- Time Catching Up To State Legislature
- Patrick's Charter School Bill Faces Test in House
- House Democrats: GOP Shifting Deal On Texas Budget
- Waco Tea Party Says It Was Targeted By IRS
- Hundred Of Texas House Bills Dead At Least For Now
- President Obama Arrives In Austin
- Texan Files Suit Against Federal Health Reform
- Lawmakers Consider Online Domestic Violence Database
- Keeping Repeat DWI Offenders Behind Bars
- Perry Jokes About Lawmakers OKing Budget He Likes
- Plan to Expand Charter Schools Clears Senate
- GOP Plan Uses $6 Billion From Texas Rainy Day Fund
- School Voucher Bill Headed To Full Texas Senate
- Texas House Panel Debates Fetal Pain Bill
- Texas Gov. Rick Perry Makes Surprise Visit To Senate Hearing
- Budget Turns To Texas House After Passing Senate
- Texas Bills To Increase Penalty For Hit And Run Crashes
- Texas Lawmakers Asked To Give More Protection To Cell Phone Records
- Texas Legislative Committee Debates Lesser Punishment For Marijuana
- George P. Bush Formally Enters Race For Texas Land Commissioner
- Texas Senate Committee Finds Beer Compromise
- Texas Senate Consider Changes To School Testing
- UIL Private Schools Bill Advances In Texas Senate
- Gallup: Texas Sets Record For Uninsured Rate
- Jeb, George P. Bush To Speak At Dinner In Texas
- Perry Stands Firm on Rejecting Medicaid Expansion
- Texas Agriculture Commissioner Staples Publishes Border Security Book
- Texas Senate Chair Calls For Changes To Health Budget
- Families Testify At Capitol To Real Dangers Of Texting While Driving
- Texas Gov. Perry Proposes Returning Excess Taxes
- As Teachers Lobby, Civic Group Seeks Broad Reform
- Texas Tribune: Lawmaker Explorer
- 83rd Texas Legislature Begins
- New iPads For Texas Lawmakers Could Save Taxpayers Money
- President Obama In Hawaii, Fiscal Cliff Standoff Behind Him
- Congress Ushering In New Members With Old Divide
- Cruz To Be Sworn In As U.S. Senator
- George W. Bush Praises Immigrants As He Opens Immigration Conference
- House Minority Leader Pelosi, Other Women Lawmakers Find Reporter's Question Offensive
- High Court Weighs New Look At Voting Rights Law
- Schieffer: Debate Moderators Get Too Much Focus
- Recap Of Vice Presidential Debate
- Ryan Slams Biden on Libya
- Vice Presidential Candidates Take Stage In Debate Tonight
- Spain Quip Adds To Romney's Foreign Policy Trouble
- Obama Calls On Congress To Act On Tax Cut, Housing
- Officials Reject Conspiracies On Unemployment Rate
- Fact-Checking The Obama - Romney Presidential Debate
- Obama Says Romney Would Cut School Funding
- Romney Looking At Different Caps On Tax Breaks
- Obama, Romney Clash On Economy In First Debate
- First Presidential Debate Tonight
- AP Analysis: As The Race Stands, Obama Within Reach Of Second Term
- Ryan Campaigns In Miami, Biden In New Hampshire
- GOP's Ryan Courts Miami's Cuban-American Voters
- GOP Paints A Nation On Brink, Dems See Rebound
- Mitt Romney
- Reality Check: Lt. Gov. Dewhurst Campaign Ad
- Romney Turns To Ohio Amid Series Of Distractions
- Romney Reaches Out To Women Before GOP Convention
- Austinites Sound Off On Record Low Congressional Approval Rating
- Romney Names Paul Ryan His No. 2
- For Two Texas Leaders, An Uncomfortable Homecoming
- Texans Cautious After Runoff Election
- Texas Tea Party Underdog Win Makes National Headlines
- Texas' Cruz Goes From Longshot To Easy Victory
- Texas Land Commissioner says he'll run for Lt. Gov. in 2014
- Texas GOP Chooses Tea Party-Backed Cruz For Senate
- Texas Runoff Election Gaining National Attention
- High Early-Vote Turnout Leaves Question Mark For Candidates
- GOP Runoff In District 25 A Scramble For Votes
- Reality Check: Lt. Gov. Dewhurst Campaign Ad
- Early Voting Starts This Morning For Runoff Races
- Ted Cruz, David Dewhurst To Debate Monday
- It's Expected To Be Anything But Business As Usual In Austin For Presidential Visit
- Perry Makes First Campaign Trip For Romney
- GOP-Controlled House Votes To Repeal Health Law
- Dewhurst Talks Priorities
- Say What? White House Adds To Its Payroll
- Texas AG Abbott: Court Health Care Ruling Not A Total Loss
- Say What? U.S. Attorney General Could Be Held In Contempt Of Congress
- Two Different Parties, Two Very Different Moods
- Ted Cruz Camp: David Dewhurst Stonewalling on Debates
- David Dewhurst Addresses GOP Convention Without Boos
- Rick Perry's David Dewhurst Nod Sparks Boos At GOP Convention
- Austin Mayor Wants To Postpone Urban Rail Bond Election
- Texas Gov. Perry Doubles Down On Dewhurst In US Senate Race
- Texas Primary Turnout Was Low, Runoff May Be Lower
- Lloyd Doggett Wins Primary Handily
- Dewhurst, Cruz Head To GOP runoff For Texas Senate
- Jana Duty Defeats John Bradley In Williamson Co. DA Race
- 2 Head To Runoff For GOP Nod To Replace Doggett
- Miller Advances To Runoff In Board Of Ed Race
- Mitt Romney Clinches GOP Nomination With Texas Win
- More Than 13M Texans Have Registered To Vote
- May 29 Primary Election: What's On The Ballot
- May 29 Primary Election: Polling Places
- Tomorrow Is Primary Election Day
- Primary Early Voting Ends Today
- May 29 Primary Election: Early Voting Locations
- Can Undecided Voters Sway The Election?
- State Sen. Wentworth Files Defamation Suit Against Challenger Jones
- KEYE TV To Survey Citizens About Election
- Dewhurst, Perry Vote In Primary Election
- Surging Hispanic Population A Growing Political Force
- Ron Paul: 'We will no longer spend resources'
- Early Voting Begins, Turnout Critical In Races
- Austin Reelects Mayor, 3 Council Members
- Total Voter Turnout Projected at 10% in Travis County
- Romney Urges Graduates to Honor Commitments to Family
- Voters Go To Polls In City/School District Election Saturday
- Anita Perry Joining Ann Romney at Austin Fundraiser
- Sarah Palin Endorses Ted Cruz In Texas Senate Race
- Austin Mayoral Candidate Interview: Lee Leffingwell
- Austin Mayoral Candidate Interview: Clay DaFoe
- Austin Mayoral Candidate Interview: Brigid Shea
- Austin Mayor Candidate: Brigid Shea
- Austin Mayor Candidate: Lee Leffingwell
- Austin Mayor Candidate: Clay Dafoe
- Gov. Rick Perry Interested In Running For President Again
- Gov. Perry To Texas Lawmakers: No New Taxes, Or Increases
- Ron Paul Texas Tour Rolls On
- Rick Santorum Suspends GOP Presidential Campaign
- GOP Voters in Wisconsin, Maryland, DC Go To Polls
- Former President GHW Bush Backs Romney In GOP Race
- George H.W. Bush To Formally Back Mitt Romney
- Romney's Y'all Turns Into You All
- GOP Candidates Refuse To Quit Race
- President Obama Unveils New Documentary Of First Term
- Santorum Wins Deep South; Romney Wins Hawaii
- Voters In The South Head To Polls
- GOP Candidates Eye The South
- Super Tuesday; Super Wins For Candidates
- "Joe The Plumber" On November Ballot
- Voters Hit The Polls For Super Tuesday
- Candidates Set For Austin Mayor, Council Elections
- GOP Candidates Campaign For Super Tuesday
- Federal Court Orders May 29 Primary Date For Texas
- Minority groups: New Texas voting maps 'devastate'
- Romney Wins Arizona And Michigan
- Redistricting Maps By Saturday Or Elections In June
- Santorum Holds Austin Fundraiser
- Governor's Plan to Run Could Impede Attorney General
- Judges Want Texas Maps In Time For April Primaries
- Sports And The Texas Redistricting Battle
- Water Conservation Ideas Offered For Texas Legislature
- Perry gives tainted campaign donations to charity
- Texas Gov. Perry Blasts Obama At Conservative Conference
- Santorum wins Minnesota, Missouri GOP votes
- Democrat Gibson drops out of Texas US senate race
- Mitt Romney wins big in Florida, routing Gingrich
- Composer Sues To Stop Gingrich Use Of 'Eye Of The Tiger'
- Democrats Try Again To Break The GOP Hold On Texas
- Attorney: Texas redistricting talks have stalled
- Candidates Cool Heels While Judges Decide Redistricting
- Testimony concludes in Texas redistricting trial
- Judge skeptical of Texas redistricting aide's testimony
- President Obama speech puts him in campaign arena
- Judges move up Texas redistricting arguments
- State rep asks Gov. Perry to repay Texans for GOP primary expenses
- Court throws out judge-drawn Texas electoral maps
- Texas Gov. Rick Perry drops bid for GOP presidential nomination, endorses Gingrich
- Texas continues case for keeping district map
- Republican candidates stump hard ahead of SC primary
- Texas defends redistricting map at federal hearing
- In the super PAC era, do handshakes even matter?
- GOP pack is trying to stop Mitt Romney before it's too late
- Jon Huntsman quits presidential race
- Texas Gov. Perry appeals judge's ruling on Va. primary ballot
- Texas Sen. Cornyn to speak on 'Washington's overreach'
- Perry in South Carolina: Will It End Where It Began?
- Appeals court says Texas can enforce abortion law
Sports And The Texas Redistricting Battle
Updated: Monday, February 13 2012, 01:46 PM CST
by Ross Ramsey, Texas Tribune
Political redistricting is for real nerds, for those sometimes overly serious people who have spent a great deal of time learning and thinking about something that’s outside the day-to-day experience or interest of the rest of us.
For the political lawyers, the subject comes with layers of statutes and case law and the certainty that one or more cases will go all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
That’s nerd heaven, you know: dense, complicated, both dull and important and loaded with the chance to get the public’s full attention, if only for a second, every 10 years.
Political people get their bite, too. Politicians drawing maps are picking their voters — drawing this line to bring in a friend, and that one to exclude an enemy. They can draw rival candidates right out of their races, or stick their foes with opponents who can knock them off.
Election officials come to the maps like police officers watching changes to the penal code. They just want to know what the law is so they can get back to work. It’s their job to interrupt the nerds when the changes become impractical, like trying to put a map in place for an election that’s only a month away.
It’s a classic insider’s game.
That’s why it was such a relief to see the state’s attorney general and one of its senior congressmen barking at each other over Cowboys Stadium and Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, which sits next to it.
Finally, someone doing what a normal person might do in this situation: “Hey, as long as you’re fooling with that map, how about giving me something cool, like a stadium or an airport or a neighborhood with a bunch of rich people in it?”
Joe Barton, R-Ennis, was elected to Congress in 1984, a beneficiary of the landslide that gave Ronald Reagan a second term in the White House, and has served without a break since then.
His current district includes the two attractions, which sit alongside a stretch of highway that also includes the Six Flags Over Texas amusement park. And those attractions are the darlings for which he’s been fighting during the negotiations over the political maps.
He irritated Attorney General Greg Abbott, who has been trying to get compromise maps out of a band of litigants whose interests include politics, minority voters’ rights and prompt primary elections.
In a conference call talking about maps that had the approval of some of the plaintiffs and of the state of Texas, Abbott called out Barton, saying the congressman’s efforts don’t appear to be of any concern to the judges in the case and don’t involve any of the legal issues he’s trying to resolve.
That earned a reply from Barton, who said he was still looking at the maps and hadn’t decided whether he would support them. In a written statement, he didn’t exactly run away from the accusation, saying that Cowboys Stadium is in his district, that he would like to keep it there and that he hadn’t talked to Abbott about it.
It’s not unusual to ask for things like this. Rep. Lamar Smith, R-San Antonio, wanted the San Antonio Country Club pulled into his district. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Houston, hit the fan when the cartographers took downtown Houston out of her district. Some were prosaic: Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Dallas, asked the state to draw her new congressional district so that it at least included her congressional district office.
Barton has other reasons to worry about the maps. In his current district, John McCain won 59.6 percent in the 2008 presidential race. Abbott’s map shaves that to 57 percent — not dramatic, but shaved just the same. And it includes a growing Latino population that, if current voting trends continue, could shift the district toward the Democrats over the next decade.
It’s a tense time. The three federal judges hearing the case will meet again Feb. 15 in their effort to pull maps together and finally set a Texas primary date for this year. Candidates, like the rest of us, are looking for a little certainty.
Maybe Barton just needs a place to relax. Like a ballpark.
This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at http://trib.it/wWe6Kh.