in Houston, Texas
Competitive Congressional race in West Texas emerges following redistricting squabble
Thursday, Mar 01, 2012, 11:50AM CST
By Mark Lisheron

Barring a final disgruntled pitch in a fourth court, Texas has the maps it needs to get through at least this next election cycle.

The San Antonio panel is expected to release its written rationale for the map changes it made, finalize the primary date now set for May 29 and issue candidate filing rules and dates sometime before the end of Friday.

And for all of the purported injustices committed against both political parties, a fight that went all the way to the Supreme Court produced exactly one competitive race for Congress between a Republican and a Democrat, according to a nice analysis of the new maps by the Washington bureau of the Dallas Morning News.

State Rep. Pete Gallego, D-Alpine, who has for 21 years represented the 39,000 square miles of West Texas that is District 74, is going after Republican U.S. Rep. Francisco “Quico” Canseco, who has a little more than a year in representing much of the same territory in the 48,000 square mile Congressional District 23.

The race is expected to attract national campaign money.

The Morning News surmises that of the other 35 congressional districts (Texas added four by population growth) 24 are pretty solidly Republican and 11 cozily Democratic.

State Attorney General Greg Abbott, who argued in court that the Legislature and not the federal government has the responsibility for creating the state’s political districts, praised the newly approved maps.

“As a result of the U.S. Supreme Court's unanimous, clear direction to the district court, these new interim maps more accurately reflect the decisions of elected Texas legislators,” Abbott said in a statement.

As expected, Abbott’s general satisfaction was not shared with the parties that took the original maps approved by the Legislature to court. “This was a total devastation for the Latino community across Texas,” Luis Vera, attorney for the League of United Latin American Citizens, told the Washington Post.

The story goes on to doubt whether yet another appeal might be filed after the panel of three judges in San Antonio that rejected the Legislature’s maps approved the latest iterations.

Contact Mark Lisheron at 512-299-2318 or or on Twitter at @marktxwatchdog.

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Photo of U.S. Capitol Building by flickr user Glyn Lowe Photos, used via a Creative Commons license.

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