As some of you may know, I conducted interviews with the three candidates in the upcoming CD-35 race. It followed the same format as I’ve done for city council races and other races – you pick the place and I pick up the tab. I’m sure the candidates are ready to see the interviews published but I hate to say I’m holding off a little bit to see how the Supreme Court rules on Texas redistricting. Some have predicted the ruling could come as early as next week. Almost all are certain the interim maps will not hold, hinting that the Court will consider the publishing of interim maps by the San Antonio District Court a presumption of Section 5 violations, a jurisdictional area reserved for the DC District Court or the Attorney General. Those same people have also speculated the maps drawn by the Texas Legislature will not be used as well, based on discussion by the Court about leveraging maps that have not been precleared. So where might that leave us?
Today Michael Li, a Dallas attorney who has been heavily involved in the Texas redistricting process, put out the latest information of proposed maps and reasoning by interested parties to redistricting. As you probably know the redistricting maps proposed by the 82nd Texas Legislature have been challenged in court by several parties, primarily Hispanic interest parties such as LULAC, MALC, and the Texas Latino Redistricting Task Force. While some may think redistricting will force all sorts of challenges in November, as the Texas Tribune notes, the real challenges will be in March when candidates in the two parties will decide who will potentially win the district. Very few of the districts were drawn as competitive and “only six of the 150 House districts were won by one party or the other by less than 10 percentage points.” Monday was the deadline for proposals to be submitted by interested parties. So how did those proposals look?
Last week I waded into an interesting debate on the Burnt Orange Report regarding State Rep. Joaquin Castro’s candidacy announcement for the new CD35. After a few short hours it was pretty obvious this race was going to be a controversial one within the Texas Democratic Party. Austin readers were lobbying very hard that Doggett deserved the district after being shoved out by Republicans with the redistricting plans. Those of us from San Antonio and even some Austinites argued that the district was created for Hispanics and that a Hispanic candidate would be the better choice for the district. As is always the case in political debates, it got downright nasty at times. Looking back on it, I have to wonder really who’s district is it?