I'm off to a slow start on reviewing the House Districts from the court's plan, H298. But here are some updates to the almanac for some of the more interesting Houston-area changes. If luck and time permit, I'll eventually get around to the DFW area and beyond during the weekend. For whatever its worth, HD107 is started already. If anyone's interested in helping out, drop a line my way.
• HD26 ... No, Harris County didn't gain a new district. But Fort Bend just got a lot more exciting with a district that is as close to 50-50 as it's ever seen. It also looks like the courts took to heart the complaints about the division of Asian population in the county, as this one checks in at about 30% Asian. With the strong Asian concentrations in neighboring HD149 and other nearby House Districts, expect this to be the starting point for consideration of an Asian Congressional District in 2021.
• HD144 ... Legler's district is a lot more Hispanic, but the electoral returns are still competitive. This will be target #1 for Dems in 2012 and the nominee should be favored. Whether it's an Anglo Dem or Hispanic Dem that can carry it will be interesting to see.
• HD149 ... Welcome back, Hubert Vo. The new 149 picks up right about where the old 149 left off in terms of electoral performance. It should still be competitive, but one where Hubert is favored with swing voters from the Vietnamese community. Personally, I like that Team Vo is now tasked with working Precinct 620 every two years. Keeping that large swing precinct blue is a good step toward making the county blue.
• HD137 ... An interesting alteration on the idea of how to draw a more Hispanic district in SW Houston. This version is a lot less hollow than the previous district, thanks to removing Gulfton. There were 62,458 registered voters and 32,538 votes cast in 2008 compared to the old district's 29,916 registered voters and 18,166 ballots cast in the same year. That's still fairly hollow, but it's an improvement of sorts.
• HD146 ... Meet my new State Rep: Borris Miles! I'm not sure what was going through the map-makers' mind when they paired part of Sunnyside with Gulfton. But if that's the price to pay for having two whole districts covering SW Houston, I'm fine with it.
• HD134 ... It's still only an Obama and Bill White district among statewide election returns. That's not terribly different than what it was before, but the overall shift is that the GOP incumbent, Sarah Davis, gains nearly a point more of a GOP lean than the existing district. Given the concentration of Anglo Dems in this district, it should be the epicenter of competitive contests for much of the decade.
• HD135 ... Obama 42.8%, Bill White 43.0%. If the voters in the district continue to shift as they did during the last decade, this is competitive by the end of the decade.
• HD138 ... this starts off about one point more GOP-friendly than the existing HD138 ended the decade as. But that's a lot more Dem-friendly than the district started the district as. In the previous decade, the district moved nearly 10 points more toward Democratic candidates. If there's another 10-point swing this decade, it'll be competitive by 2016 or 2018.
• HD148 ... politically, this one is on par with the existing HD148. I guess my only amazement over this is that it doesn't get drawn more politically favorable in trying to shore up Hispanic communities of interest within the district as it cuts out much of the Heights and extends more into Spring Branch. If nothing else, this is a substitution of a shrinking Hispanic population base with one that's more likely to grow over the decade.