Texas 30th District
Cotton was originally the major crop in northern Texas, and many of Dallas’s first enterprising businessmen, after the railroad reached the Trinity River in the 1870s, were cotton brokers. Railroads made Dallas rich and helped it to grow. Geographically, Dallas is directly west of the Black Belt of Alabama and the Mississippi Delta, both heavy cotton-producing areas in the days before the boll weevil. Many blacks and whites came west on U.S. 80—and now Interstate 20—to the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, now the largest metro area in the South. The south side of Dallas is predominately African-American. The Trinity River Corridor project, which has been discussed for decades and is estimated to cost $1.2 billion, is moving toward reality, with its ambitious plans for flood control, recreational facilities, and transportation improvements, including three new suspension bridges.
2008 Presidential Vote
|Cook Partisan Voting Index|
The 30th Congressional District of Texas, designed as the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex’s black-majority district, includes most of the city’s African-American neighborhoods. Its creation in 1991 was insisted on by the then-chairman of the Texas Senate’s redistricting committee, and the result was one of the most grotesquely shaped districts in the country. Its center was south and east Dallas, but it had tentacles as complex as a DNA molecule. Since then, lawsuits and two more rounds of redistricting have smoothed out the lines and left this as the only Democratic district in the Metroplex. Today, the 30th District includes two compact geographic units centered in downtown Dallas. One consists of most of the south side of Dallas; the other runs northwest out Stemmons Freeway. In between is the “mixmaster,” where three busy interstates—Interstates 30, 35E and 45—come together within a square mile, surrounding many of the prominent sites in Dallas.
The district’s population was 41% black and 34% Hispanic in 2000 and now is 39% black and 41% Hispanic. The Hispanic population is mostly young and foreign-born, and 90% of the Latinos are from Mexico. Redistricting in 2011 likely will produce a Hispanic-majority district in the Dallas area. The growing influence of racial minorities in the city has been a major factor in the Democrats’ recent capture of control of many Dallas County offices and seats in the Texas Legislature. In 2004, George W. Bush lost here 75%-25%, his worst performance in Texas. In 2008, Republican nominee John McCain lost 82%-18%, also his worst performance in the state.