Five-Way Split for Travis County in Redistricting Map
(Updated at 4:55 p.m. with quotes from Doggett and Elam)
A federal court in San Antonio has issued maps for United States House and Texas House seats that, barring further appeals, will be used for elections this year.
The new maps boost the number of congressional House districts that dip into Travis County to five, dramatically changing the district for long-time Austin Democrat Lloyd Doggett. Uncertainty over how the districts would be drawn (in turn leading to postponement of the Texas primary date) have thrown a wrench into election plans for candidates, including for Doggett, who currently represents District 25.
Doggett will run in the new District 35, which stretches from eastern Travis County down to San Antonio. He says he’s confident he’ll have a shot at remaining in Washington, but admits he’s going to have to focus a lot of energy in San Antonio.
“I’ll need to devote more of my time there because that’s where about half of the electorate is in this election, and they’re the half that hasn’t had the chance to work with me in Congress,” Doggett said.
Representatives for the state Republican Party say they’re generally pleased with the maps that were released today.
“Where we move forward from here is trying to identify our opportunity areas and trying to identify those areas where there have been significant changes,” said party spokesman Chris Elam.
The House plan will create a heavily Republican district in the West and Southwest part of the county for current GOP state Rep. Paul Workman, while leaving winnable districts for the county’s five Democrats. The San Antonio court had previously issued maps for Texas Senate races.
The five-way split doesn’t sit well with the region’s Democrats, who feel that comparatively liberal Austin has been gerrymandered. Travis County Democratic Party chair, Andy Brown, says, “The Republicans again have tried to silence Travis County by splitting us into five districts … It’s a slap in the face of the majority of Travis County and Austin.”