Texas Republicans stand to gain at least one seat in the state Senate under the initial draft of redistricting plans.
If approved as is, the Republican majority in the 31-seat chamber would increase from 18 to 19. The House has yet to submit its maps.
Meanwhile, state lawmakers also are trying to fit in two extra congressional districts gained in the 2020 Census.
“When you're dealing with Texas House seats, the maps you ultimately draw will be the entirety of the Texas House,” says Texas GOP Chair Matt Rinaldi. “When you're talking about the Texas delegation in the U.S. Congress, it's one-tenth of the piece of the puzzle.”
Whatever the final map looks like, Rinaldi is expecting numerous legal challenges from the left.
“If you gerrymander to keep communities of interest together, they'll say you're either racially gerrymandering or your required to racially gerrymander. You're going to have litigation no matter what you do.”
Rinaldi warns you can't go too far one way or another, because it could backfire later at the ballot box.
“It's always a balancing process,” he says. “If we drew 104 districts that were Republican in the Texas House like we could have 10 years ago, we probably would have lost the Texas House.”