“We have a united map that we all agree on,” Rep. Roger Williams (R-Texas) said of the state’s Republican delegation. “It makes it easier when we’re united – it doesn’t happen too often. “
The division comes at a crucial moment. Texas has been at the center of two of the biggest trends in American politics: the growing appeal of Democrats to affluent suburbs and the right turn of certain segments of Latino voters. The remap offers Republicans a much-needed reset, having seen a chunk of once-safe sieges turn into battlegrounds in recent years.
The new map will allow the GOP to carve out rapidly diversifying suburbs while leveraging its new strength in the Rio Grande Valley to create potential new pickup opportunities and increase the GOP’s chances of toppling home next year. . Sources pointed out that While the Congressional delegation to Washington is on the same page, Republicans in both houses of the state legislature could change the card before and after its official presentation as early as this week.
But the nature of Texas’ demographic eruption over the past decade creates limits – both demographic and geographic – on how far Republicans can go to assert their partisan advantage. Texas is gaining two districts in reallocation, more than any other state. Yet almost all of Texas’ population growth has come from non-white residents, and the booming areas of the state are typically around major metropolitan areas, which have rushed to the Democrats.
“If they get greedy, they will hurt their own people,” said Representative Vicente Gonzalez (D-Texas). “There are nine seats that need to be reinforced and two new ones. If they go beyond that, they will lose seats over the next decade.
In fact, the holder of the greatest redistribution peril is probably Gonzalez, whose South Texas headquarters are likely to become much more competitive – and possibly even Republican-leaning.
“Clearly I am,” Gonzalez said when asked if he was a Republican target in the redistribution. His GOP friends in the legislature have warned him, he said.
Republicans began the past decade with 24 of the three dozen seats in Congress. For early cycles, the only truly competitive seat was a sprawling West Texas district that encompassed 800 miles of the US-Mexico border. But in 2018, Democrats managed to take control of two suburban seats in Houston and Dallas, which had long been GOP strongholds. And in 2020, both sides were spending more than half a dozen more.
Democrats did not oust any Texas Republicans last year, but seats that had never been seriously contested have become uncomfortably competitive. Then-President Donald Trump’s vote share fell below 51% of seats held by GOP representatives Dan Crenshaw, Van Taylor, Michael McCaul, Chip Roy, Troy Nehls, John Carter and Beth Van Duyne – a major warning sign.
To protect these members, GOP cartographers are expected to effectively ceding the two districts they lost in 2018, packing the Dallas seat of Democratic Representative Colin Allred and the Houston seat of Representative Lizzie Pannill Fletcher with Democratic voters from surrounding areas. And Texas lawmakers should place a new strongly blue district in the Austin area for the same purpose.
A second new headquarters will likely be added in the Houston area, and that will favor the GOP. Republican Wesley Hunt, who narrowly lost to Fletcher in 2020, is expected to run.
And for extra cushioning, they can pull ruby red seats in the Texas Panhandle, Hill Country, and down the State. eastern border.
“Everyone knows you’re going to have to give up things, and some people are going to get things,” said GOP Representative Ronny Jackson, who represents the most Republican seat in the state, where Trump defeated President Joe. Biden by 60 points. . “In particular, I’m an R + 33,” he added, referring to the district’s Partisan Voters Index. I mean, I won’t be an R + 33 anymore, it’s impossible.
Republican strategists are confident they won’t lose any incumbents in 2022, but it’s hard to predict with certainty how a district will fare in 2024, or throughout the mid-term of 2030.
They’re betting that three new deep blue seats can siphon off enough Democrats from surrounding areas to protect a dozen GOP incumbents – and that Democrats’ earnings in the suburbs have leveled off. And there is reason to believe that it is.
Although Trump’s vote share in Texas lags behind other recent GOP presidential candidates – including his less than 6 point victory last year – the rest of the party’s ticket has overtaken him, giving to the Republicans the assurance that Texas does not turn purple. time soon.
And the republicans in the state also predict that their Trump-fueled push into the Rio Grande Valley will continue without the former president on the ballot. All three districts in the region saw the biggest right turn in 2020, and Biden won by just a few points.