With a push from the White House and Governor Rick Perry (R), Texas redistricting has been revived. Perry has announced that he is calling a special session in Austin primarily for the sake of passing a congressional redistricting plan. According to an Austin Republican source, presidential advisor Karl Rove has phoned at least one undecided state Senator to apply the White House’s leverage in support of passing a new map. State Sen. Bill Ratliff, commonly understood to be one of the two undecided GOP senators in Austin, reportedly received a call recently from Rove, a Texan, stressing the importance of a remap. Republicans in that chamber hold a 19-to-12 majority—two votes short of the two-thirds needed to break a Democratic filibuster. If the White House pressure is adequate to preserve the loyalty of all 19 GOP senators, the party leadership will need to pick up two Democratic votes. The most likely vote is Sen. Eddie Lucio (D). Perry may add a proposed a border health project to the agenda to curry Lucio’s favor and that of another Hispanic Democrat. To avert a repeat of the May Democratic walkout that busted the quorum in the state House of Representatives, Perry is considering offering in the special session a few bills attractive to Democrats. The border health plan may convince a handful of Rio Grande Valley Democrats not to flee the state again. The Texas legislature, unlike most states’ legislatures, did not pass a redistricting plan after the 2000 census, because Democrats controlled the House there while Republicans ran the Senate. The 2002 congressional races were run under court-drawn lines. Democrats currently hold a 17-to-15 edge in Texas’s congressional delegation. A new map could flip that to a 20-to-12 GOP edge or more.
With a push from the White House and Governor Rick Perry (R), Texas redistricting has been revived. According to an Austin Republican source, presidential advisor Karl Rove has phoned at least one undecided state Senator to apply the White Houses leverage in support of passing a new map.
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