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Harris County Redistricting: Two Birds, One Stone

ยป Chron: Eversole not ruling out another run for office

Let's face it, political trials are always tricky beasts. You never know when a widely acknowledged con-man or woman is going to get 3 years in prison, or if they'll walk free due to the real crime being what's legal (or, at least, impossible to prove). Such is the case with Jerry Eversole, Harris County's most ethically challenged County Commissioner.

So what if we have Jerry Eversole to kick around again in 2014? Last weekend, I drew what a map might look like if the Commissioners opted to just wash their hands clean of Jerry Eversole. But if that's not the case, then the map might be in need of some tweaking. Maybe.

For the sake of argument, here's a revised version of that previous map, with the "Hispanic district" stretched out include as many Humble precincts as possible to maintain Eversole's old base of support (he now lives in the Heights). Just for good measure, I extended the 1960 boundary along the northwest up to Cypress Creek. Rationale being that if there's any effort to maintain a competitive district for Eversole, he'll likely win the arm-wrestling for a few GOP add-ons. Whether it's those or from somewhere else (or, at all), we shall see. Bottom line is that the previous version of the Hispanic district has been plussed up for a GOP candidate to consider running in.

The result is that the Hispanic district can still be maintained with 55% Hispanic population, Eversole's home precinct, and his Humble electoral base. In this particular drawing, the district is 54% Hispanic, but that likely bumps up a bit once the Census numbers are in. Easy to assume that it's 55% Hispanic by then. Electorally, the district is 57-42 Obama. It may be safe to assume that the district was 50-50 in 2010 considering that the county's baseline vote for Dems dropped about 7 points. In short, this is a toss-up district, a Hispanic district, and allows the other County Commissioners off the hook over whether Eversole should return. It takes care of an awful lot of birds with one stone and essentially lets the voters decide Jerry Eversole's fate in 2014.

If anything, I suspect there may be a requirement to construct a Hispanic opportunity district that is 55% Hispanic among Voting Age Population. That would make Eversole's re-election scenario hazier as the district would get a lot surer for a Democratic candidate as you pack on Hispanic precincts within Harris County.

Morman's district is a bit more GOP friendly (67-32 McCain) while Radack's is still maybe not as much the GOP lock that he might like (58-42 McCain). I'll leave that for them to determine how to split any differences. I don't pretend to know what the dynamics are for the commissioners to want to do something along these lines. But if there's any obstinence by the Justice Department to ensure a Hispanic seat that doesn't retrogress the current situation, it might be something to consider.

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  1. First – those are some ugly, ugly precincts. Kudos to you on that.

    Second – this would move me out of El Franco Lee’s precinct and into Eversole’s. While I’m sure I would enjoy voting against that rat bastard in 2014 if he sticks around, it means I wouldn’t get the pleasure of voting Roy Morales out of office in 2012. I will have to decide if that’s a worthwhile trade.

    Third – seems to me this exercise basically makes Morman a commish-for-life at Eversole’s expense, with Jackie’s precinct becoming even redder than Jerry’s is now. Again, I don’t know if I like that trade. (Not that they’ll ask me.) Of course, we’ll have to see what they do, which could be anything.

    Finally, a question: Do constable/JP precincts get redrawn, too? What potential for shenanigans exists there?

  2. Working in reverse order …

    Re: Constables/JPs … Working from older brain cells here, so I might get some of this wrong. I know every county is slightly different, but I’m pretty sure that for Harris County, the Constable districts (map) are districted by the County Commissioners (may or may not be left up to the Constables either formally or informally, though). Two JP courts are assigned per Constable district, covering the same boundaries. So essentially, once the Constable districts are drawn, that takes care of JPs as well.

    Re: Commish for life … your observation is correct. The only thing I’m wondering is whether Radack is looking to create the westside precinct as a more secure GOP bastion. It would seem to fit with his previous Brett Favre impersonation of contemplating retirement before running again in 2008. But there’s only so much you can do if you assume that a lot of the Anglo Dem corridor needs to be swallowed up in a GOP district. Morman just has an easier path to getting a seat for life as long as there are only four seats on Commissioners Court.

    Re: Faustian bargains at the ballot box … my goal is to see that a 50-50 district is created for Eversole so that you’ll have to endure what I did in 1990 by campaigning against him and effectively work a second job at the campaign office for whoever his opponent is. The girls will be old enough to help out by then.

    Re: Ugly ducklings … agreed, but the outline of what I presume to ultimately be 2 Dem seats effectively outlines the minority communities in Harris County. The biggest Dem area left out of a Dem district in my draft are the Meyerland & Rice U areas. And it pains me to do that to a lot of good friends.

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