Texas Redistricting Dispute May Make State Irrelevant In GOP Nomination Battle

A bitter redistricting fight in Texas may make the once Super Tuesday state irrelevant to the 2012 GOP Presidential nominating contest, while also involving potential ramifications for which party controls the U.S. House of Representatives after November.

Having already been moved back from March 6th to April, any realistic prospective date is quickly sliding into May and even a June date has already been suggested by a judge, as minority groups and the state fail to achieve a compromise acceptable to both sides.

Although the chances of an April primary are not officially extinguished, even the judges acknowledged those prospects are fading because of logistics. Elections workers from some of Texas’ largest counties are pushing May 22 as the next earliest date if maps can be settled quickly.

U.S. District Judge Xavier Rodriguez at one point suggested that June 26 may make the most sense for the primary elections. That would make Texas among the last states in the nation to hold a primary but would also ensure that maps would reflect any Voting Rights Act issues that a Washington court is still deciding.

Driven by 3 million new Hispanic residents, Texas gained 4 House seats, pitting Democrats against Republicans in a state battle over the composition of various districts, with potential national implications in both the GOP’s Presidential primary and Fall elections.

The ramifications are national because Texas was awarded four new congressional seats following the 2010 census. Whether they go Democrat or Republican could affect the balance of power in the U.S. House.

The updated count determined the population boom in Texas was driven by nearly 3 million new Hispanic residents over the last decade, but minority groups and Democrats say those numbers weren’t reflected in how the Republican-controlled Legislature redrew districts statewide.

One example of how far apart both sides remain came early in Tuesday’s hearing.

David Mattax, an attorney for the Texas attorney general’s office, said the state compromised on more than two dozen districts in its latest offer that was accepted by a handful of minority groups.

The groups that balked, meanwhile, submitted a counterproposal — which Mattax said featured changes to more than 60 districts.

“This map rewrites the entire state,” Mattax said.

recent ground-level report by Texas GOP Vote also mentions a June date.

Now it looks like we will have one unified Primary Election on May 29th or June 26th, OR we will have a split Primary (two elections) with the Presidential and Statewide elections in late April and all the other elections in May/June (or whenever the redistricting battle is settled).