Mike Kueber's Blog

June 7, 2011

Gerrymandering in the 23rd Congressional District

As I previously blogged, the Republicans in Austin have gerrymandered the 23rd congressional District such that, whereas a majority of the district voters in 2008 voted for President Obama, a majority of the voters in the reconfigured district voted for John McCain in 2008.  That suggests that the district’s Republican congressman, Quico Canseco, will be able to hold on to his seat in 2012 if he can hold on to all of the John McCain voters.  That shouldn’t be difficult because, in hindsight, McCain was not a strong candidate, while Obama was.

You might recall that in my campaign, I complained that Quico was running for Congress in the 23rd District even though he lived in the 21st District of Lamar Smith.  More significantly, Quico had lived most of his life in another district in Laredo.  He was a classic carpetbagger.

Well, as a typical political insider, Quico has taken maximum advantage of gerrymandering.  According to a map of the most recent redistricting, Quico has not only annexed additional conservative McCain voters, but also annexed the gated development that he lives in.  District 23 now contains a narrow strip of territory – the Canseco corridor – that drops from Loop 1604 for a mile or so down Vance Jackson Road until it reaches the Canseco abode near Wurzbach.  It is a classic corridor to nowhere.

I think gerrymandering is an ugly American tradition to achieve partisan political advantage.  I think gerrymandering a narrow corridor in your district so that your house can be included is an example of narcissism that people see too often in politicians.  A recent poll of Texans revealed their opposition to political gerrymandering, but it is not a big enough issue to force politicians to do the right thing.

To make matters worse for me personally, the boundary for District 23 bulges away from me on three sides so that I now find myself in Charlie Gonzalez’s 20th District, one of the most liberal in the state.

I can only hope that the courts revise the boundary, but the court’s focus will not be on cynical, stupid aspects of the boundaries, but rather on violations of the Voting Rights Act.

If you want to know what congressional district you will be in, go to the Texas Legislative Council website, select Plan C141, and then click the “find” tab and enter your address.