First Look at Texas House Redistricting

This is a first deep dive look at the first draft House redistricting plan put up by House Redistricting Chair, Todd Hunter.


In redistricting, traditionally, the leadership of the dominant party has had two priorities – protection of most incumbents and solidifying or increasing control for the dominant party. In 2012, Joe Straus also used it to take out conservatives who were too independent and not subservient enough to the cronies.


In my first pass, it appears to me that the first draft plan meets the first two rules of thumb and it repeats a Straus-like move to take out Tarrant County Jeff Cason (HD 92) one of the two conservatives who refused to vote for Dade Phelan as Speaker. As will be discussed, conservatives Kyle Biedermann and Terry Wilson are paired against each other in the Hill Country, although that will probably be worked out.


I focus on Republican prospects more than Democrat prospects in this analysis.


FOUR NEW DISTRICTS IN THE GROWING SUBURBAN COUNTIES


The counties of Denton, Collin, and Fort Bend each get a new district harvested from lower growth parts of the state. In a two-step process, the high growth I-35 corridor between Austin and San Antonio also gets a new, open seat based in Comal County and western Hays County.


Two districts were harvested (ultimately) from two departing state reps in East Texas (Chris Paddie and James White). One was taken from a consolidation of North Central Texas in a domino chain from Phil King’s decision to pursue a State Senate seat. And finally, the El Paso County HD 76 currently occupied by Dem Claudia Ordaz Perez was eliminated and moved to Fort Bend County.


KNOWN OPEN SEATS


There will be at least 10 open Republican seats.


In Denton County, there are 3: HD 63 being vacated by Tan Parker, HD 65 being vacated by Dem Michelle Beckley, and the new HD 57.


In Collin County, there are 2: HD 70 being vacated by Scott Sanford and the new HD 60.

In Harris County, HD 133 is being vacated by Jim Murphy.


In Fort Bend, HD 76 is new.


Either the new HD 73, the new HD 19, or the reformulated HD 20 in north Williamson County will be open, depending on what incumbents Kyle Biedermann and Terry Wilson decide to do.


In Tarrant County, HD 93 is being vacated by Matt Krause.


In central north Texas, the vacancy by Ben Leman and the completely new HD 13 consists of Bosque, Hill, east McLennan (including Bellmead), Falls, Limestone, Freestone, and Leon.


In addition to that, the vacancy created by Dem John Turner in HD 114 in Dallas County and the completely different geography of the district in Dallas County may create an open seat opportunity for a Republican.


The Dems get one open seat that is newly reconstituted in Travis County, HD 50 being vacated by Celia Israel.



EAST TEXAS


Chris Paddie’s announcement that he would not run again for HD 9 in Northeast Texas created a chain of dominoes. His old HD 9 was completely carved up and moved southeast. And no open seat was created. There is not a single county that was in HD 9 that is in the new HD 9.


The old HD 9 was carved up and reassigned to incumbents as follows:

Cass County is added to HD 1 (incumbent Gary VanDeaver of Bowie County). (Morris County that was in Cole Hefner’s HD 5 was also reassigned to HD 1.)

Paddie’s home county of Harrison and Marion County were given to HD 7 (incumbent Jay Dean of Gregg County). This means that Longview, Marshall, and Jefferson will now be in the same HD 7 with incumbent Jay Dean).


Panola, Shelby, and Sabine Counties which were in HD 9 are added to HD 11, currently occupied by incumbent Travis Clardy of Nacogdoches County. HD 11 and Clardy lost Cherokee, but picked up, not only Panola, Shelby, and Sabine, but Newton from the obliterated and carved up HD 19 from which James White is departing (to run for Ag Commissioner).


HD 19 (currently served by James White) lost Jasper County to Speaker Dade Phelan’s HD 21, which keeps Orange and southern and western Jefferson. Democrat Joe Deshotel’s HD 22 taking up Beaumont, Neches, and Groves, today, expanded slightly to take away lots of Port Arthur from Phelan and HD 21.


HD 19’s Tyler and Polk Counties were assigned to the newly reformulated HD 9. The new HD 9 now consists also of San Augustine, Angelina, Trinity, and Houston Counties, which were in HD 57 (Incumbent Trent Ashby of Angelina County). This means that Trent Ashby becomes the incumbent with a new district number (HD 9 – currently served by Paddie).


The remaining county of the old HD 19, Hardin, is reassigned the HD 18.


HD 1 and Gary VanDeaver lose Franklin County and pick up Cass and Morris Counties, keeping Bowie, Red River, and Lamar Counties.


Surprisingly, HD 2, consisting of Van Zandt, Hunt, and Hopkins counties and served by conservative champion Bryan Slaton remains completely the same.


Reggie Smith’s HD 62, consisting now of Grayson, Fannin, Delta, and Franklin Counties picked up Franklin County from HD 1.


HD 10, recently abandoned by Jake Ellzey and replaced by Brian Harrison, shrunk to just Ellis County, losing the far western portion of Henderson County to HD 4 and Keith Bell.


HD 4, currently occupied by Keith Bell of Kaufman County keeps Kaufman, and picks up far western Henderson County taken from HD 10, but loses south and east Henderson to

HD 8 (currently served by Cody Harris).


HD 8 and Cody Harris (of Anderson County) also picks up Cherokee from HD 11 (Travis Clardy), keeping Anderson and Navarro, but loses Freestone and Hill to HD 13.


Cole Hefner (of Titus County) picked up Upshur from Jay Dean’s old HD 7, losing Morris to HD 1 and far southeastern Smith and a bit of west central Smith to Matt Schaefer’s Tyler centered HD 6 in Smith County.


In Central southeast Texas, Ben Leman’s announced departure from HD 13 allowed it to be completely carved up and moved north. The new HD 13 takes Leon County from Trent Ashby’s old HD 57, Hill and Freestone from Cody Harris’ HD 8, Limestone, Falls and western McLennan from Kyle Kacal’s HD 12, and Bosque from HD 58.


Incumbent Kyle Kacal (of Brazos County) after losing Falls and Limestone to the new HD 13, picks up Grimes and Washington Counties from HD 13 as well as Madison from Trent Ashby’s old HD 57 and Walker from HD 18 (incumbent Earnest Bailes). HD 12 keeps the eastern and southern portions of Brazos and all of Robertson County.


HD 14, currently consisting primarily of Bryan and College Station (incumbent John Raney) expands to take in some rural northern Brazos County from Kacal’s HD 12.

Earnest Baile’s HD 18 loses Walker County to HD 12, but picks up Hardin County from the disassembled old HD 19 and also picks up Splendora, Patton Village, Roman Forest, and Woodranch from eastern Montgomery County’s portion of HD 16 (incumbent Will Metcalf).


Will Metcalf’s northern Montgomery County HD 16 stays pretty much intact with some expansion southeast of Conroe and the loss of Spendora, et. al. in eastern Montgomery.

HD 3 (incumbent Cecil Bell) loses Waller County to HD 85 with a bit of give and take with HD 16 to the north.


HD 15 stays strong for Steve Toth, shrinking somewhat to HD 3.


Mayes Middleton’s Chambers and eastern Galveston HD 23 stays mostly intact. Greg Bonnen’s western Galveston County HD 24 does, too. There is just a bit of give and take between HD 23 and HD 24.


In Brazoria County, there is Ed Thompson’s HD 29 takes Oyster Creek, Surfside Beach, Quintana, and the southern part of Freeport from Cody Vasut’s HD 25. HD 25 also loses Matagorda County to Victoria County incumbent Geanie Morrison’s HD 30.


The bottom line on East Texas is that it loses HD 19 and HD 57, with a good amount of restructuring.


So where did HD 19 and HD 57 go?


HD 19 went to the Hill Country. HD 57 went to Denton County.


HILL COUNTRY SHUFFLE (AND CONFUSION)


HD 19 is now the Hill Country district in which incumbent of the current HD 73, Kyle Biedermann lives (in Gillespie County) . The new HD 19 takes in Gillespie and Kendall from Biedermann’s old HD 73, takes in Blanco from the old HD 45 (incumbent Dem Erin Zweiner), Burnet from the old HD 20, and most interestingly takes in a major chunk of the old HD 47 in western Travis County (current Dem incumbent Vikki Goodwin). More on how Travis County is reworked later. But, a very small sliver of the old HD 47 stays intact (where Goodwin lives), and then adds in a major chunk of central south Travis County.

HD 73 (currently Biedermann’s) is reformatted to include keeping Comal County and taking western Hays from HD 45 (incumbent Dem Erin Zweiner).


There are several interesting things about this combo of new districts (HD 19 and HD 73). First, he new HD 19 includes two conservative incumbents -- Kyle Biedermann of Gillespie County in current HD 73 and Terry Wilson of Burnet County in current HD 20. Second, HD 73 is definitely more likely to go conservative now, but Dem incumbent of HD 45 is now in the new HD 73.


Presumably, what is left of HD 45 is more likely to go Dem than even the current HD 45. But the incumbent does not live there. Carrie Isaacs, the Republican challenger to Zwiener in 2018 and 2020 DOES still live in the more Democratic proposed HD 45.

Incumbents in this situation can move to resolve problems. Texas Scorecard reports that Biedermann has stated on Twitter that he owns a home in Comal in the new HD 73 and is implying that he will transfer his residence to the new HD 73, if need be. But Terry Wilson has announced on Facebook that he will run again in the newly constituted HD 20 in north Williamson County, implying that he will move.


Erin Zweiner will have her own decisions to make.


Late breaking note: Texas Scorecard announces that former Austin City Councilwoman Ellen Troxclair, who had announced for SD 24 before she found out that current Senate maps draw her out of that district, has now announced that she will enter the race for the newly created HD 19, adding more complexity to the decisions for Biedermann and Wilson.


WILLIAMSON COUNTY


In Williamson County, incumbent Terry Wilson and HD 20, after losing Burnet and Milam Counties, pick up big portions of Leander and Cedar Park from HD 136 and Dem incumbent John Bucy, and loses conservative eastern Williamson to Dem James Talarico of HD 52. (Recall that Talarico called for nationalization of Texas elections during the walkout and was a prominent debater on the floor against Toth’s bill seeking to stop Critical Race Theory in public schools.) Conservative western Georgetown is also taken from Wilson’s HD 20 and forced upon Talarico in HD 52. Talarico also lost a big chunk of western Round Rock to Dem Bucy in HD 136, picking up parts of Leander and Cedar Park from Bucy. Without looking at the numbers, HD 52 looks like it is designed to flip Talarico out of his seat.


CENTRAL TEXAS


HD 17 (incumbent John Cyrier of Caldwell County) loses Gonzales and Karnes County and picks up Burleson County from the old, completely rebuilt HD 13 and Milam County from Terry Wilson and HD 20.


HD 44 (incumbent John Kuempel of Guadalupe County) loses Wilson County to incumbent Dem in HD 31, Ryan Guillen, but picks up Gonzales from HD 17 and Cyrier.

Moving north to Bell County, HD 55 and incumbent Hugh Shine lose eastern Bell, including the eastern half of Temple, all of Little River Academy, Holland and Bartlett to HD 54 and incumbent Brad Buckley, but take back more of Killeen from Buckley. HD 54 and Buckley loses Lampasas to a greatly reworked HD 68.


In McLennan County, HD 56 and incumbent Doc Anderson stay pretty much the same, picking up northern McLennan, including West, Texas.


HD 58 and Johnson County-based incumbent Dwayne Burns retained Johnson County, lost Bosque to the new HD 13, and picked up Somervell County from HD 59 (incumbent Shelby Slawson).


The newly created HD 13 is an open seat (due to Ben Leman’s retirement). The brand new HD 13 includes from east to west, Leon, Freestone, Limestone, Falls, eastern McLennan, Hill, and Bosque Counties.


HD 59 and Erath County-based incumbent Shelby Slawson retained Erath, Hamilton, and Coryell Counties, lost Comanche, Mills, and San Saba counties to the greatly reworked HD 68 (incumbent David Spiller who had replaced Drew Springe), and picked up Hood County from HD 60 (incumbent Glenn Rogers).


HD 60 with incumbent Glenn Rogers of Palo Pinto County was completely eliminated in its current form. Rogers now lives in HD 61, which contains Stephens, Palo Pinto, and Parker Counties. The current HD 61 (consisting of Parker and Wise County) is now represented by Phil King, who has announced he is running for Senate in 2022. The new HD 61 keeps Parker County, but loses Wise County.


Wise County is now added to HD 64 (incumbent Lynn Stuckey). HD64 was a completely northwestern Denton County district. It now has shrunk a bit in Denton County, losing Hickory Creek, Lake Dallas, most of Corinth, Shady Shores, and a good chunk of southern Denton. Given the blue trend in Denton around North Texas, I bet Wise was needed to shore up the district for Republicans.


DENTON COUNTY


And as we look at Denton County, we found where HD 57 was reconstituted. The new district includes a vertical bar across central west Denton County. It includes Ponder, DISH, northern Northlake, northern Argyle, Corinth, Shady Shores, Lake Dallas, Hickory Creek, Oak Point, northern Copper Canyon, northern Highland Village, Little Elm, Lakewood Village, and most of Hackberry. Denton County’s HD 57 is a new open seat.

HD 106 and Frisco incumbent Jared Patterson stays pretty much as in northeast Denton with a few swaps on the edges.


HD 63 and HD 65 remain in Denton County and will both be open seats. HD 63 is open because incumbent Tan Parker is running for Senate. HD 65 is open because incumbent Dem Michelle Beckley will not be running again. HD 63 is now a central south district in Denton that includes south Roanoke, Trophy Club, north Southlake, most of Flower Mound, southern Lewisville, and northeastern Carrollton. HD 65 runs east west across the southern part of Denton, and includes southern Northlake, northern Flower Mound, northern Lewisville, Bartonville, Double Oak, Justin, southern Highland Village, southern Copper Canyon, southern Argyle, Draper, Hebron, and northeastern Carrollton.


COLLIN COUNTY


Currently, Collin County contains 4 complete districts and one that combines with Rockwall County (HD 33 – Rockwall County incumbent Justin Holland). The four current districts are HD 66 (Matt Shaheen), HD 67 (Jeff Leach), HD 70 (Scott Sanford), and HD 89 (Candy Noble). Scott Sanford has announced that he will not be running in 2022.

In the new plan, the original five remain and a sixth district (a reconstituted HD 60) is added to Collin County. That means there will be two open seats in Collin in 2022 – HD 60 and HD 70.


The newly carved out HD 60 is an inverted U shape that runs up central west Collin, cuts east across the north county line to the eastern county line and goes all the way down the east to the south county line. HD 60 includes the following cities: eastern and southwestern McKinney, Anna, Melissa, northwest Allen, a small slice of north central Plano, Josephine, Farmersville, Blue Ridge, and the Collin portion of Royse City.

The open HD 70 now is a vertical strip starting running down the western interior of the county from the northern count line until it stops about one third from the southern line. It includes the following cities: Weston, eastern Celina, northwest McKinney, and eastern Frisco.


HD 66 (Matt Shaheen) has an even smaller strip along the western county line from the north all the way down to the southern line. Included cities: western Celina, Prosper, western Collin portion of Frisco, western Plano, and a sliver of northern Dallas in Collin County.


HD 67 (Jeff Leach) now includes a strip that stretches from the south border up diagonally to the northeast into central north and central northeast Collin including cities of: small slices of northern Dallas and Richardson, central Plano, central Allen, most of Fairview, a small piece southeast McKinney, New Hope, and northern Princeton.


HD 89 (Candy Noble) now includes south central Collin, including cities: northeastern Plano, south Allen, Parker, Lucas, northern Murphy, northern Wylie, St. Paul, Lowry Crossing, southern Princeton, and Nevada.


HD 33 (Justin Holland) keeps all of Rockwall County, but now only includes a small strip in central south Collin.


HARRIS COUNTY


Harris County currently has 24 state representative districts, all completely contained in Harris County, 9 of which are currently represented by Republicans. This analysis will focus on those 9 districts and the two that have recently flipped from R to D, HD 135 (Jon Rosenthal) and HD 134 (Ann Johnson).


The first thing of note is that Harris County got no new state reps during this cycle. It has exactly the same number of districts with the same numbers. But there are big rearrangements.


Starting with HD 135 (incumbent Jon Rosenthal that first took the district in 2018), the district has been moved south and west. It loses Jersey Village to HD 148 and a chunk of Cypress to HD 130, and takes its southwest territory from Mike Schofield’s HD 132.

HD 134 (which Dem Ann Johnson took from RINO Sarah Davis in 2020) remains the wealthy west inner loop district with a few tweaks. It still contains River Oaks, West University, Southside Place, the Medical Center, Buffalo Speedway area and a few southwest outside the loop neighborhoods like Bellaire and Meyerland. It picks up a bit of the Montrose area and some inner loop just north of TC Jester and loses some of the far southwest portion of the district. But it looks pretty much the same.


HD 138 (incumbent Lacey Hull) was considered a battleground district in 2020 that the Republicans held. This district that runs from the 610 loop north of I-10 west lost a good chunk in the southwest of the district west of Highway 6 to HD 149 (Dem Hubert Vo) and a few slivers in the northwest to HD 135 (Dem Jon Rosenthal). But the HD 138 picked up from HD 133 (the retiring incumbent Jim Murphy) more of the wealthier areas south of I-10 up just west of Loop 610 including Memorial, Woodway, and down to San Felipe. The district includes the Tanglewood neighborhood that was the home for George H.W. Bush for decades. And it picked up the two Memorial Villages north of I-10 (Hilshire Village and Spring Valley Village) from HD 133, as well, and it expanded in the northwest to take half of Jersey Village from HD 135.


HD 133 which will become an open Republican seat due to Jim Murphy’s retirement, remains largely intact, being a district that is bounded on the north by I-10, the south by Westheimer, the west by Highway 6, and the east by approximately Chimney Rock. It is a wealthy district that includes the four Memorial Villages south of I-10.


HD 132 (incumbent Mike Schofield) runs along the western side of Harris County and includes the Harris County portion of Katy. It gave up a chunk in the east to HD 135, swapped some areas with HD 149 (Dem Hubert Vo), and took a large unpopulated swath of the western most part of Harris County south of 290 from HD 130 (Tom Oliverson). Can’t tell for sure, but it looks like this district which flipped D in 2018 by less than 200 votes, then flipped back R in 2020 is now shored up for Republicans.


HD 130 (Tom Oliverson), the district in far Northwest Harris County that includes a large part of Cypress and runs from almost all of Tomball on the east to the Harris County portions of Waller on the west. Because of rapid growth in the area, it lost chunks of the district in the southeast to HD 148 (Dem Penny Morales Shaw) and HD 126 (Sam Harless). But it remains solidly in Republican control.


HD 126 (Sam Harless) changed some on the margins, shifting north a bit into HD 150 (Valeree Swanson) and HD 130 (Oliverson) and losing in the south to HD 148 (Dem Morales Shaw) and HD 139 (Dem Jarvis Johnson).


HD 150 (Valoree Swanson) lost a bit to HD 126 (Harless) and HD 141 (Dem Senfronia Thompson).


HD 127 (Dan Huberty) changed very little, picking up a bit of Kingwood from HD 128 (Briscoe Cain). The district contains east Spring, north Humble, Atascocita, and Kingwood in northeast Harris County.


HD 128 (Briscoe Cain) remains the same with a few tweaks along the boundary. The district runs along the far east of Harris County from Lake Houston in the north through Highlands, most of Baytown, Morgan’s Point, most of La Porte, most of Deer Park, and southwest Pasadena.


HD 129 (Dennis Paul) also remains mainly the same with a few tweaks. The district in far southeast Harris County contains Clear Lake (including NASA), Webster, Nassau Bay, Shoreacres, Seaside, Taylor Lake Village, and the Harris County portions of Friendswood and League City.


The remainder of the Harris County districts are represented by Democrats, and they do not appear to have changed much, either.


Bottom line on Harris County is that it appears to stay status quo from a partisan basis and it has one open Republican seat (HD 133).


FORT BEND COUNTY


Currently, Fort Bend County has 4 House Districts, 3 wholly contained within the county – HD 26 (Jacey Jetton), HD 27 (Dem Ron Reynolds), and HD 28 (Gary Gates). HD 85 (Phil Stephenson of Wharton County cross over into south Fort Bend County. With the proposed redistricting, a new district (SD 76, which is currently in central south El Paso County and occupied by Claudia Ordaz Perez) is added as another completely contained House district in Fort Bend.


The new HD 76 consists of north Sugar Land, Mission Bend, Four Corners, Pecan Grove, Meadows Place, and a portion of northwest Stafford. I do not have the stats to predict which party will take HD 76.


HD 26 (Jacey Jetton) contains Katy, Cinco Ranch, the Fort Bend portions of Houston, Cummings, Richmond, and a small portion of Rosenberg.


HD 28 (Gary Gates) contains most of Rosenberg, the heart of Sugar Land, Fulshear, Simonton, Weston Lakes, Beasley, Needville, Pleak, and Fairchilds.


HD 85 (Phil Stephenson) contains a much smaller sliver around the rural southern Fort Bend. The only two cities in the district in Fort Bend are Kendleton and Thompsons.


GULF COAST FROM HOUSTON TO CORPUS


HD 85 (Phil Stephenson of Wharton County) is transformed from a Jackson, Wharton, and south Fort Bend County district to a Wharton County and a sliver of rural Fort Bend that also includes three former HD 13 Counties (Colorado, Fayette, and Austin) and one former HD 3 (Cecil Bell) county, Waller.


HD 30 (Geanie Morrison of Victoria County) maintains three core counties (Victoria, Goliad, and DeWitt), loses Refurio and Calhoun to a reformed HD 43 (J. M. Lozano) and Aransas to HD 32 (Todd Hunter), and gains Lavaca from the abandoned HD 13, Matagorda from HD 25 (Vasut), and Jackson from HD 85 (Stephenson).


HD 43 (J.M. Lozano) keeps Kleburg, Jim Wells, San Patricio, and Bee Counties, losing none, and picks up Refurio and Calhoun from HD 30. The district now surrounds Nueces and Aransas Counties.


HD 32 (Redistricting Chair Todd Hunter) keeps the Corpus Christi and Port Aransas portion of Nueces County and expands to take Aransas County. HD 34 (Dem Abel Herrero) in west Nueces County (Robstown, northwest Corpus, Driscoll, and Bishop) stays about the same.


BEXAR COUNTY


Bexar County stays pretty much the same as currently. It has two Republican districts in the north (HD 121 – Steve Allison and HD 122 – Lyle Larson). The remaining 8 districts are Democrat, although HD 118 may flip R in the runoff to replace Leo Pacheco. After redistricting, HD 118 picks up Van Ormy in southwest Bexar and the rest of Universal City in the northeast.


TRAVIS COUNTY


Currently, all six districts in Travis County are Democrat and totally contained within Travis County. HD 50 will be an open seat in 2022, after Celia Israel retires. This draft redistricting plan pushes a newly named HD 19 into western Travis County, displacing almost all of the current HD 47, leaving incumbent Vikki Goodwin in HD 47, but with an almost completely different district. The abandoned HD 50 is greatly rearranged as well. Eddie Rodriguez’ HD 51 and Gina Hinojosa’s HD 49 stay largely intact, but like HD 47 and HD 50, Donna Howard’s HD 48, and Sheryl Cole’s HD 46 are greatly modified districts, too.


TARRANT COUNTY


Tarrant County has 8 Republican Districts and 3 Democrat Districts. The number and composition stays primarily the same in the new redistricting plan, except that HD 92 (Jeff Cason, who took the place of Jonathan Stickland in 2020 and who was one of the 2 state reps to vote against Dade Phelan as Speaker) appears to be targeted by turning it into an almost certain Dem District.


The current HD 92 is centered on HEB (Hurst, Bedford, Euless), a part of far north Arlington, some far east Fort Worth, and a sliver of the Tarrant portion of Grand Prairie. The plan strips HD 92 (and Cason) of Hurst, and most of Bedford and Euless, and adds in a large portion of north Arlington and more of Grand Prairie that contain Democrat voters from Democrat Caucus Chair Chris Turner and a portion of Matt Krause’s old HD 93.

Jeff Cason says this on his Facebook page about the proposed plan:


“The map released doesn't target a single Democrat, it targets me, the most conservative Republican representative in Tarrant County, and gives most of my district to Tony Tinderholt, a dear friend and fellow fighter.


The reason for this is simple; I am not a Republican who allows myself to be controlled by leadership, my vote belongs to you and not them. They reward members who give away their votes to leadership instead of independently representing the values of their voters.


Let me be clear. These maps were created with the approval of Craig Goldman and Stephanie Klick. They are two top chairmen and have the most pull in Tarrant County. We can only surrender a seat to Democrats and punish the most conservative Representative in Tarrant if they allow it. Unfortunately, it appears they planned it this way.”