Texas Democrats lose political fight for seats

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The Independent US

The Texas senate has approved a bitterly fought plan to redraw the state's congressional 32 districts in a move that could cement the Republicans' control of the United States House of Representatives.

So angry was opposition to the scheme that twice during the spring Democratic politicians fled Texas and the reach of the Texas police, to deny the majority Republican legislature a quorum for passage of the measure. But resistance has collapsed, leaving Texas Republicans on the brink of a far-reaching victory.

Texas sends 17 Democratic and 15 Republican Congressmen to Washington. If voting patterns remain the same, the Senate plan would give the Republicans a 19-13 edge. A similar bill passed by the Texas House of Representatives would give the Republicans a 21-11 advantage.

The changes were denounced by Democrats as gerrymandering. But Republicans say they reflect political realities in Texas, solidly Republican in presidential elections. On Capitol Hill, in the 2002 mid-term elections Republicans secured a 23-seat House majority of 229 to 206. A reshaped Texas delegation could increase that majority by up to 12 seats.