4/28/2011 1:47 AM
Earlier today, I predicted that the Texas House Redistricting Battle in 2011 would be between Republicans. And there were some East Texas Republicans who decided not to vote for the map.
That said, as the evening went on, deals got cut that likely added votes to the map.
The biggest breakthrough came when Rep. Burt Solomons (R-Carrollton) accepted Rep. John Smithee’s (R-Amarillo) consensus West Texas amendment. Several Republican legislators estimated that addressing the concerns with West Texas may have added double-digit numbers of aye votes for the map.
But even in committee, changes were made to the initial draft that addressed Republican concerns. For example, the concerns of Williamson County Republicans got addressed in committee.
Also, some of the bizarre shapes in the map (Williamson County and the straight-line open seat from Wise County almost to New Mexico) got fixed.
The East Texas Republicans who did not like the map couldn’t get a deal with the leadership. But otherwise most of the intra-Republican concerns got fixed. The proposed map drawn by former Rep. Joe Nixon discussed in great detail on the blogosphere never got offered on the House floor.
That said, the GOP – while not as fractured as expected – wasn’t as unified as in 2001, when almost all Republicans opposed the map by then-Speaker Pete Laney.
The dynamic on the floor was very different from 2001. In that year, the overarching redistricting theme was the rise of the GOP and what would happen with Laney’s speakership.
This year, the Democrats are – not surprisingly – trying to make voting rights argument for future lawsuits. New Latino and African-American districts are their big theme.
For the Republicans, the map has a very different effect by region, and there is no over-arching theme. Just a technical task that needed completion.