Texas 21

Devoted to discussion about the 21st Congressional District of Texas. Currently occupied by Congressman Lamar Smith (R).

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Redistricting Limbo

The latest round of redistricting promises to screw Travis County once again, at least if the RPoTties have their way.

And it seems very likely that TX-21 will be effected, though we will not know precisely how until after the Aug 3 hearing.

Several sources of really solid analysis already exist, so I suggest checking them out if you're interested.

The Lone Star Project is doing great work keeping up with all the ins and outs of this long, protacted mess. And, I love that they're not afraid to come right out and call a partisan hack wearing the mask of a public servant just that:

Perry/Craddick/Dewhurst Plan (1418C) is partisan and disruptive
Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott, on behalf of the State Republican leadership, forfeited the opportunity to represent all Texans by submitting a proposed redistricting plan that is even more disruptive than and just as partisan as Tom DeLay’s 2003 plan. The Perry brief essentially says the Court should place higher priority on partisan interests than restoring the Voting Rights of Hispanic voters.

No wonder that Lamar Smith was part of the shameful cabal that resisted renewing the Voting Rights Act for so long. That's the only snag in the TRMPAC takeover-well, and the illegality, of course...

Courtesy of the Dallas Morning News:

At issue was the DeLay committee's improper use of more than $200,000 in soft money to help elect candidates in 2002 and failure to report nearly $325,000 in debts owed to campaign vendors.

In particular, ARMPAC spent $121,000 for voter drives, including $50,000 in Texas, and more than $100,000 for fundraising events that should have been covered by so-called "hard money" contributions.

Soft money is contributions from corporations and individuals that are largely unrestricted in amount and, as a result, can only be used for limited purposes such as administrative costs and generic party-building activities. Hard money contributions are sharply limited in amount and can be used to elect candidates.

Known by its acronym ARMPAC, the committee provided $50,000 in seed money and the assistance of political operatives to launch a Texas group at the heart of Mr. DeLay's plan to boost the GOP by redrawing congressional lines.

Texans for a Republican Majority used $190,000 in corporate money in 2002 to help elect Republican legislative candidates, who took control of the Texas House and drew new congressional lines that added five new GOP seats in Congress.

In May 2005, a judge hearing a civil lawsuit filed by Democrats in Texas ruled that TRMPAC had violated Texas election laws.

Kuff has a link to the PDF of an analysis, including maps.

And CQ has a synopsis of the various plans submitted.

As required, the long list of remedial proposals currently under consideration all make changes to the 23rd District lines. The proposed maps all also reconfigure three other districts, though in widely varying combinations. One is the 21st, a Republican-leaning district in the San Antonio-Austin region that is represented by Republican Lamar Smith. A second is the 25th, a heavily Hispanic district that stretches 300 miles from Austin to the Mexico border and is represented by “Anglo” Democrat Lloyd Doggett, who previously represented an Austin-centered district. The third is the 28th District, held by Cuellar.

Three of the major proposals would redraw just those four districts: a map submitted by Texas Republican defendants, which is being defended by the office of Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott; a map from a group of Texas Democratic voters known as the Jackson plaintiffs; and one of two maps submitted by the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC). But a map submitted jointly by Bonilla, Cuellar and Smith would affect the lines of three additional districts along with those common four.

Other plaintiffs include Travis County, which includes Austin and whose lawyers submitted two remedial maps, and the GI Forum of Texas, a Hispanic group that is represented by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

This time, redistricting is a game almost everybody can play...


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