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North Texas Print E-mail
by William Lutz    Mon, Jul 27, 2009, 02:47 PM

Perhaps the most striking change to the House map will likely occur in North Texas. Dallas is estimated to go from 16 to 15 seats, while Tarrant is estimated to grow from 10 to 11 districts. This shift will likely benefit the Republican Party, as much of the growth in Tarrant County is in the suburban areas, and North Dallas has shifted Democratic over the past few cycles.

Speaking of trends that will be music to GOP ears, both suburban Collin and Denton Counties gain a seat, with Collin going to 4.7 (from 3.5) state House seats and Denton going from 3.11 to 3.93, necessitating the drawing of a fourth seat wholly contained within Denton County.

Johnson County goes from 0.95 to 0.91 and is just barely under the number needed to become its own district. If Johnson County grows in the next two years to within five percent of the ideal district size, the Texas Constitution requires that it become its own House District. It is very likely that Rep. Rob Orr’s (R-Burleson) will consist only of Johnson County after redistricting. If Johnson does not gain enough population to become its own district, then it will need to be joined with Somervell County, as the current configuration of Johnson and Bosque Counties would be well above the population cap for a house district.

Ellis County goes from 0.8 to 0.91 House seats and presents map-drawers with a sticky predicament.  Ellis has not quite grown enough to become its own district but has grown too fast to make a district under the population cap with any surrounding county. (The current District 10 configuration of Ellis and Hill Counties would be well over the cap.) There will probably have to be a county cut to make a constitutional district for Rep. Jim Pitts (R-Waxahachie).
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