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

By Steve Bickerstaff | Go to book overview

chapter 4
Electing the Right Republicans:
The Republican Strategy for the 2002 Election

The one thing that binds the entire TRMPAC team and all the supporters of
Texans for a Republican Majority is the sincere conviction that Republican policies
hold the best promise for the future of Texas and of presenting a common vision for
the growing diversity of Texas.
texans for a republican majority (2002)

Although the Texas legislature had been unable to draw new congressional districts in 2001, the heavily Republican Legislative Redistricting Board (LRB) had redistricted the state House and Senate.1 The LRB consists of five elected state officials. Under the Texas Constitution, this board convenes only if the legislature fails to redistrict the state House and Senate in its first legislative session after release of the federal decennial census. The board has no authority to redraw congressional district lines. The LRB in 2001 consisted of four Republicans (Attorney General John Cornyn, acting lieutenant governor Bill Ratliff, Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn, and Land Commissioner David Dewhurst) and one Democrat (Speaker Pete Laney). Republicans in the legislature in 2001 were under no pressure to adopt redistricting plans for the state House and Senate because they knew that Republicans would control the LRB. Predictably, the legislature deadlocked over state-legislative redistricting. In June 2001 the task passed to the LRB, which did not disappoint the Republican activists; its plans were very partisan.

The LRB's Senate plan created an authentic opportunity for the election of two or more additional Republicans and the possibility of increasing the Republican majority in that legislative body. However, it was the LRB plan for the Texas House that created the greatest opportunity. Under that plan, Republicans had a real chance to win as many as 20–24 additional House seats— more than enough to give Republicans a safe majority. Three organizations

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