The Golden Hammer Staff Reports
Austin and Montgomery County, October 1 – State Representative Todd Hunter, Republican of Corpus Christi and the Chairman of the Texas House of Representatives Redistricting Committee, released his proposed maps for redistricting Texas House of Representatives Districts yesterday afternoon. The maps include Hunter’s proposal to divide Montgomery County into four districts three of which are entirely in Montgomery County, while the fourth district would include a swath of east Montgomery County along with three other counties.
The statewide plan contains nine pairings of incumbent members of the Texas House, although several of those pairings involve members who are planning not to run for re-election or to retire. Some of the pairings are controversial and seem to suggest that the redistricting plan may pit two incumbents against each other in the 2022 elections.
In Montgomery County, the big winner of redistricting clearly is State Representative Cecil Bell of Magnolia whose District 3 will no longer include areas outside of Montgomery County, has a strong Optimal Republican Voting Strength of 78%, and includes areas that are only currently already within his District with one major exception. Bell’s District will now include the western part of The Woodlands, a strong conservative voting area.
Similarly, State Representative Will Metcalf, Republican of Conroe, will retain a strong Republican Voting Strength District 16, which includes the northern part of Montgomery County from east to west. Metcalf serves as Chairman of the Texas House Administration Committee and is, hence, a part of the Republican Leadership in the House.
State Representative Steve Toth, Republican of Conroe and the Woodlands, will continue to represent The Woodlands, Oak Ridge North, and Benders Landing, although, due to population growth, his District 15’s Optimal Republican Voting Strength will be lower than in other Montgomery County areas at approximately 66%. The central part of The Woodlands – Panther Creek and Grogans Mill – tends to vote less conservatively than other areas.
The new District to Montgomery County is Ernest Bailes’ District 18. Bailes hails from Shepherd in San Jacinto County. As proposed, District 18 will include the Splendora area of east Montgomery County as well as Liberty County, San Jacinto County, and Hardin County.
Splitting a portion of Montgomery County into four districts is not unusual under the circumstances of population growth. Montgomery County’s population is approximately 624,000 in the 2020 United States Census, but each House District is approximately 199,000. Therefore, it’s no surprise that a small portion of Montgomery County will go into a fourth district contiguous to other counties within the same district.
The proposed map is certainly not set in stone.
Rather, it’s merely the beginning of the redistricting fight. The House Redistricting Committee will begin hearings on the proposed plan on Monday, October 4, at 9 a.m., in the Texas Capitol.