US Rep. Joe Barton is among those paying close attention to today’s redistricting hearing in San Antonio.
The Arlington Republican has been at odds with other Republican leaders over redistricting strategy for months. Some recent reports have suggested that Barton is intently focused on retaining the Cowboys Stadium in his congressional district. Attorney General Greg Abbott said as much in a recent conference call with the press.
Barton spokesman Sean Brown said the stadium issue was overblown Monday.
"He has represented Arlington for years and would like to include parts of it in the 6th District, including [the University of Texas-Arlington], his district office and the Entertainment District," Brown wrote in an email. "But this has never been and still isn’t about keeping Cowboys Stadium."
District 6, the congressional district represented by Barton, currently includes all of Arlington and Crowley, part of south Fort Worth, and several counties south of Tarrant County.
Since redistricting began over a year ago, dozens of maps have been proposed and the extent to which Barton retains any of Arlington changes with each map.
Republican leaders have shown little interest in what parts of Arlington Barton should get in his district. Three sets of maps have received the most attention during this process: the set the Republican-led Legislature passed last year, the set a San Antonio federal court ruled would be the temporary maps used for 2012 (later overturned by the US Supreme Court), and the set Attorney General Greg Abbott proposed earlier this month as a compromise proposal.
In all three sets of maps, Barton does not retain Cowboys Stadium in his district.
Barton retains UTA in only one proposal: the latest map proposed by Abbott.
Like many Democrats, Barton has argued for delaying any further action on redistricting lawsuits until a Washington, D.C. court rules on the legality of the maps passed by the Legislature, even though that likely means delaying the primary until May or June.
Barton proposed his own congressional map on Friday. Barton’s plan would give him the Cowboys Stadium and UTA, a shift he explained in his filing was done to increase the number of voting-age African Americans in Congressional District 30, currently represented by Democrat Eddie Bernice Johnson of Dallas.
Barton suggested to judges in the filing that, if a court-drawn map is necessary, his proposal was preferable as "the most minimally changed map from the Legislature’s plan."
(AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)