Republicans’ new Texas political district map approved by state senate

Wichita County looks to be split if political district map passes through the House
Published: Oct. 6, 2021 at 8:51 PM CDT
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - The new political district maps for Texas have been revealed and passed by the Texas senate. Parts Wichita County, including Wichita Falls, will be split if the new districts pass through the House.

Members of both the Republican and Democratic parties expect this to pass through the House and get signed by Governor Greg Abbott. With the potential of Wichita County being split, there are some concerns but officials said that residents should not notice many changes.

“What we are doing in changing senate district lines is balancing the state,” said Senator Drew Springer.

The new political district map has passed through the Texas Senate and is headed to the House. Areas of Wichita County will be spilt and Senator Charles Perry will represent them.

“For eight years in the House, I represented 15 counties that Charles had,” said Springer. “We have a great working relationship and I think the folks in Wichita are going to see that continue on.”

The west side of Wichita Falls, Burkburnett and Electra will all fall into Perry’s new district, and parts of Denton will fall into District 30 with Springer. There is belief that in doing so, the Republican party is taking a risk on keeping District 30 a majority Republican vote.

“I’d say that we would pick up more urban vote than we have had in the past,” said Gene Newton, former president of the Democratic Association of Wichita County.

“Some concerns with some of these districts may actually flip in a much shorter period of time because you are including those suburban areas,” said Dr. Steve Garrison, associate professor of political science at MSU Texas.

The Democratic party is trying to stop this because they say the new political map drawn is splitting Democrats and possibly suppressing people of color. The 2020 census showed 95 percent of growth in Texas was from people of color over the last decade, and now the Hispanic population is nearly equal to the white population.

“Support for the Republican party is not quite as strong as it was the last 20 years,” said Garrison. “This is an especially important year for Republicans to try and ensure that they can continue to control the state delegation for another 10 years or so.”

“What they have chosen to do is to manipulate the redrawn districts to make sure that they are going to win those districts for Republicans,” said Newton.

“From a Republican standpoint of working with each other and not getting to end fighting, saying I want this county because it is more Republican than another one and I want an easier election,” said Springer. “We really avoided that from our side of the fence.”

Both parties believe this won’t have any problems getting passed by the House and signed by Governor Abbott. However, the Democratic party does believe if the Republican party continues to be assertive and manipulative, Texas could turn into a Democratic state.

“The danger is if you go too far with this you’re going to alienate some of those people in the middle that we were just talking about in the suburban districts,” said Garrison. “The United States elections are ultimately decided by the people in the middle, not the people in the extremes.”

“At some time in the future, it will catch up with them and Texas will swing away from being Republican,” said Newton.

Garrison said he believes there will be lawsuits challenging the Republican party for how they have redrawn the lines, but he doesn’t expect them to be upheld in federal court.

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