State Sen. Kel Seliger on May 11 proposed revised political maps as part of decennial redistricting. The new boundaries, which could change during the legislative process, would alter several senators' districts politically, at least according to results of the 2008 presidential race. These interactive maps show a before-and-after view using data compiled by the Texas Legislative Council. Use the slider over each image to see the changes and how they would have been affected in the 2008 race, with darker shades representing more support for President Barack Obama (Democratic blue) or U.S. Sen. John McCain (Republican red). See a related story or see background information on our redistricting topic page. Or view interactive maps of the before and after versions.
STATEWIDE: As was evident in statewide before-and-after views of proposed Texas House maps, Texas is still largely Republican red — no matter how the map is crafted. The proposed state Senate version, however, makes subtle changes to some districts, and it also shores up some GOP districts in which McCain's margin of victory in 2008 was five percentage points or less. Here's Seliger's take on the map: "This was not without challenges. I realize that fairness is subjective… everyone has an interest. Some of them are collective and some of them are individual." He added: "Not every member is happy. Redistricting is about the voters, and not every voter will be happy, either. But every voter will be represented."
BEXAR COUNTY: The most evident change here is that state Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-San Antonio, swaps real estate with Democratic colleagues from her city, state Sens. Leticia Van de Putte and Carlos Uresti. Her district now extends north into Travis County:
DALLAS/FORT WORTH: Most of the changes here are in Tarrant County, where Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, would have a district that voted 56% for McCain. (Her current district voted 52% for McCain). She said the proposed map is illegal because it dilutes minority electoral power by splitting communities: "This map presented by Austin's failed leadership, which clearly violates the Voting Rights Act by cracking and dismantling of communities of interest in Senate District 10, shows Texans the same disregard they are being shown in the state's proposed budget." State Sen. Chris Harris, R-Arlington, also would get a district that's safer for Republicans:
HARRIS COUNTY: There weren't significant changes here, though Fort Worth state Sen. Joan Huffman's proposed district would lose many miles of real estate along the Gulf Coast, including the cities of Galveston and Port Arthur, making it more Republican, according to the 2008 results. State Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Tomball, also loses a patch of northwest Harris County, but the district remains friendly GOP territory. State Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, isn't happy about losing the diverse and eclectic Montrose neighborhood in the city's center. He called the map "silly": "I will not support this plan and think they need to hit the do-over button."
TRAVIS COUNTY: The county would be split four ways under the new map. As noted above, Zaffirini would represent a portion of eastern Travis County, and Sen. Troy Fraser would get west Austin neighborhoods. State Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio, retains some southern Travis County neighborhoods. State Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, said the district unnecessarily breaks up the county and illegally ruins a district where the majority of the population consists of minority groups. "It can easily be redrawn," he told the Redistricting Committee.