With the state’s new congressional districts, Republicans designed a map that will tighten their hold on diversifying parts of the state, where the party’s grip on power was waning. It will also lock in the GOP’s majority in the 38-seat delegation for the U.S. House.
The state’s delegation had consisted of 23 Republicans and 13 Democrats. Trump won 22 current U.S. House districts, but would have won 25 under the new maps. Biden won 14 current U.S. House districts, but would have won 13 under the new maps. That means while Trump won 52.1% of the statewide vote, he would have won in more than 65% of the new congressional districts.
By fortifying GOP districts, the congressional map often manipulates district lines around communities of color. In some instances, Republicans drew diverse suburban areas into sprawling rural districts dominated by white voters. They reconfigured a district in the typically blue Rio Grande Valley to boost Republican performance even though the area’s Hispanic voters usually don’t prefer GOP candidates.
The new map also incorporates two additional U.S. House seats the state gained, the most of any state in this year’s reapportionment. Though Texas received those districts because of explosive population growth — 95% of it attributable to people of color — Republicans opted to give white voters effective control of both, which were drawn in the Houston and Austin areas.
Republicans reduced the number of districts in which Hispanics make up the majority of eligible voters from eight to seven. The number of districts with Black residents as the majority of eligible voters drops from one to zero. Meanwhile, the state would have 23 districts with a white majority among eligible voters — up from 22 in the current configuration.
The new 37th Congressional District in the Austin area captures Democratic-leaning voters that were endangering the prospects of Republican incumbents in nearby districts. The new 38th Congressional District offers Republicans safe territory in the Houston area.
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