The Back MicThe Back Mic: Phelan Hits Back on Democratic Chairs, Texas Election Source to Shutter, 4-Seat Gain Projected in 2030 Population Analysis

This week — Speaker Dade Phelan responds to critics of Democratic committee chair appointments, an election resource will close its doors, and a 2030 redistricting estimate shows congressional gains for Texas.
December 30, 2022

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Phelan Fires Back on Democratic Chairs

Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont) has faced his fair share of flack from his right flank on the issue of Democratic committee chairs. Phelan appointed 13 Democrats as committee chairs last session and is keen on doing so again.

This position has drawn criticism from the Texas GOP, which has made opposing Democratic committee chairs a top priority, and is even the inspiration for state Rep. Tony Tinderholt’s longshot challenge to Phelan’s speakership.

But on Christmas Eve, Phelan fired a shot back at his critics. Referencing a floor speech by Congressman Chip Roy (R-TX-21), Phelan tweeted, “Merry Christmas Eve. A reminder. The process in DC is completely broken. Only a few get a seat at the table. There is no attempt to work together. Never a consensus. [The Texas Legislature] should never emulate it.”

“Don’t be like D.C.” is a frequent argument against banning Democratic chairs, as the majority party in the  U.S. House of Representatives does not grant committee chairmanships to members of the minority party.

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[In] DC…[there is] no discussion, debate, [or] amendments. In contrast, [the Texas Legislature] does not spend [money] we do not have, [the budget is] always balanced. Since 2015, [the budget has been] under population/inflation growth. Have an extensive [committee] process, [with] hundreds of riders, and hundreds of floor amendments. [The] 2021 budget passed [the] House 149-0.”

The 88th Legislature convenes on January 10, and a vote on Democratic committee chairs during the House rules debate will likely occur in the days following.

Texas Election Source to Shutter Operations

After 10 years of covering results on election nights, Texas Election Source will cease operations. Founder Jeff Blaylock announced the decision in a blog post, stating, “Ten years ago, I set out to make my readers the smartest people in their political crowd.”

My approach was to combine comprehensive election data, campaign finance figures and candidate news with the insights I’ve built over more than three decades of observing Texas politics.”

Blaylock published race ratings, result analysis, campaign finance data, candidate lists, and other insights on the subscription-based site.

He added, “After every general election, I decide whether I will commit myself to putting in the thousands of hours of work necessary to deliver news and analysis at the level of quality I expect from myself.”

In the past, that answer has been ‘yes.’ This time, I have decided not to continue for the 2023-24 election cycle.”

Blaylock said he is ready to do something new but will remain active with elections at a reduced capacity on his Twitter account.

This chapter of Texas Election Source is ending, but a new chapter may one day begin,” he concluded.

Texas Estimated to Gain 4 Congressional Seats in 2030

Heading into next year, Texans will be represented by 38 different congressmen, an increase of two from last decade. The 2020 U.S. Census Bureau estimated an increase in the state’s population by 4 million, leading to the largest congressional seat increase of any state.

But analysis of a 2022 population estimate by the Census Bureau pegs that the next redistricting  in 2030 will grow twice as much as last year’s.

In 2022, Texas crossed the 30 million population line, adding 470,708 people since the year prior. It’s a long way out, with a lot of time for a change in the trend, but it’s estimated to yield a 4-seat gain by Texas, putting its total at 42 — with 44 votes in the Electoral College.

The same analysis estimates Florida to also gain four seats and California to lose five. While it’s not a wholly authoritative estimate, the analysis emphasizes the massive influx of residents Texas faces every year.


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Brad Johnson

Brad Johnson is a senior reporter for The Texan and an Ohio native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2017. He is an avid sports fan who most enjoys watching his favorite teams continue their title drought throughout his cognizant lifetime. In his free time, you may find Brad quoting Monty Python productions and trying to calculate the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow.