Texas judges release new interim redistricting map

at 05:14 PM ET, 02/28/2012

We may finally have a Texas congressional map for the 2012 election.

After a series of fits and starts thanks to a long, drawn-out legal process, a three-judge panel in San Antonio on Tuesday released an interim plan for the coming election.

It’s the second time the three judges have released a plan. The first time, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the plan differed too greatly from a plan that had been passed by the GOP-controlled state legislature. That map is still being litigated and won’t be ready in time for the 2012 election, which is why the judges in San Antonio have been tasked with drawing an interim map.

The new interim plan looks a lot like a supposed compromise plan reached by state Attorney General Greg Abbott (R) and some Latino groups a few weeks ago. (Though it should be noted that not all Latino groups were on board with the plan, which some said was too close to the legislature’s plan.)

In the state’s four new congressional districts, the plan creates two majority-Hispanic districts, according to the San Antonio Express-News. It also decimates Rep. Lloyd Doggett’s (D-Texas) district — as the state legislature’s plan would have — and likely forces him to run in a new and heavily Hispanic district.

The new map creates a situation where Republicans and Democrats are both likely to gain two seats, though one of the Democratic districts went for President Bush in 2004 and could be competitive.

In addition, the GOP’s most vulneable members, Reps. Quico Canseco and Blake Farenthold, both get safer. Canseco will still be targeted, though, in a district that President Obama won.

Democrats won’t likely be happy with the map, feeling as though they may be been able to get better than a map that looks a lot like the plan the GOP had proposed initially. Under that map, though, the GOP was more likely to gain three seats.

Despite the GOP’s control over redistricting, Democrats pointed to the fact that a large majority of the state’s population growth over the last decade has been in its Hispanic population. They had lobbied for three new majority Hispanic seats.

The interim plan needed to be released this week, otherwise the state would have been forced to delay its primary until June.

The plan is still subject to appeal.

 
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