Redistricting and the speaker's race
Mon April 25, 2011 6:35 pm

Make no mistake about it: We are about to see a reprise of the speaker’s race in the redistricting debate. Redistricting has gone viral.

Did you think it was strange the other day when TLR came out and endorsed the Solomons plan? I certainly did. Why would TLR be interested in redistricting? The reason, I believe, is that they realize the potential for a right-wing coup that would put the crazies in charge–not that they aren’t already.

Thanks to the social media, redistricting is about to become a statewide issue, for the first time ever. Just as the conservative organizations flexed their muscle in the speakers’ race, so will they engage in the redistricting debate. Here is an example, an e-mail to Fort Bend County Republicans from county chairman Rick Miller:

April 25, 2011

Dear Fort Bend Republicans - please read: this is urgent!

Need Action today on the Vote for Texas House Redistricting:

The Texas House will vote tomorrow on the State Rep. redistricting plan. There are several plans that will be considered, namely the Solomons Plan (Plan 113) and the Nixon Plan (155 OR 166). [Note to readers: the Nixon plan is also the Klienschmidt plan].

To view the plans, go to: http://gis1.tlc.state.tx.us

The issue is this: In plan 113, there are 8 or 9 districts that pit one Republican against another…and also open up 7 or 8 districts that do not have an incumbent, like new District 85 OR 33 in Fort Bend County depending on the Plan. [Note: The new district 33 in Fort Bend County exists because Fort Bend County qualified for a new seat due to population increase, not due to any nefarious line-drawing.]

In Plan 155, to the best of my knowledge, this is not the case. The Nixon Plan respects the conservative results of the last election and preserves our elected conservative Republicans, with only a few combined districts.

Regarding Fort Bend County, there is no difference, so there is no impact here between the two plans except for the number of the new district. But the impact statewide could be significant. We have 101 Republicans in the House today as a result of the 2010 General Election. The Solomons Plan has the potential to change this in the next election. The major considerations:

1.   It does not reflect the voting patterns of the State, as in 2010

2.   It violates the Voting Rights Act in urban areas

3.   It not compact, with several very large areas

4.   View the discussion at this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FcoTFzjvGYk

I encourage you to call State Representatives Charlie Howard (District 26) and Dr. John Zerwas (District 28) to tell them to vote for Plan 155/166, or the Nixon Plan.

* * * * *

My comments:

Once again, Straus’s speakership is at risk. This is what happens when you come to the critical moment of the session with no team in place, no plan, and brush fires of discontent among the members. I have to say, though I like Straus personally, he is sowing what he reaped. He has spent the entire session kowtowing to the far right, so that the inmates are running the asylum, and it has gotten him nowhere. He was never going to win them over, and now he has the worst appropriations bill in modern history to show for his efforts, and a potential redistricting revolt on his hands. His speakership is at risk–if not now, then in the Legislative Redistricting Board. Rick Perry will likely send redistricting to the board, probably with whispered instructions to draw a map that pairs Straus loyalists and insulates the conservatives from potential challengers. This could get really bloody.

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