Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Texas GOP Analysis by RPT Staff of 2012 Court Ordered Interim Maps

On Tuesday afternoon, the San Antonio three-judge federal panel overseeing Texas redistricting posted new maps for the State House, State Senate and U.S. Congress. We are awaiting a formal order enacting these maps, however, we expect that these will be the final maps issued by the panel. The Republican Party of Texas has carefully analyzed these maps since their release and is providing our staff's findings via this email.
You can click on the above link to see the full analysis of the new State House districts in PDF format. This analysis shows side-by-side comparisons of the number of Republican districts under the maps used in the 2010 elections, the districts that were originally drawn by the Texas Legislature, the districts that were drawn by the three-judge panel in 2011 (and which were subsequently challenged), and the districts that the three-judge panel has issued today. The percentages are based on the average of the top 9 statewide Republican candidates in the 2010 General Election.

Our staff's analysis leads to the conclusion that while the new State House map creates one less Republican district (defined as a district being over 50% Republican) than the map drawn by the Legislature - it is an improvement over the previous map issued by the San Antonio three-judge panel, which drew three less Republican districts. Thus, Attorney General Abbott's appeal of the interim maps to the Supreme Court has yielded two more Republican districts than if he had not appealed. In addition, the new map creates the same number of districts as the original legislative map which are over 48% Republican, that being 102. This represents an improvement of one over the previous map drawn by the San Antonio three-judge panel. The new map also creates three more Republican districts over 55% than the previous map drawn by the San Antonio three-judge panel, although this is four districts less than the original legislative maps. However, the new map actually has three more districts over 55% than existed in 2010.

Commenting on the afternoon's developments, RPT State Chairman Steve Munisteri stated: "While we are disappointed that the San Antonio three-judge panel did not follow completely the legislative maps in today's new maps, we are appreciative of General Abbott's efforts to mitigate the damage done by the federal courts by appealing this to the Supreme Court. His successful efforts to have the U.S. Supreme Court intervene has resulted in a new map which should enable the Republican Party of Texas to maintain a substantial majority of the Texas House of Representatives, and gives us a chance to obtain the second highest number of Republicans ever elected to the Texas House. The State Party's job will now be to ensure that we elect as many Republicans as possible in November."

Our staff has also run an analysis on the Congressional plan released today by the panel (see the above link for that document in PDF format). The analysis indicates that there will be 25 Republican seats that have a Republican average vote of over 55%. This translates into the Republican Party expecting to gain 2 of the 4 new Congressional seats. Under the original Congressional map issued by the Legislature, the Republican Party hoped to gain 3 seats. However, we may not have gained any seats under the previous map drawn by the San Antonio three-judge panel, so General Abbott's efforts have resulted in the possibility of reclaiming two of the three lost seats.

Also, a State Senate map was issued today under which Republicans would be expected to win at least 19 of 31 State Senate seats with a chance to increase that margin to 20 if we can defeat Democrat Senator Wendy Davis.

It is important to note that these are only interim maps for the 2012 elections and still could change prior to 2014 as a result of either future court action or additional legislative redistricting in the upcoming session.

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