Politics

Is redistricting the key to growing the GOP’s majority? Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick weighs in

DALLAS — Republicans have held a sizeable advantage in statewide offices and the Texas Legislature for decades. And once the new maps are in place after redistricting, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick expects the Republican majority in the Texas Senate to increase.

“The map that’s been put out could give the Republicans an extra seat in, I think, Senate District 10 which is Fort Worth and out to the rural areas,” the Lieutenant Governor said on Inside Texas Politics.

Patrick said SD 10 has ping-ponged back and forth between Republicans and Democrats for years. Democrat Beverly Powell is the current state Senator. Before her, Republican Konni Burton represented the district. And before her, Democrat Wendy Davis held the seat.

Patrick also pointed out that lawmakers have to follow certain rules when drawing the maps during redistricting. And he said population plays a large role as well. Texas’ current population is around 29 million. Patrick said 10 years ago it was 24 million and 10 years before that it was 18 million.

“That’s a tremendous increase in population. And each Senate district has to have the same amount of voters, within a range. So, the average would be, if you divide 31* into our population, it’s about 911,000,” he said. “Well, you can’t get every district to be exactly that. So you have a little bit of a range above it and a little bit of a range below it.”

As for the state’s new abortion law, which empowers private citizens to sue abortion providers or anyone who helps with the procedure, the Lieutenant Governor said he hopes it doesn’t clog up the courts with abortion-related lawsuits. But he said the law isn’t about tort reform, or money.

“We think it’s a good law. We’re saving lives,” Patrick said.

As for the crowded field in the Republican primary next year, Patrick said don’t expect any endorsements from him anytime soon.

“Right now, I’m focused on getting these maps drawn and passed. Because if we don’t get them drawn and passed by Nov. 15, it will push the elections back from March to April. And if we wait another month, April to May,” he said.

* The Texas Legislature is made up of the 31-seat Senate and the 150-seat House of Representatives

Written by Michael McCardel

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