GOP's Redrawn Texas Congressional Map Would Leave Only One Competitive Seat

The proposed new congressional map in Texas designed by Republican lawmakers looks set to favor their incumbents and preserve GOP control of the state's delegation, as well as result in only one possible competitive seat overall.

Texas was the only state in the country to be awarded two new congressional districts in the 2020 Census.

The draft map, proposed by the Republican-controlled State Senate redistricting committee (led by State Senator Joan Huffman), appeared to benefit the Republican party by helping it hold on to its 23 out of 36 current seats and as well as gaining two additional seats.

As noted by FiveThirtyEight, the first draft of the new congressional map for 38 seats in Texas means there would only be only one congressional district in the state—the 15th Congressional District in South Texas, currently held by Democrat Vicente Gonzalez—where the margin between Joe Biden and Donald Trump voters in 2020 was less than five percentage points.

The proposed changes would see incumbents on both sides having an easier route to re-election, with the changes also look set to make a number of potentially vulnerable seats more likely to remain held by the GOP.

The Texas Tribunenotes that the changes are able to do this by reducing the number of districts in which Black and Hispanic people make up the majority of eligible voters.

Despite Black and Hispanic voters making up an estimated 95 percent of Texas' growth in the past decade, the proposal would decrease the number of predominantly Hispanic districts in the state from eight to seven, with no districts having a Black majority. The map would increase the number of majority-white districts from 22 to 23.

Domingo Garcia, national president of the League of United Latin American Citizens, said the changes to the map are "clearly gerrymandered by politicians" to protect current incumbents and discriminate against the millions of potential non-white voters.

"LULAC has filed suit against the state of Texas every 10 years since 1970 and we've prevailed every 10 years. Unless there's new maps drawn, we expect we will wind up in federal court again," Garcia told The Texas Tribune.

Gary Bledsoe, president of the Texas NAACP, said the proposed map "vastly diminishes" the voting strength of minorities all around the state by either "packing them into districts already electing minority candidates of choice or cracking them by pushing them into districts dominated by conservative white voters."

He added: "As the state has garnered two new congressional seats on the backs of its minority population, it has sought to put forth a proposed congressional map that is clearly retrogressive."

Democratic Texas Rep. Lloyd Doggett also condemned the proposals in a statement while demanding any future draft to have "less crooked lines" in the state.

"Fearing voters, Republicans once again engage in extreme gerrymandering to carve up neighborhoods and communities of interest in Travis, Hays and Bexar Counties—aiming to dilute strong voices," he said in a statement.

"With lines shaped like snakes, tentacles, and dragons, parts of both Travis and Bexar are included in five different districts. San Antonio and Austin are connected by a sliver only slightly wider than I-35."

Huffman has been contacted for comment.

texas congressional map
Voters line up to cast their ballots on Super Tuesday March 1, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas. A new congressional map by Texas Republicans looks set to protect the party’s majority incumbents and leave only one competitive seat. Ron Jenkins/Getty Images