Lines in the Sand: Congressional Redistricting in Texas and the Downfall of Tom Delay

By Steve Bickerstaff | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 6
Playing Defense:
Democratic Strategy, 2001–2003

The Democrats were compelled by necessity in 2001–2003 to fight a defensive battle. The 1991 congressional redistricting plan, a defensive holding action for Democrats, had been only partly successful. The number of Republicans in the state congressional delegation had increased from eight to thirteen over the decade. Nevertheless, seventeen congressional seats remained in Democratic hands after the 2000 election, despite the tide of Republican successes in statewide elections.

The task of maintaining those seventeen seats in Congress was formidable. Texas had been apportioned an additional two seats after the 2000 census, but Republicans held all the state offices and a majority of the seats in the state Senate. Democratic hopes for holding a majority of the state's congressional seats were faint, but not dead.

The Democrats still controlled the state House and remained optimistic that the 2002 elections would bring Democrat successes in the important statewide races. These factors affected the Democratic redistricting strategy in 2001 that led to the federal court-ordered plan under which all seventeen incumbents survived in 2002, even as Republicans again swept the statewide elections.

This chapter describes the Democrats' strategy in 2001 and 2002 and provides the background for the parliamentary requirements and maneuvers that became the focus in 2003.


Democratic Strategy in 2001

State Legislative Districts

The major redistricting battle in 2001 was fought over the state's legislative districts, but that outcome would determine what happened to congressional dis

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