Texas Redistricting Costing Republicans & Romney

As the Texas redistricting fiasco continues, Reuters reports that Republicans are losing the opportunity to capture the state’s Latino vote.

Plagued by racial disputes and the state’s history of minority voting rights violations, the creation of three of the four new U.S. house seats in predominantly white areas has divided the population.

Minority groups have accused the Republican-controlled Legislature of drawing maps that discriminated against them. The state's leaders say the maps merely give Republicans an advantage in the next election, something that is perfectly legal in drawing political districts.

According to Reuters, minorities, including Latinos, have accounted for 90 percent of Texas’ population growth since 2000.

While Republicans have maintained political control of Texas throughout the demographic change of the population, this could swiftly change.

As reported by Reuters, Latinos alone account for 38 percent of the states’ population, voting Democratic by a 2-to-1 margin.

"Republicans can work that racial solidarity thing for a while, but in the end, they've got to do better than 35 percent of the Hispanic vote or their election prospects are not great," Cal Jillson, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, told Reuters.

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The redistricting mess has already affected the 2012 presidential race by delaying the state’s Republican primary by almost three months.

According to Reuters, if the Texas primary had taken place on Super Tuesday, as originally scheduled, Romney could have done well.

Texas would have been the biggest prize up for grabs on Super Tuesday, when 10 other states held primaries and caucuses.

Winning or putting in a good showing in Texas would have boosted Romney. The state's 155 delegates, awarded proportionally, are a huge chunk of the 1,144 needed to become the nominee.

“It (a March 6 Texas primary) would have changed a lot of things. It would have changed the entire complexion of Super Tuesday," said Matt Mackowiak, an Austin-based Republican strategist, to Reuters.

With Texas now one of the last states to vote, the nominee could be chosen by May 29. Even if it isn't, Reuters reports that  Santorum is now considered more likely to take Texas, thanks to improving fund-raising and his solidified position as the conservative alternative to Romney.

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As reported by Reuters, the redistricting mess is affecting races down the ticket as well, with many voters not sure where they are registered.

"I can look around the state and see the confusion in the eyes of the average voter," said Chris Elam, communications director for the state Republican Party. Some 100 Republicans alone have applied to run for the 36 House seats, told Reuters.

Last month, a partial deal was reached in the see-saw negotiations over the Texas redistricting battle. The interim map is expected to stand, but there is a chance it could be changed again by the Washington court.

The latest maps come after months of legal wrangling in three federal courtrooms, including the U.S. Supreme Court. The court threw out the last set of maps the San Antonio judges drew saying they did not adhere closely enough to the maps originally drawn by the Legislature.

Attorneys for the state and minorities in the Fort Worth area told the federal judges in San Antonio that they had reached a deal on state Senate maps, but that would apply only to the 2012 elections. Eight other groups continued to contest the Texas House and congressional districts. The congressional maps are critical because Texas is adding four seats next year and who wins them could decide which party controls the U.S. House.

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