Redistricting maps

1. The State's map: The map submitted by Attorney General Abbott -- presumably after consultations the triumvirate of Perry, Dewhurst, and Craddick -- avoids pairing any incumbents. The districts look very different on the map, but aren't nearly as different as they look, since lots of the shifted counties are not population-centers. Here's what happens to each incumbent affected:

Bonilla -- His old district's population center was northwest Bexar county (San Antonio), then took in Kendall and Kerr before stretching down to take in the western half of of Webb County (Laredo) and then stretching all the way along the border to El Paso (stopping before population gets dense). His new district is a very similar section of NW Bexar County (though it looks like it is slightly different) combined with Kerr and Kendall again, but adds Blanco County and a similar section of western Travis County (eg, basically all of western Travis that isn't in the city of Austin).

Cuellar -- His old district was centered around eastern Webb County (Laredo) and stretched from the Zapata and Webb county borders up into southern Bexar County (the other population center) and then further north into Guadalupe and even Hays County (no kidding). His new district reunites Webb County and then takes all of Bonilla's old district extending along the border over to about the El Paso city limits. Cuellar still has part of Bexar County, but instead of all of southern Bexar, he now has southwestern Bexar. I'm guessing that Cuellar will have 50%-60% less Bexar County residents in his district compared to what he used to have.

Doggett: His old district stretched from the Starr County border up into his base of Travis County, where is had the southeastern portion of Travis County. It is an odd looking district, but at least it is mainly contiguous whole counties from the border up into Austin. His new district subtracts all of Travis County, and then adds southeastern Bexar County, and then five counties south of Bexar: Wilson, Atascosa, Frio, La Salle, and McMullen.

Lamar Smith: His old district was an odd shape of northeast Bexar, Comal, Hays, Blanco, and western Travis (the part that Bonilla has now). His new district has a similar-but-not-identical-northeast Bexar, Guadalupe (from Doggett), Comal, Hays, and the southastern portion of Travis County (from Doggett).

Ramifications:

1a. I don't know of Ciro Rodriguez lives in the portion of Bexar County still in the district, but I don't think it matters. [134k of the districts 333k Latinos are in Bexar County, whereas Webb County has 182k of the district's Latino's. The old district had 201k Latinos in Bexar and only 96k Latinos in Webb.] Any primary challenge to Cuellar would come from state Rep. Richard Raymond instead of Ciro Rodriguez. While Cuellar's district looks MUCH different on paper, I'm guessing that population wise he probably represents 50% or so of it right now. I would think he'd be a favorite over Raymond.

1b. Depending on whether new primaries are ordered -- a key legal question -- will determine whether Raymond gets to challenge Cuellar this cycle or have to wait until March 2008.

2. Bonilla is re-elected, but instead of having a San Antonio suburbs plus border district, he now has an Austin suburbs plus Hill Country and SA suburbs district. His partisanship doesn't change very much, maybe a slight twinge (1% or so) less GOP. This becomes a district that has 46% of Travis County. Why is this important? Bonilla is largely expected to run for statewide office in the next few cycles. When the seat becomes open, the geography will definitely favor someone from Travis County.

3. Doggett should be very vulnerable to a primary challenge from a Latino. On the other hand, he should've been pretty vulnerable already, and yet somehow managed to get 64% of the vote against Leticia Hinojosa in the inaugural primary of the district. I'm not sure who'd run against him, but he's entirely isolated from his traditional base of Austin.

Doggett's old district was 63% Hispanic among the voting age population. His new one isn't much more -- only 66% -- but when you take out his Travis County base, Doggett should lose. In 2004, Doggett won by winning 18,299 to Hinojosa's 2,425 in Travis County. That was almost all his margin of victory. You have to assume that Doggett is done right now. It was impressive when Doggett won in 2004, but it would be amazing if he were to win under this map.

4. I don't know what's up with Lamar Smith. He's facing a semi-credible candidate this cycle, but I can't really tell how the partisanship of his district changed by eye-balling it. UPDATE: Actually, his new district is about 60% GOP. His old district was 60% GOP too.

Note: All the preceeding analysis is based on the map submitted by the Attorney General because I think it has the best chance of being adopted or being the basis for what is adopted by the court. Of course, even if it's the best chance, that doesn't mean that it's likely. I think it's still under 50%. LULAC's maps are probably almost as likely.

2. LULAC maps: Charles Kuffner looks at the LULAC maps.

UPDATES: Sprinkled throughout the post as I further research.

(post in progress)

Posted by Evan @ 07/14/06 04:47 PM

 
 

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