Gov. Rick Perry did not include congressional redistricting on the agenda of the special session that started this morning in Austin but some Republican lawmakers are clearly hoping he adds it on later. State Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, and state Rep. Burt Solomons, R-Carrollton released a proposed congressional redistricting map this morning for the state of Texas.
The map includes four new congressional districts including District 33 which would cover Parker County, and parts of Tarrant and Wise County including all of Arlington. At first glance, the map appears to leave Tarrant County in Republican hands. Some area Republicans had worried that part of Tarrant, currently represented by only Republicans, would end up adding a Democrat into their delegation under a new map if it allowed a Democratic-leaning district in Dallas to spill over into Tarrant.
The Austin American-Statesman reports that the map would split Travis County into five districts and appears to target U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin, by drawing him into a Republican seat that goes into Hill County.
Earlier this month, U.S. Rep. Joe Barton, R-Arlington, filed a lawsuit asking a state court to handle the job of redistricting Texas. Barton has been at odds with U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith, R-San Antonio, the leader of the Texas delegation on redistricting, over how many of the four new districts should be drawn with Hispanic majorities.
Here's a quick look at how the Tarrant-area districts would change under the proposal:
District 6 (Current Rep: Joe Barton)
Barton's district currently begins in southeast Tarrant and snakes down south all the way to Trinity County. Under the proposed map, the district covers just four counties: Tarrant, Dallas, Ellis and Johnson. Only Ellis County is incorporated entirely in the district. The district would also include Mansfield, Grand Prairie and Burleson.
District 12 (Current Rep: Kay Granger)
Arguably one of the goofiest looking districts in the proposed map (it's sort of U-shaped with a huge chunk of Fort Worth carved out in the center). Granger also loses Wise and Parker Counties. Her new district would be entirely in Tarrant County. However, she loses Haslet, Blue Mound and part of central Fort Worth to Burgess' District 26 and gains a big part of Northeast Tarrant County, including Keller, Watauga and Westlake.
District 24 (Current Rep: Kenny Marchant)
Marchant's district currently straddles the Tarrant and Dallas county line and covers Grand Prairie, most of northeast Tarrant and part of Dallas, along with southeast Denton County. Under the new map, the district moves northward and gets fatter, creeping westward into Tarrant and eastward into Dallas.
District 26 (Current Rep: Michael Burgess)
During the last round of redistricting, the configuration of this Denton-based district raised eyebrows by swinging down into Southeast Fort Worth. Members of that minority community complained their vote was rendered meaningless. Under the proposed map, Burgess would no longer represent that part of southeast Fort Worth but his district would still jut out into Tarrant, slightly to the west of where it extends now. The district would take Haslet, Blue Mound and part of central Fort Worth from Granger's District 12.
District 33 (New district)
This is one of the four new districts Texas is gaining because of population growth. Under the proposed map, District 33 would covers all of Parker County and parts of Wise and Tarrant, including all of Arlington and parts of south Fort Worth. The representative of this new district would have to balance representing large rural areas along with the seventh largest city in Texas.
To view the proposed map in detail and compare it to the current senate district lines, click here. Under "Select Plans," Select "PLANC100 - Current Texas Congressional Districts" as the base plan and "PlanC125 - Solomons-Seliger Congressional Proposal" as the overlay plan.