Friday, February 17, 2012

Texas Fair Redistricting Map

This is my 6th post using a fair redistricting map model.

The Texas Redistricting saga began in 2003 and is continuing today. In 2003, the Republican legislature and House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R) performed a mid decade redistricting, increasing Texas's Republican delegation from 15 to 21. In 2006 though, a court redrew a few Texas districts in the southern part of the state because it needed a new Hispanic majority seat mandated by the VRA. The VRA is the Voting Rights Act requring the legislature to draw enough districts with enough Hispanics or African American to elect the candidates of their choice. In 2011 though, the  Texas legislature drew a map creating no new Hispanic VRA seats, although the large majority of Texas's population growth that gave it four new seats was from Hispanics. A San Antonio court then drew a map giving Hispanics new seats but the Supreme Court decided to step into the redistricting case and ruled the map unconstitutional. Currently, there is a lawsuit to produce another court drawn map. After seeing the unfair maps the Republicans drew last year that did not give Hispanics enough representation, I decided to create a fair new map creating two new heavily Hispanic districts. The Republicans did not create a Hispanic majority district in the Dallas area, although there are enough Hispanics there for a new Hispanic majority district which I drew. The Republicans also combined urban parts of Dallas with rural counties. My map combines communities of interest by creating districts that do not combine urban and rural areas unless it is absolutely necessary for population. Communities of interest are communities that have similar needs and issues. Districts that combine communities of interest are important because representatives are elected to advocate for their communities needs in Congress. For example, if a district that combined urban and rural communities elected a representative from the urban area, that representative may not understand the needs of rural communities as well. After creating the map, I looked at the partisan numbers and I estimate that this map will yield ten Safe Democratic seats, one Likely Democratic seat, three Lean Democratic seats, one Tossup seat, one Lean Republican seat, two Likely Republican seats and 19 Safe Republican seats. This suggests that the Democrats will win 14-15 and the Republicans will win 21-22 seats.

Link to current Texas maps:  http://www.govtrack.us/congress/findyourreps.xpd?state=TX\
Also, I kept the current numbering on Texas's districts for this map so it is easier to see how I changed the districts.


Texas

South Texas
East Texas

Texas's 1st Congressional District: Louie Gohmert (R) Blue
Presidential Data: Obama 29.2%, McCain 70.8%
Average: Dem 33.6%, Rep 66.4%
Demographics 18+: 70.3% White
Status: Safe Republican

The district shifts south a bit but remains heavily rural and Republican. Gohmert should have no trouble winning reelection. It represents communities of interest by combining the rural areas.

Texas's 2nd Congressional District: Ted Poe (R) Green
Presidential Data: Obama 39.6%, McCain 60.4%
Average: Dem 44.2%, Rep 55.8%
Demographics 18+: 17.7% African American, 18.7% Hispanic, 59.4% White
Status: Safe Republican

The district becomes more coastal as it loses some of Houston's northern suburbs. It represents communities of interest by representing coastal areas east of Houston instead of coastal areas and Houston's northern suburbs. Although these areas are strongly Republican federally, the coastal areas sometimes vote for local Democrats. This district should be still too Republican though for former Rep. Nick Lampson (D) if he wanted to return to Congress.

Dallas
Texas's 3rd Congressional District: Sam Hall (R) Purple
Presidential Data: Obama 37.8%, McCain 62.2%
Average: Dem 28.9%, Rep 71.1%
Demographics 18+: 65.3% White
Status: Safe Republican

The 3rd district moves north and is completely located in fast growing and conservative Collin County, representing communities of interest by combining the Dallas exurbs in this county. The district is very safe for Sam Hall.

Texas's 4th Congressional District: Ralph Hall (R) Red
Presidential Data: Obama 30.1%, McCain 69.9%
Average: Dem 37.9%, Rep 62.1%
Demographics 18+: 76.8% White
Status: Safe Republican

Hall's district loses the Dallas exurban areas in Collin and Rockwell Counties, representing more rural communities of interest. It remains heavily Republican and safe for Hall, the oldest representative in the House.

Texas's 5th Congressional District: Jeb Hensarling (R) vs. Joe Barton (R)? Yellow
Presidential Data: Obama 37.5%, McCain 62.5%
Average: Dem 34.1%, Rep 65.9%
Demographics 18+: 12.6% African American, 20.8% Hispanic, 61.6% White
Status: Safe Republican

The current 5th district splits communities of interest by combining rural Anderson County with the close in Dallas suburb of Garland, Texas. This new district though becomes strictly suburban as it loses all of the rural counties. It now represents communities of interest by representing exurban Ellis, Kaufman and Rockwell Counties as well as less developed parts of Collin and Dallas Counties. The district remains heavily Republican and safe for Hensarling though. Rep. Joe Barton's (R) home is in the district but I do not expect him to run here because the new 6th district represents most of his current district.

Texas's 6th Congressional District: Joe Barton (R) Teal
Presidential Data: Obama 29.0%, McCain 71.0%
Average: Dem 34.7%, Rep 65.3%
Demographics 18+: 12.9% African American, 12.7% Hispanic, 72.5% White
Status: Safe Republican

Instead of combining urban Arlington with rural counties in central Texas, the 6th district now only represents rural counties in central Texas. Parts of Joe Barton's current district are in the new 6th but his home is not. I still expect him to run here though.

Houston area

Texas's 7th Congressional District: John Culberson (R) Gray
Presidential Data: Obama 46.1%, McCain 53.9%
Average: Dem 40.4%, Rep 59.6%
Demographics 18+: 9.0% African American, 8.2% Asian, 32.7% Hispanic, 48.0% White
Status: Lean Republican

The 7th district becomes a few points more Democratic going from 41% Obama to 46% Obama by losing heavily Republican western parts of Harris County. Although the district still represents communities of interest in western Houston, it becomes more competitive. This area votes Republican at a local level but if demographic trends continue, Democrats can win this district.

Texas's 8th Congressional District: Kevin Brady (R) SlateBlue
Presidential Data: Obama 24.9%, McCain 75.1%
Average: Dem 23.1%, Rep 76.9%
Demographics 18+: 17.5% Hispanic, 72.6% White
Status: Safe Republican

The 8th district currently represents suburban Houston (Montgomery County) and rural Newton County on the Louisiana border. These areas are not communities of interest so I removed Newton County and other nearby rural counties from the 8th district and placed them in the rural 1st and 6th district. As for the 8th district, it now represents communities of interest by representing Houston's northern suburbs.

Texas's 9th Congressional District: Al Green (D) Cyan
Presidential Data: Obama 71.9%, McCain 28.1%
Average: Dem 67.6%, Rep 32.4%
Demographics 18+: 35.1% African American, 12.2% Asian, 32.6% Hispanic, 18.7% White
Status: Safe Democratic

The 9th district retains most of its current lines. It remains heavily urban, Democratic and safe for Green.

Texas's 10th Congressional District: Michael McCaul (R) DeepPink
Presidential Data: Obama 35.5%, McCain 64.5%
Average: Dem 36.1%, Rep 63.9%
Demographics 18+: 11.4% African American, 21.7% Hispanic, 63.3% White
Status: Safe Republican

The 10th district currently does not combine communities of interest by combining parts of two distinct metropolitan areas, Austin and Houston, in the same district. The 10th district now though loses those areas and represents communities of interest by representing rural areas in Texas.


North Texas

Texas's 11th Congressional District: Vacant (Mike Conaway? (R)) Chartreuse
Presidential Data: Obama 25.1%, McCain 74.9%
Average: Dem 28.8%, Rep 71.2%
Demographics 18+: 21.5% Hispanic, 72.8% White
Status: Safe Republican

The 11th district shifts a bit east but remains heavily rural and Republican.

Texas's 12th Congressional District: Kay Granger (R) Cornflower Blue
Presidential Data: Obama 37.3%, McCain 62.7%
Average: Dem 30.0%, Rep 70.0%
Demographics 18+: 7.8% African American, 15.7% Hispanic, 67.9% White
Status: Safe Republican

This district represents the outer suburbs of Fort Worth by representing Denton County and northern Tarrant County. It should stay heavily Republican.

Texas's 13th Congressional District: Mac Thornberry (R) DarkSalmon
Presidential Data: Obama 23.1%, McCain 76.9%
Average: Dem 26.9%, Rep 73.1%
Demographics 18+: 24.5% Hispanic, 66.9% White
Status: Safe Republican

The 13th district undergoes only a few changes. It still represents communities of interest by representing western rural Texas and it remains one of the most Republican districts in the state and America.

Texas's 14th Congressional District: Ron Paul (R) Olive
Presidential Data: Obama 35.8%, McCain 64.2%
Average: Dem 38.1%, Rep 61.9%
Demographics 18+: 10.0% African American, 26.7% Hispanic, 58.8% White
Status: Safe Republican

The 14th district also remains mostly the same. It represents communities of interest by representing coastal areas in Central Texas. It remains safe for Ron Paul in the general election.


Rio Grande Valley
Texas's 15th Congressional District: Ruben Hinojosa (D) Dark Orange
Presidential Data: Obama 56.6%, McCain 43.4%
Average: Dem 57.6%, Rep 42.4%
Demographics 18+: 74.5% Hispanic, 22.2% White
Status: Likely Democratic

The 15th district becomes a few points more Republican but should still be safe for Hinojosa. Although this district combines rural counties in central Texas with the Mexican border, the district's lines are necessary in order to prevent the packing of Hispanics (most of the precincts along the Mexican border are greater than 90% Hispanic.)

El Paso

Texas's 16th Congressional District: Silverste Reyes (D) Lime
Presidential Data: Obama 65.2%, McCain 34.8%
Average: Dem 61.5%, Rep 38.5%
Demographics 18+: 77.7% Hispanic, 17.0% White
Status: Safe Democratic

The district becomes a bit smaller due to population growth but does not undergo major changes. It remains heavily Democratic and centered around El Paso.

Texas's 17th Congressional District: Bill Flores (R) Dark Slate Blue
Presidential Data: Obama 37.1%, McCain 62.9%
Average: Dem 38.2%, Rep 61.8%
Demographics 18+: 13.6% African American, 16.9% Hispanic, 65.1% White
Status: Safe Republican

The 17th district becomes more compact and centered around Waco. These changes make the district a bit more Democratic. Former Rep. Chet Edwards (D) may consider running here but after he lost easily in 2010, he may not decide to run again.

Texas's 18th Congressional District: Sheila Jackson Lee (D) Yellow
Presidential Data: Obama 72.7%, McCain 27.3%
Average: Dem 69.3%, Rep 30.7%
Demographics 18+: 35.9% African American, 37.8% Hispanic, 21.2% White
Status: Safe Democratic

Lee's district retains most of its current lines and remains heavily urban and Democratic.

Texas's 19th Congressional District: Randy Neugebauer (R) YellowGreen
Presidential Data: Obama 26.9%, McCain 73.1%
Average: Dem 27.2%, Rep 72.8%
Demographics 18+: 35.0% Hispanic, 56.7% White
Status: Safe Republican

The 19th district becomes more focused around the New Mexican border but remains heavily Republican.


San Antonio
Texas's 20th Congressional District: Charlie Gonzalez (D) Pink
Presidential Data: Obama 58.6%, McCain 41.4%
Average: Dem 54.6%, Rep 45.4%
Demographics 18+: 63.8% Hispanic, 26.9% White
Status: Safe Democratic

The district becomes a few points more Republican but should remain safe for Gonzalez. This district continues to represent communities of interest by representing urban San Antonio.

Texas's 21st Congressional District: Lamar Smith (R) Maroon
Presidential Data: Obama 36.5%, McCain 63.5%
Average: Dem 30.1%, Rep 69.9%
Demographics 18+: 28.6% Hispanic, 62.0% White
Status: Safe Republican

The 21st district represents communities of interest by representing San Antonio suburbs and exurbs instead of combining the San Antonio and Austin areas. The district remains safe for Smith though.

Texas's 22nd Congressional District: Pete Olsen (R) Sienna
Presidential Data: Obama 46.9%, McCain 53.1%
Average: Dem 41.5%, Rep 58.5%
Demographics 18+: 18.2% African American, 16.3% Asian, 23.7% Hispanic, 40.2% White
Status: Tossup if Lampson runs, Lean Republican if he does not

This district becomes more Democratic as it becomes more centered around Democratic trending Fort Bend County. This district represents communities of interest by combining Houston's southern suburbs with almost all of Fort Bend County. The district's Democratic shift may convince former Rep. Nick Lampson (D) to run here. He represented a more Republican version of the 22nd district from 2006 to 2008.

Texas's 23rd Congressional District: Quinco Canseco (R) Aquamarine
Presidential Data: Obama 56.0%, McCain 44.0%
Average: Dem 57.5%, Rep 42.5%
Demographics 18+: 77.2% Hispanic, 20.7% White
Status: Lean Democratic, Likely Democratic if Cuellar or Rodriguez runs

This district becomes more Democratic as it loses the Republican leaning San Antonio suburbs and gains heavily Democratic Laredo in the Rio Grande Valley. The district also represents communities of interest by representing the Rio Grande Valley area instead of combining the Rio Grande Valley area with San Antonio suburbs. These changes increase Obama's percentage from 51% to 56%, making it difficult for Canseco who won a close race against former Rep. Ciro Rodreguiez (D) in 2010, a heavily Republican year. Rodriguez may run again here hoping the district's new Democrats will help him win. Another possibility is that Rep. Henry Cuellar (D) from the 28th district will run here because his base of Laredo was moved into the 23rd district.

Texas's 24th Congressional District: Kenny Merchant (R) Indigo
Presidential Data: Obama 39.5%, McCain 60.5%
Average: Dem 34.1%, Rep 65.9%
Demographics 18+: 11.3% African American, 8.4% Asian, 17.8% Hispanic, 60.6% White
Status: Safe Republican

The 24th district continues to represent communities of interest by combining the area between Dallas and Fort Worth. It also becomes more Republican.


Austin
Texas's 25th Congressional District: Lloyd Doggett (D) Pale Violet Red
Presidential Data: Obama 69.5%, McCain 30.5%
Average: Dem 62.6%, Rep 37.4%
Demographics 18+: 9.1% African American, 28.1% Hispanic, 54.5% White
Status: Safe Democratic

The 25th district becomes more Democratic and representative of communities of interest when it loses all of its rural counties. The 25th district is now centered around the city of Austin and should be safe for Doggett.

Texas's 26th Congressional District: Michael Burgess (R) Gray
Presidential Data: Obama 55.0%, McCain 45.0%
Average: Dem 51.5%, Rep 48.5%
Demographics 18+: 18.2% African American, 32.4% Hispanic, 44.8% White
Status: Lean Democratic

The current 26th district combines inner city Fort Worth with exurban areas in Denton County. Fort Worth's voting power is decreased because it is currently divided between the 12th and 26th districts. On this new map though, Fort Worth has its own congressional district combining communities of interest. Also, Burgess will probably not run here because this district may be too Democratic for him. He may consider running in the heavily Republican 12th or 34th districts. Although the 26th district votes more Republican locally than nationally, it should be Democratic enough to elect a Democrat.

Texas's 27th Congressional District: Blake Farenthold (R)
Presidential Data: Obama 55.9%, McCain 44.1%
Average: Dem 55.7%, Rep 44.3%
Demographics 18+: 71.8% Hispanic, 23.9% White
Status: Lean Democratic

Farenthold's district becomes a few points more Democratic as it gains more of Democratic leaning Cameron County and loses some Republican areas near Corpus Christi. Farenthold barely won in 2010 and the combination of a more Democratic district and a less Republican year should be enough to defeat him.

Texas's 28th Congressional District Henry Cuellar (D) Plum
Presidential Data: Obama 54.9%, McCain 45.1%
Average: Dem 54.6%, Rep 45.4%
Demographics 18+: 23.3% White, 73.8% Hispanic
Status: Safe Democratic

The 28th congressional district loses Laredo and gains more of Hildago County (McAllen,) and gains some rural counties near San Antonio. The reason the 28th district combines the Rio Grande Valley with areas near San Antonio is to prevent the packing of Hispanics. Many of the Rio Grande Valley precincts are more than 90% Hispanic and if a district has a 90% Hispanic population, a court can rule that district as illegal under the VRA.

Texas's 29th Congressional District: Gene Green (D) DarkSeaGreen
Presidential Data: Obama 58.7%, McCain 41.3%
Average: Dem 60.7%, Rep 39.3%
Demographics 18+: 10.1% African American, 67.8% Hispanic, 19.4% White
Status: Safe Democratic

The 29th district only undergoes a few changes. It remains heavily Hispanic and Democratic.

Texas's 30th Congressional District: Eddie Bernice Johnson (D) Light Coral
Presidential Data: Obama 75.1%, McCain 24.9%
Average: Dem 70.0%, Rep 30.0%
Demographics 18+: 45.5% African American, 25.8% Hispanic, 23.4% White
Status: Safe Democratic

The district gains parts of Tarrant County but still remains heavily African American, Democratic and safe for Johnson.

Texas's 31st Congressional District: John Carter (R) Khaki
Presidential Data: Obama 43.7%, McCain 56.3%
Average: Dem 36.3%, Rep 63.7%
Demographics 18+: 17.0% Hispanic, 72.2% White
Status: Likely Republican

The current 31st district combines rural prairie counties with Williamson County in the Austin suburbs. The new 31st district though represents Williamson County and other Austin suburbs, including western Travis County which is exurban and Hays County. These areas lean Republican but are trending Democratic quickly so Carter could face a strong Democratic challenge here in a few years.

Texas's 32nd Congressional District: Pete Sessions (R) Orange Red
Presidential Data: Obama 45.0%, McCain 55.0%
Average: Dem 37.6%, Rep 62.4%
Demographics 18+: 11.7% African American, 21.9% Hispanic, 57.4% White
Status: Likely Republican

By shifting north, the 32nd district becomes a few points more Republican. The district is still trending Democratic though and Sessions could face a difficult Democratic challenge soon.

Texas's 33rd Congressional District: Vacant Royal Blue
Presidential Data: Obama 63.2%, McCain 36.8%
Average: Dem 60.1%, Rep 39.9%
Demographics 18+: 12.6% African American, 56.6% Hispanic, 26.9% White
Status: Safe Democratic

The Hispanic population in the Dallas area has grown so quickly that a Hispanic majority district in the Dallas area can be drawn. The 63% Obama number should prevent a Republican from winning the election here.

Texas's 34th Congressional District: Vacant Lime Green
Presidential Data: Obama 26.5%, McCain 73.5%
Average: Dem 26.4%, Rep 73.6%
Demographics 18+: 12.4% Hispanic, 80.4% White
Status: Safe Republican

This new district represents the extremely conservative exurbs of Fort Worth. Rep. Kay Granger may consider running here in this heavily Republican district.

Texas's 35th Congressional District: Vacant Dark Orchid
Presidential Data: Obama 65.6%, McCain 34.4%
Average: Dem 63.1%, Rep 36.9%
Demographics 18+: 10.6% African American, 61.4% Hispanic, 25.2% White
Status: Safe Democratic

This new Hispanic majority district combines heavily Hispanic neighborhoods in San Antonio and Austin. Although this district at first does not seem to represent communities of interest, the reason for the combination is that San Antonio does not quite have enough Hispanics for two Hispanic majority districts so the Austin finger is needed to ensure that there is another seat designed to elect a Hispanic in Texas.

Texas's 36th Congressional District: Vacant Orange
Presidential Data: Obama 35.2%, McCain 64.8%
Average: Dem 28.8%, Rep 71.2%
Demographics 18+: 12.3% African American, 25.1% Hispanic, 52.7% White
Status: Safe Republican

This new district combines conservative suburban areas in western Harris County. A Republican should win here easily.