Alex's Outlook

Monday, December 22, 2003

Texas Chainsaw Gerrymander Survives

Because of gerrymandering, only about 38 House districts will be remotely competitive in this election cycle. Even so, with Republican control of the House hanging on a threadbare 229-206 majority, that still made for a somewhat competitive House of Representatives, especially since Democrats will probably gain at least two House seats this year in special elections. If the Republicans were cut down to a four- or five-vote majority, their control of the House would be significantly compromised; this year's Medicare bill wouldn't have passed the House with such a slender majority.

Now the Republicans have virtually guaranteed themselves control of the House until the next redistricting cycle in 2011. Tom DeLay's gerrymander of Texas, recently validated by the Justice Department, will be much more reflective of Texas' conservatism, and the Republicans will likely wipe out seven Democrats. Instead of a net loss of 2-3 House seats for 2004, then, the Republicans will probably pick up 4-5, more if Bush has massive coattails come November.

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