4/27/2011 5:39 PM
Right now, the House is slogging through the amendments to HB 150 – districts for the Texas House. Democrats are making their voting rights act arguments, intended more for the courts than for the members. A Republican House will not pass a Democratic map.
But the real story behind House redistricting is – unlike the 2001 map – the fight over the map is largely an intra-Republican fight. In 2001, almost all Republicans endorsed the Craddick-Marchant map, which sought to build a stable Republican House majority. The focus of the debate was the general election.
Today, the debate over redistricting focuses on the Republican primary.
What’s going on right now is – at least in part – a disagreement between supporters and detractors of Speaker Joe Straus (R-San Antonio). Most of those paired in the House redistricting committee map opposed the Speaker, whereas the speaker’s Republican supporters do better.
Meanwhile, the map proposed by former Rep. Joe Nixon is kinder to the Republicans who voted against the Speaker than the committee map.
And, not surprisingly given that they’re trying to appeal to GOP primary voters, both sides are arguing that their map is better for the GOP long-term.
Tea Party activists are encouraging folks to vote for the Nixon map and questioning the loyalty of Republicans who back the committee’s map. These appeals are all over conservative blogs and email lists.
Meanwhile, the committee’s map has the support of Texans for Lawsuit Reform, the Associated Republicans of Texas, and Republican Party of Texas Chairman Steve Munisteri. All of the aforementioned argue the committee’s map is a solid Republican map and adopting it is good for Republicans.
I’m assuming – based on HB 150’s placement on the calendar – that leadership has the votes to pass this map. But the margin will be interesting. While most Republicans will support the map, there are a significant number who are opposed. The leadership will likely not get many Democratic votes on final passage, so the leadership can’t lose much more than 25 Republicans and pass the map.
The other sideshow today is which amendments go on the map. There are two types of amendments – minor changes agreed to by the affected members, and major changes to the map.
Let the games continue.