AUSTIN, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – A Texas House committee approved a newly drawn map of State House Districts Tuesday afternoon, Oct. 5 that includes a major change for a Tarrant County Republican.
State Representative Jeff Cason of Bedford said he was caught off guard by the proposed map for District 92.
“It was a shock, to say the least. My initial feeling was the district was targeted. I felt personally targeted,” said Cason.
He said his solidly Republican district, now in Hurst, Euless, and Beford and parts of Arlington and Fort Worth would be redrawn into a Democratic majority district along much of the Tarrant-Dallas County line.
“The current iteration is pretty glaring, and in stands out. I’ve had people from all over Texas as well as northeast Tarrant. County, contact me and voice their displeasure,” he said.
Cason said he’s speaking with his fellow Tarrant County Republicans to change the proposal when the full House considers the maps next week.
“There are also other options that can be considered. That would not seem to target a sitting member of the House. That would hopefully satisfy everyone, Republicans and Democrats alike.”
That includes District 93, which will become an open seat.
It’s now being represented by Republican Representative Matt Krause, who announced he will run for Attorney General next year.
When asked if he’s considering legal action, Cason said, “At this point in time, that hasn’t entered my mind at all.”
Another Tarrant County legislative district is in the political cross-hairs.
Democratic State Senator Beverly Powell said Tuesday she is considering legal action after the State Senate approved newly drawn Senate districts Monday evening.
She represents Senate District 10, which is in Tarrant County now.
But under the newly drawn map, her district would become more Republican as it would also include seven additional counties, mostly in rural areas.
Powell said, “We have tried since the very first day that we saw the proposed map, to reason with the (Senate Redistricting) committee to no avail.”
She said she believes minority voters in her district are being disenfranchised just as the courts found ten years ago. “I’m confident that the courts will once again rule that this has been intentional and illegal discrimination against minorities.”
On Monday, Powell questioned Republican State Senator Joan Huffman of Houston who drew the map.
Huffman told Powell she drew the proposed new district “blind to race.”
The Republican majority controls the drawing of the state and Congressional maps.
As the third largest county in the state, and amid a changing population, Tarrant County attracts a lot of attention.
TCU Political Science Professor Jim Riddlesperger said the county remains largely Republican, but is becoming more Democratic.
“Fort Worth and Tarrant County is still in play. While it is true that Beto O’Rourke, won Tarrant County in 2018, and Joe Biden narrowly won Tarrant County in the 2020 election, the county-wide office holders in Tarrant County are all Republicans still, and so it’s a very competitive county. The result of that is that there are ways that the the county can be divided up in such a way that they crack the Democrats into a minority portion in all of the districts and that way they can elect more Republicans,” he said.
Democrats have pointed to the 2020 census results showing the Texas population grew during the past decade because of the growth of the Latino, Asian-American, and African-American communities.
Riddlesperger said, “Tarrant County is diversifying very rapidly. It’s becoming more Democratic each election, and though the Republicans remain in control, they’re all very well aware of that. It’s a marginal county, and it could go either way.”
The Texas House and Senate must give final approval of the state House, Senate, and Congressional districts before they go to the Governor.