Houston.
The 36-seat congressional delegation in the Lone Star State includes 23 Republicans and 13 Democrats, meaning the new 38 member delegation would likely result in a similar 24 Republicans and 14 Democrats, leaving the state largely a wash for Republicans trying to gain control of the House in next year’s midterm elections. House Republicans need to net five seats in 2022 to reclaim the majority they lost in 2018.
Republicans control the state Legislature in Texas, giving them power over redistricting, a process that takes place every 10 years following each census.
The Republican lawmakers’ proposal was not as aggressive as some observers of Texas politics expected, as it would likely not result in many more Republican congressional seats. However, the map would protect House Republican incumbents, who have seen their margins dip in recent years as the state’s demographics changed and they lost ground with suburban voters.
Conversely, the map would protect Democratic incumbents as well, most notably Reps. Lizzie Fletcher in the 7th Congressional District in the Houston area and Colin Allred in the 32nd Congressional District in suburban Dallas.
Democratic consultant Russell Drew tweeted, “Texas Republicans see the writing on the wall.”
“Demographics are changing,” Drew wrote. “Voting patterns are changing. Democrats are again competitive at the statewide level. Easy double digit wins are a thing of the past. This radical gerrymandering is the last fire breath of a dying dragon.”
The proposal would leave some incumbents living outside their districts: longtime Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of the state’s 18th District would live in fellow Democratic Rep. Al Green’s 9th District. Republican Rep. Dan Crenshaw would also be outside his 2nd District.
The draft proposal must be approved through the legislative process, and it could face changes.
Washington Examiner Videos
Original Author: Kate Scanlon
Original Location: Texas Republicans play it safe in redistricting for 2022 and beyond