Shows the Texas Congressional Districts. I stole it from here. I live in the 19th. The shape of that (and of the one to the north of it, above it on this map) is a direct result of the infamous Tom DeLay gerrymander that, for all intents and purposes, illegally redrew the lines of Texas Congressional Districts, and the purpose DeLay had was to eliminate potential Democratic success.
I’m not sure whether the 13th or the 23rd is the biggest physical district in Texas, but if you look at the relative size of the ones — half a dozen jammed into the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex, another half a dozen in Houston — east and south of us, you’ll notice something important. There are lots more people per square mile there than here. I’ll let my buddy Graham do a study of this on his home state of California if he should so desire.
I suspect the fact that I’m closer to the capital of New Mexico and the Capitol of Oklahoma (marginally) than I am to Austin has something to do with my affinity for Bill Richardson and my lack of affinity for Rick Perry, but then Oklahoma’s got its problems, too. Their lege, which is only marginally, on any given occasion, less sane than ours, is currently trying (again) to force invasive ultrasound testing on women before they can obtain a legal medical procedure in that state. On behalf of my fellow (badly outnumbered) Texas Democrats, let me invite all the women and children of Oklahoma who want to escape its American Taliban regime to move southwest.
My kid brother, who’s been to Iraq in Desert Shield/Storm, said it looked like Midland / Odessa/ the Monahans Sandhills. That would be District 11. That’s another big district (Midland, which is Laura Bush’s home and claims w with some pride, is there).
I haven’t lost anything in Midland, but Odessa is an interesting place and Monahans more so, not least because of its Monahans Sandhills State Park. Big Spring, which also has an interesting State Park and was the site of one of the most fun jobs I’ve ever had, is also in that district.
I’m informed today that the entire state of Wyoming has one member of Congress. The folks in Wyoming are better represented (at least in theory) than are the residents of the District of Columbia, even if there are many more folks in the DC Metro area than in the state of Wyoming. (Admittedly, some DC Metro area folks actually have Congressmembers — Delaware or Maryland representatives.)
Sometimes I marvel at the unintended consequences of elections. Locally, we had a Texas Congressman who had been in the Lege 46 years, and was running again. As the 2nd-most senior member of the Texas House, Delwin Jones was chair of the redistricting committe — or would have been, had he won re-election. A Tea Party candidate beat him in a runoff eight days ago. So the county I live in will be represented by freshmen in the Texas House next session (there’s more than one district).
I suspect the upshot of this will be that either Mac Thornberry north of us will get part of Randy Neugebauer’s district, or Michael Conaway, to the south of us, will get part of it. Any way the redistricting wind blows, I’m apt to have a GOP House member “representing” me. I feel a whole lot closer to a DC resident than a Wyoming one, in spite of the geographical similarity.
Now, we’ve got a census this year, so next time the Texas Legislature meets, those lines must be redrawn again. (Oh, trust me: it’s not because we’ve got more people in the parts of Texas where those districts are already geographically gargantuan. Nope. In all likelihood, we’ll see even more districts jammed cheek-by-jowl in the Houston MSA (Harris and Fort Bend Counties, mostly), the Austin / San Antonio metro areas (Bexar county for San Antonio, Travis and Hays and Blanco for Austin), and, of course, Dallas-Fort Worth.
I wish the folks in Bexar, Tarrant, Fort Bend, Harris, Hays, Travis and Blanco Counties the very best of luck, next lege.
(And if y’all can redraw the districts more sensibly, more power to ya.)