Politics / POLITICS
New Map Gives Texas Dems Opportunities
With Doggett returning to his original territory, Democratic state Rep. Joaquin Castro is free to run in the new Hispanic-majority 35th District, which Obama won with 54 percent. Castro, the twin brother of San Antonio mayor Julian Castro, raised an eye-popping $500,000 in the third quarter. Democratic sources say former Rep. Ciro Rodriguez, who lost last year to Republican Quico Canseco, could run here instead of his old 23rd District, but Castro would still have the upper hand in a primary. The biggest loser in the maps: Freshman GOP Rep. Blake Farenthold, who's unlikely to run in his current 27th District, now a Democratic-leaning seat that Obama won with 58 percent. Republican sources say Farenthold is likely to move to the new 34th district, which lies between San Antonio and Houston. But even there he's sure to face a tough primary fight, although he probably would have faced an intraparty challenge anyway under the old map. The new 34th is solidly Republican, giving 66 percent of the vote to Sen. John McCain in 2008. The now-open 27th District, which runs from Corpus Christi to South Padre Island on the Mexico border, is 77 percent Hispanic. Democrats may turn to ex-state Rep. Solomon Ortiz Jr., the son of the congressman Farenthold defeated in 2010, as their standard-bearer next year. Ortiz Jr. also lost his seat in the 2010 Republican wave; he's "reviewing the new maps and will let you know what's next soon," he said in a Wednesday tweet. Democrats also have a pick-up opportunity in the new 33rd District, a minority coalition seat that includes Arlington in Tarrant County, just west of Dallas. Obama won nearly 63 percent in the new seat; former Secretary of State Roger Williams had already dropped out of the Republican Senate primary to run here, and now faces an uphill climb against either state Rep. Marc Veasey and Fort Worth Councilwoman Kathleen Hicks, both of whom said they would run here. Democrats are also bullish on their chances to knock off Canseco, who represents a sprawling border district between El Paso and San Antonio. Although his district got slightly better for Republicans, it still voted 52 percent for Obama. State Rep. Pete Gallego, a top recruit for Democrats, is already running a strong campaign. There are other veteran GOP seats that could prove interesting targets for Democrats, under favorable circumstances. Rep. Mike McCaul's 10th District, which runs from the northern Houston exurbs to Interstate 35, got a bit worse for him, going from a district McCain won by nearly 55 percent to 52 percent. Rep. Ron Paul has said he won't run for reelection next year, regardless of the outcome of his presidential campaign. His successor is still likely to be a Republican, even though the judges drew plenty of new Democratic voters into his Galveston-based 14th District. The seat gave McCain 57 percent of the vote in 2008. But a boost in African-American voters could convince former Democratic Rep. Nick Lampson, a casualty of last decade's redistricting, to run again in a seat he used to partially represent. Rep. Joe Barton also lost Republican voters in his Dallas seat, though McCain still won it with 54 percent. But one name bandied about as a possible challenger is former Rep. Chet Edwards, who fell in 2010 to Republican Bill Flores in 17th District. Edwards once represented part of Barton's district in the state Senate. While parties can still submit feedback and proposed changes through Friday, this map is likely close to the finalized version that will stand at least through the 2012 elections. The state's filing period begins Monday ahead of its March 6 primary. Check out the full proposed map here.
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