The new maps come as Texas gained two congressional seats. In response to these changing demographics, Republicans’ first draft of the map appears to be meant to protect incumbents rather than to take seats from Democrats.
But despite Texas’s growing Hispanic population, the new map does not have a Latino-majority seat.
Republicans are largely free to redraw districts without federal oversight after the Supreme Court in 2013 removed the requirement for pre-clearance for states and parts of states that had a history of discriminating in voting. The provision was part of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
In the past, in every decade since the enactment of the law, Texas’s maps faced opposition from the US Department of Justice or the courts.
The new maps come as President Joe Biden became the second Democratic presidential candidate, after Hillary Clinton, to get within single digits in the Lone Star State in the 21st century. In 2018, Democrats flipped two seats in the US House of Representatives, with Rep Lizzie Fletcher winning in the Houston area and Rep Colin Allred winning a seat in the Dallas area.
But despite Mr Biden’s improved performance in 2020, Democrats saw poorer performances in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas and with Latino voters overall. As a result, one of the few seats that Republicans seem to want to make competitive is that of Democratic Rep Vicente Gonzalez.
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