Texas GOP poised for big gains from redistricting

December 6, 2010

By Jay Root-Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas | Fast-growing Texas is poised to be the biggest winner of all when it comes to picking up influence in Congress in the next few years, and Republicans are salivating at the prospect of fattening the largest GOP delegation in Washington.

Texas will gain at least three and possibly four seats in Congress, as population trends continue to push people out of the Rust and Snow Belts and into the Sunbelt, demographers say. With strong GOP majorities in the Texas Capitol and all statewide offices in their fold, Republicans are looking to use their new clout to cement their hold on power through the redistricting process and possibly increase their majority in the House.

Republican state Rep. Tommy Merritt, an outgoing member of the Legislature who sits on the state House redistricting committee, predicted the Republicans would “go for the gusto.”

“I think they’re going for three [Republicans] and one [Democrat],” he said. “This election in November dramatically changed the cards. There’s a whole new set of cards that have been dealt to the Texas Legislature.”

GOP leaders in other states are also pondering the prospect of gaining new strength as redistricting begins over the next few months.

Every decade brings unpredictable and complicated developments in the redrawing of political boundaries, but the shift of seats and their location couldn’t have come at a better time for Republicans.

In Texas and across the nation, the GOP significantly increased its influence in the legislatures that will redraw the boundaries of their own districts and for members of Congress. The party picked up almost 700 state House and Senate seats in the 2010 elections, giving Republicans their best showing since 1966, according to an analysis by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). The GOP also netted at least five governorships.

The gains were most dramatic in the South, where white Democrats fell like dominoes. In 1990, Republicans didn’t control a single legislative chamber in the South; today they run 19 across the region.

To read more, visit: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/dec/5/texas-gop-poised-for-big-gains-from-redistricting/

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