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24Feb/120

The Redistricting Week Ahead

» TX Redistricting: Q&A about the lay of the land

Michael Li points to an ETA on maps for being available by the end of next week. That fits a couple of needs that I think the San Antonio court may be looking to fulfill: a) having the mother of all detailed writeups for a redistricting map ever written to appease the Supreme Court, and b) giving some opportunity for the DC Court to rule on the Section 5 merits before completing work.

A couple of things known so far for the Houston area, some of which are good for the dayjob, are as follows:

1. It looks like there will be two different districts in SW Houston - essentially undoing the pairing that the Lege did with HD137 and HD149. Whether the new HD137 has part of Alief or Meyerland or some other add-on remains to be seen, though. Likewise, whether HD149 is a safe Dem seat or a swing district remains to be seen.

2. HD26 probably stands as a bellwether for how the judges see Fort Bend as a Section 2 issue. Locally, it's one of the keys to watch for how successful the plaintiffs are. I'm not in the speculation business for this one ... just hopeful that there's a good district drawn that allows Asian voters to send candidates of their choice. The Lege certainly didn't do that, though.

3. HD144 is another district to watch. I think this is more of a guarantee that there will be a district that doesn't retrogress Hispanic population, but whether it's created in the form of a safe or swing district is still up in the air. I can see this being the poster district for OHRVS, or I can see it as being a more solidified Hispanic district electing Dems by about 55-60% each year.

4. HD133/HD136 ... based on the "settlement" proposals, my hunch is that Abbott & Co knew they were going to lose trying to keep these as separate districts. What the judges do with them, of course, doesn't have to be the same. I'd think that the judges could point to the settlement options as validation for folding Woolley's old seat into Murphy's and Bohac's current seat. But that doesn't strike me as a necessarily "proper" basis to draw the map. I'm assuming that the court is going to have to justify anything edited from the original Lege map. So, unless there's some justification in the slew of briefing memos they've sought out, I'm just not sure.

5. As far as Congressional Districts go, CD14 is the only non-incumbent district out there. I don't believe that its been drawn significantly different in any map during the court process. Each one has Jefferson & Galveston counties whole, with slightly different versions of southern Brazoria County added on. Given the SCOTUS strictures to hew to the Lege map where possible, it won't change.

Hopefully, we'll see within a week's time whether any of this happens.

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