It has been ten years, a decennial census, and the Republican-controlled Texas legislature has redrawn the state maps, with incumbents finding themselves drawn out of their own districts and would-be challengers finding paths to success becoming narrower, donut- and donut-hole districts, and a flurry of legal and public pushback against the announced maps.
Incumbent Representative Vicente Gonzalez, whose district pre-redistricting was the Rio Grande Valley’s District 15, has announced his intent to run in the new District 34 – in part because his home is in the new district’s boundaries. In north Texas, similar issues are taking place: Salman Bhojani, a Democratic candidate for Texas Senate District 9 since May 2021, recently announced the end of his campaign after the redrawn maps completely changed District 9 from a competitive one to a safe Republican district. And when redrawing lines, even the party in charge cannot always avoid collateral damage, as in the odd case of District 34 losing six Republican-leaning counties to an adjacent district, just as the Republican Party had been making meaningful headway and the long-term Democratic incumbent was retiring. However, incumbent district-jumping isn’t new, at least for Texas. Longtime Congressman Lloyd Doggett, first elected to Congress in 1995, has already survived redrawing and jumping into new districts, and is looking to do so again with a jump from District 35 to District 37.