The Election, Redistricting, and What To Do to Keep Texas from Turning Blue
Early voting for November 3rd elections begins on October 13th, less than 40 days away!
In addition to the presidential and US Senate election (Cornyn), the race for Texas Republicans on this year’s ballot who are running for State Representative will be the toughest many have ever had. Texas House races will receive special focus as Democrats picked up 12 seats two years ago and they need only win 9 seats this cycle to hold the majority. That possibility is very much in play.
With such an important election only two months away, I have had a number of constituents reach out and ask what they can do to keep Texas red. I’ll attempt to answer that question in this newsletter but here’s the overview:
Encourage others to vote (especially in areas with competitive races)
Donate to candidates in key races
The most important thing you can do is go vote, period. While I have no Democrat opponent in this election, President Trump and Senator Cornyn need to “run up the score” in more rural parts of the state to win reelection. Many people are vocal fighters on social media, but if they don’t follow up by actually voting, they are Shakespeare’s “tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”
Please make sure that you go all the way down the ballot to ensure your voice is heard on local elections as well. These races are often decided by a handful of votes and have a huge impact on our communities.
Finally, I would like to remind you that one-punch straight ticket voting is no longer on an option on ballots this year. Take this into account when planning on going to the polls and–again–go all the way to the bottom of the ballot!
Secondly, talk to friends and family and make sure they understand the importance of voting in this election and that there is no option to do one-punch straight ticket voting. Especially in more urban parts of the state, the ballot can often be multiple pages and some folks are tempted to vote for a couple of offices at the top and then leave everything else off.
If you (or they) believe in keeping the Republican majority in the Texas State House because the policies of Texas have benefited the people of this State and Country more than the policies of a Democrat-controlled Legislature, it is imperative that we completely fill out our ballots.
This is also an election where monetary contributions matter a great deal. Races for seats in the Texas House are normally run on a relatively small budget compared to congressional elections-so strategic contributions can make a much larger difference in these races than they would elsewhere.
Eric Holder, the former Attorney General in the Obama Administration, heads the National Democrat Redistricting Committee. He is raising millions of dollars from left wing donors to give to State Representative races in hopes of gaining Democrat majorities in State Legislatures across the country. Texas is on the list and his organization and many other federal left-leaning PACS have already contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to their Democrat State House candidates in Texas.
That is why I have been donating to Republican House candidates across the state. Since I do not have a Democrat opponent, I am able to send resources to other campaigns where they are needed. If you would like to contribute directly to candidates, I would be more than happy to discuss which candidates/races might benefit most from your support to keep Texas red.
Finally, donate your time as a volunteer. I’m sure your local county Republican party–here’s the link to Wichita County’s–would love to put you to work. There are also other races around the state where you might be able to contribute your time in a number of different ways.
A FINAL WORD
Every election is important. Due to the effects on redistricting (see the separate section below for more info), this Texas House election will have ramifications over the next decade. If you’ve ever thought about getting involved, there’s no time where it could matter more.
May God bless you and your family,
. . . This is an excerpt from a newsletter sent September 8, 2020
I’ve often been asked why redistricting is such an intense and emotionally charged process. The answer is that boundary lines on maps can often mean the near-certain loss of a member’s seat, either to the other party or to another member within one’s own party. It is about as personal a business as happens in the Legislature and can be perceived-rightly or wrongly-as the settling of grudges or playing favorites. It can also be extremely partisan and can have profound impacts on elections over the next few cycles as demographics change.
Redistricting is a constitutionally required process that happens every 10 years to redraw congressional and legislative districts based on population changes in the state. While preparations are already underway for the process, the opening kickoff cannot happen until the US Census Bureau reports the official numbers. In normal years, that happens by April 1 of a ‘1 year (’91, ’01, ’11, ’21, etc.). However, COVID pushed back the data gathering operation and we have been told not to expect numbers before July of next year. The three month delay is already a difficulty, but that also means the Legislature will not be able to tackle redistricting during its normal legislative session which ends on May 31st, 2021. As a result, expect at least one late summer special session to tackle redistricting.
Plans to enact new redistricting maps proceed through the legislative process just like any other piece of legislation. In other words, they must pass both chambers of the Legislature and be signed by the Governor. If, for whatever reason, the Legislature is unable to pass a plan (or the Governor vetoes it), there is a constitutionally mandated backstop-the Legislative Redistricting Board (LRB). The LRB is a five-member body of state officials (Lieutenant Governor, Speaker of the House, Attorney General, Comptroller, General Land Office Commissioner) which must meet within 90 days of the end of the regular session and adopt its own plan (within 60 days of convening).
If past history is any indication, whatever maps are agreed to will be challenged in court, and that can be a lengthy, drawn-out process.
Normally, the Legislature only has one “must-pass” bill, the budget. In 2021, the need to do redistricting means we’ll have two-and neither are likely to be easy.