A court battle is brewing over a proposed Congressional redistricting map that splits Travis County five ways. The county is currently split among three districts.
A House committee is set to consider the map that looks to protect all area Congressional incumbents, except 17-year veteran Democrat Congressman Lloyd Doggett of District 25.
The map sends his current district in a different direction, in what could be considered GOP-safe territory.
“Not a crazy plan, but a smart, cunning plan for them to deny a voice for Austin,” Rep. Doggett said.
Republicans who drew the map say the new lines stem from population growth, and with four new seats to work into the plan, the highly populated areas were going to be divvied up differently.
“I think this does immeasurable harm to our community,” Rep. Doggett said.
Doggett’s best bet would be to campaign in the new District 35, which is overwhelmingly Hispanic and runs from South Austin to San Antonio.
“I’ll live in a Winnebago if I have to,” Rep. Doggett said.
Doggett and other Democrats are challenging whether the map violates the Voting Rights Act. Ultimately, the Justice Department must approve new congressional lines that ensure minorities have fair voting power.
“We all know it’s going to the federal courts for review and what you try to do is put together the fairest legal plan you can, and basically hope for the best in the courts,” Republican Rep. Burt Solomons of House District 65 said.
Rep. Solomons, the House redistricting chair, said the map doesn’t single out Doggett.
“To say that just Congressman Doggett, or just Congressman so-and-so is just being picked on, that’s not true,” Rep. Solomons said. “We’ve got districts all over that have new population for constituencies if they’re interested in running in those districts.”
Doggett said the map would be a loss to the constituents he’s come to know and serve over the years and the efforts made in his current area.
The House redistricting committee is considering the map Thursday. The Senate has already approved the map.