Using data obtained from the Texas Legislative Council, the Texas Partisan Index (TPI) examines the median share of the vote between Republicans and Democrats in the 2018 and 2020 elections.
Under the current map, 80 districts lean toward Republicans, 69 lean toward Democrats, and one is split about even. The proposed map would tilt that to give Republicans the advantage in 85 districts and leave Democrats with the upper hand in 65.
Since the Texas GOP holds two of the current Democrat-leaning seats and the even district, if the map is used in the upcoming election and the results of the 2022 election don’t swing too widely from the past two elections, Republicans could see a net gain of two seats in the state House.
The proposed map would shore up support for incumbents in many competitive districts but would also be detrimental to a handful of members.
Two Dallas County Republican members, Reps. Angie Chen Button (R-Richardson) and Morgan Meyer (R-Dallas), would be particularly benefited by the plan, as it would shift their seats from TPI ratings of D-52% and D-51% to R-55% and R-59%, respectively.
Conversely, four other seats would see their TPI shift to favor the party opposite the incumbent:
- House District (HD) 31 with Rep. Ryan Guillen (D-Rio Grande City) would shift from D-51% to R-57%.
- HD 52 with Rep. James Talarico (D-Round Rock) would shift from D-53% to R-56%.
- HD 65 with Rep. Michelle Beckley (D-Carrollton), who was drawn out of her district and into another Republican-leaning seat, would shift from D-51% to R-59%.
- HD 92 with Rep. Jeff Cason (R-Bedford) would shift from R-53% to D-62%.
Cason responded to the shift in his district with a furious press release, laying the blame for the changes to fellow Tarrant County GOP Reps. Craig Goldman (R-Fort Worth) and Stephanie Klick (R-Fort Worth).
“They are two top chairmen and have the most pull in Tarrant County,” said Cason. “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.”
Aside from Cason, the other incumbent Republican to see his district’s partisan leaning shift left was Rep. Hugh Shine (R-Temple) in HD 55, which would see its TPI rating go from R-66% to R-55%.
Other bright red districts were rearranged on the map to areas with weaker but still safe Republican support, such as Rep. Glenn Rogers’ (R-Graford) rural HD 60 that was moved to Collin County, shifting from R-86% to R-58% in the process.
GOP voters who were cut out of stronger Republican districts were drawn into more competitive districts to make them safer.
Generally the same was done with Democrat-held districts, so that competitive districts can be safer wins for the incumbent.
Besides the seats currently belonging to Guillen, Talarico, and Beckley, two other districts would see a rightward shift: Rep. Tracy King’s (D-Batesville) HD 80 would shift from D-61% to D-54%, and the vacant HD 118 in San Antonio would shift from D-57% to D-54%.
A detailed comparison of the TPI under the current map and the proposed one can be found here.
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Daniel Friend is a reporter for The Texan. He participated in a Great Books program at Azusa Pacific University and graduated in 2019 with a degree in Political Science. He has studied C.S. Lewis’s science fiction trilogy and in his spare time you might find him writing his own novel partly inspired by the series.