Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Redistricting and Williamson County

State lawmakers have been grappling with the budget and Governor Perry's emergency items so far this year, but soon Spring will turn our fancy to redistricting. The Texas Legislative Council has been busy examining new census data, and there seems to be some very interesting developments for Williamson County.

The ideal size for Texas House districts is 167,637 and both Williamson County districts far exceed that number. District 20, represented by Republican Charles Schwertner, is over by 60,454. District 52, represented by Larry Gonzales, also Republican, is over by 51,708. The combined overages in Williamson County alone are nearly enough for a whole new district.  House District 54, which includes parts of Bell, Burnet, and Lampasas counties and represented by Republican Don Aycock, is over the ideal size by 28,815.  So if we combine the surplus of all three, we come to a near perfect 169,792. 

The likely result is that we will see three districts; one going West to capture the District 54 surplus, one pushing out to the East and including parts of Districts 20 and 52, and one centered in Round Rock.  While the final district maps will likely retain districts for both Gonzales and Schwertner, the third Wilco-based district will present some interesting opportunities.  I have no doubt that there are potential candidates on both sides of the aisle watching redistricting developments very closely.

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