Mike Kueber's Blog

March 24, 2013

Single-member districts in San Antonio and District 2

Filed under: Issues,Politics — Mike Kueber @ 11:20 pm
Tags: ,

Single-member districts are often mandated by the federal courts to ensure that minorities are able to have representation.  The constitutional remedy is based on the fact that, generally, Anglos vote for other Anglos, African-Americans vote for African-Americans, Hispanics vote for Hispanics, etc.  Single-member districts will often enable a redistricting commission to create districts that have a majority of minority residents/voters, and thereby secure minority representation.  San Antonio converted from at-large voting to single-member districts in 1977.

While visiting with a friend in Austin last week, I learned that Austin had only recently converted from at-large voting to single-member districts.  But my friend told me that, even with at-large voting in Austin, there was a gentlemen’s agreement that certain districts were reserved for certain minorities.  E.g., Austin’s District Two was reserved for African-American candidates.

My first reaction was disbelief that such a gentlemen’s agreement would survive in the dog-eat-dog world of politics.  But then I remembered a statistical tidbit from my analysis of San Antonio’s recent redistricting:

  • San Antonio’s District Two is almost always represented by an African-American, but according to census statistics, the District residents are 54% Hispanic, 18% Anglo, and only 24% African-American.  Apparently, District Two can’t be drawn with a higher percentage of African-Americans because, of the other nine council districts, the highest percentage of African-American is only 7%.  Of San Antonio’s 1,326,721 residents, only 83,330 (6.28%) are African-American.

Despite this lack of electoral strength for African-Americans generally in San Antonio and specifically in District Two, the District has, to my recollection, been continuously represented by African-Americans.  This year, the incumbent African-American, Ivy Taylor, is running against another African-American and two men with Hispanic surnames, yet she is the heavy favorite. 

Sounds to me like the voters of San Antonio’s District Two are aware of a gentlemen’s agreement, even though two Hispanic candidates aren’t.


1 Comment »

  1. Are you going on Texas Week this week with the others? I heard from a supporter of your opponent they are filming it this week.

    Comment by Chuck Tom Marconi — March 25, 2013 @ 2:38 pm | Reply

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