Texas Democrats still resist political change

Washington Post:
More than in any other state in the union, the redrawing of congressional district lines in Texas is a partisan blood feud that turns the once-a-decade event of redistricting into a protracted, almost continuous, political and legal battle, sometimes with dire consequences. 
Take the small example of Tuesday’s Democratic primary in the new 35th House District. Sylvia Romo, the tax collector in Bexar County, has had trouble convincing voters here that she really is in a primary contest against the nine-term Democratic incumbent, Rep. Lloyd Doggett
As far as many of these voters are concerned, Doggett is not their congressman — he’s the guy from Austin, 80 miles away. But the primary race here is, in fact, between the congressman from Austin and the tax collector from San Antonio. 
“This has been a weird election, the timing, the confusion,” said Romo, tracing her hands along the strange map of the new congressional district. “It is so weird the way this thing just kind of developed. What were they drinking?” 
But weirdness and confusion are the hallmarks of redistricting in Texas. 
This year’s upheaval, for example, meant that the primary election day scheduled for March 6 had to be postponed until May 29. That delay crushed the presidential hopes of Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, both of whom thought a win in Texas would reenergize their bid for the GOP presidential nomination against Mitt RomneyRomney will finally win enough delegates in Texas on Tuesday to wrap up the nomination. 
The delayed primary also allowed former state solicitor general Ted Cruz, a tea party favorite, to mount an insurgent bid for the U.S. Senate against Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, the prohibitive establishment favorite to replace the retiring Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. Now, it looks as if Cruz will force Dewhurst into a late-July runoff for the GOP nomination. 
Instead of pitched battles followed by compromise and a single map for the next decade, as happens in the other 49 states, Texans gird for a longer fight. The result is that districts sometimes get redrawn more than once after each official census, often leaving voters unsure who their representative is or in which district they reside. 
First the congressional delegation offers its map, then the state legislature draws its own, then lower-level federal courts weigh in before, finally, the Supreme Court tries to settle the matter.
Doggett, for example, is seeking reelection in his fifth differently drawn district over the past 12 years, including a two-year stint last decade representing a district that stretched 350 miles from Austin to the Mexico border. 
“I’ve had an opportunity to represent a great deal of Texas, just not at the same time,” Doggett joked Sunday in a telephone interview during one of his countless treks up Interstate 35 from a campaign stop in San Antonio. 
The new 35th District has been described as a “dumbbell” because it is formed by two ball-shaped chunks, one in east Austin and the other in east San Antonio, connected by a thin strip along I-35. 
Nearly 60 percent of the voters in this district are Latino, and most of the voters are down in Bexar County. Doggett believes that the decision to split apart his old district is the result of his ongoing feud with Republican Gov. Rick Perry.
There is more.

Lloyd was a year ahead of me in law school.  He is a nice guy, but is way to liberal for most of Texas.  the political make up of the state has changed dramatically since he was first elected in a district that was dominated by liberals in Austin.  The bulk of his old district is the 25th where Michael Williams and others are running in the GOP primary.  Williams is a former chairman of the Texas Railroad Commission.

The problem with Texas Democrats is that they were in charge in Texas for so long they still have not gotten used to being in the minority.  They were able to rig districts in their favor for so long that they were able to win a majority of Congressional districts long after they were a minority of voters in the state.

As for Gov. Perry, he has good reason to oppose Lloyd who was responsible for a move that cut funding to Texas schools because the legislature did not want to spend the money the way he wanted them to.  It was a blatantly political move and such things have their consequences.


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