The introduced Congressional redistricting map shows largely shores up incumbents’ districts (on both sides) but fails to create any new minority-majority or coalition districts. Based on 2020 election results, the map would result in 25 Republican (one competitive) and 13 Democratic districts. The current makeup of the delegation is 23 Republicans and 13 Democrats.
This is a more modest outcome for Republicans, indicating a preference for drawing durable, reliably Republican districts over creating seats that, at least in the short term, would send even more Republicans to Congress. Eight Republican-held districts that were competitive in 2020 would move into the Likely or Safe Republican columns, according to the Cook Political Report’s initial analysis:
- CD2 (Crenshaw) moves to Trump +23 from Trump +1
- CD3 (Taylor) moves to Trump +15 from Trump +1
- CD6 (Ellzey) moves to Trump +20 from Trump +3
- CD10 (McCaul) moves to Trump +20 from Trump +2
- CD21 (Roy) moves to Trump +20 from Trump +3
- CD22 (Nehls) moves to Trump +15 from Trump +1
- CD24 (Van Duyne) moves to Trump +12 from Biden +5; and
- CD31 (Carter) moves to Trump +20 from Trump +3.
CD23 (Gonzales) is also projected to be friendlier to the incumbent, shifting to Trump +7 from Trump +2.
As drawn, the map protects U.S. Reps. Colin Allred (D-Dallas) and Lizzie Fletcher (D-Houston), whose narrowly Democratic districts become significantly more so. In Allred’s case, his district would take up a swatch of blue-trending suburbs clinging to the Dallas-Collin Co. line. In Fletcher’s case, shoring up her district creates an opportunity for new CD38 to elect another Republican to represent Harris Co., with the beneficiaries being Fletcher and her 2020 opponent, Wesley Harris.
The remaining blue-trending Metroplex suburbs are placed within districts including heavily Republican exurban and rural counties. CD4 wraps around CD3, pairing portions of Frisco and Prosper with four Red River counties before and three East Texas counties before boomeranging back to Metroplex through southern Hunt Co. and all of Rockwall Co.
By drawing the new CD37 almost entirely within Travis Co., the mapmakers create a new Democratic vote sink that protects the Republican incumbents in surrounding districts. Doing so required crafting a thin ribbon out of Williamson Co. to connect western Travis Co., and the home of U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Austin), to 12 counties east of Austin and roughly west of I-45. While the map abandons a longtime goal of defeating U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Austin), it gives him a political conundrum: remain in heavily Hispanic/Latino CD35 or run in newly drawn CD37 to create an opportunity for a Hispanic/Latino candidate.
In South Texas, open CD15 becomes the state’s most competitive district, while the previous decade’s swingiest seat, CD23, becomes several points more Republican. A potential beneficiary of this alignment is U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Laredo), whose district would no longer any portion of Hidalgo Co., home to his progressive 2020 primary challenger, Jessica Cisneros.
The map will likely change during the legislative process, and it is not a requirement that a candidate live in the district they seek to represent.