More on redistricting: just 1 R left in South Texas?
Mon November 21, 2011 8:33 am

That’s the gist of an e-mail I received from a Republican friend who analyzed the revised House maps. My correspondent believes that the Court sought to eliminate most Republican districts in South Texas, and when the dust clears, only one Republican rep will remain.

Start with Aaron Pena. My correspondent writes, “A Republican simply cannot win this seat. I like the guy, but, sorry.”

Next: the Todd Hunter-Geanie Morrison pairing. Advantage Hunter. There are more voters in Morrison’s part of the district (Victoria County), but the turnout is typically higher in Nueces County, which gives Hunter the edge. Plus, Hunter has more cash on hand than Morrison does.

The Connie Scott-Raoul Torres pairing in Nueces County eliminates another Republican seat. Scott would be favored to defeat Torres in the Republican primary, but the district could revert to its former Democratic representative, Solomon Ortiz Jr. This district is a tossup.

Aliseda’s district is paired with Tracy King’s, and since Aliseda is not seeking reelection, chances are it will end up with the Democrats.

J.M. Lozano’s district, centered in Kingsville, disappeared. He is expected to move to another South Texas district. A new district was created in Nueces and Kleberg counties that could be won by former Democratic representative Abel Herrero. This is a swing district that is very close between the parties.

If all this come to pass as my correspondent foresees it, Todd Hunter would be the only surviving Republican in South Texas.

* * * *

If the Republicans had been smart, they would have thrown the Democrats a few bones–a couple of new seats in Hidalgo County, a couple in Dallas County, perhaps, another seat or two in South Texas, and they might have avoided a lawsuit, or have been able to defend themselves in court. I never thought Solomons’ House map would survive a challenge, given its failure to reflect Hispanic population gains. But it is the nature of politicians to overreach, and to ignore the potential consequences, and that is what happened. Remember, it was a Republican-majority court in DC that refused to grant the state’s motion for summary judgment and ordered the San Antonio court to draw the new maps. The outcome could still be reversed when there is a full trial on the merits, but by that time a new legislature will have been elected using the current maps. Will Republicans try to undo the San Antonio court’s plan by redrawing the House map in the 2013 session?

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