Once every ten years, after each U.S. Census, state and local governments redraw electoral maps based on population changes. During this process, political parties often engage in gerrymandering, which is the act of manipulating representation boundaries and constituencies in order to benefit a political party or class. At the state level, Republicans recently created new electoral maps to help Republicans retain and expand their political influence. On October 28, 2021, at the local level, the Democrats on Harris County Commissioners Court did the same thing (what's good for the goose is good for the gander). In short, the Democrats redrew the Harris County Precinct 4 map (currently represented by Republican Jack Cagle) to make it a predominately democratic precinct. This new map will significantly improve the chances of a Democrat winning election in Precinct 4 next year. Based on just demographics, the Democratic plan looks good. Still, the quality of Democratic candidates will be critical to success. Republican Commissioner Jack Cagle is an intelligent, common-sense official who has represented Harris County residents honorably for 21 years, first as a judge, then as a county commissioner. In 2022, he will be a worthy, well-financed, well-qualified candidate for elected office. If we hope to defeat Commissioner Cagle next year, Democrats will need to nominate a well-qualified, moderate candidate who will be able to attract support from centralist, mainstream county voters. If Democrats nominate a leftist, progressive candidate, I believe we will be defeated.
Of course, all of the above assumes Commissioner Cagle runs for re-election in Precinct 4. Given that the new Precinct 4 electoral map has been gerrymandered to now lean democratic, Commissioner Cagle could decide to run for a different elected office, such as Harris County Judge. Frankly, I am concerned County Judge Lina Hidalgo could be vulnerable next year due to the appearance of corruption (e.g. Elevate Strategies contract), her lack of support in the law enforcement community, and her divisive management style. In my opinion, Judge Hidalgo really needs to spend the next 12 months reaching out to all Harris County voters, not just our left-wing, progressive, activist base.
For the media reports and related information, along with the new electoral map adopted by Commissioners Court, please see below:
UPDATE 11/17/21: Republican Commissioners Ramsey and Cagle filed a lawsuit against County Judge Hidalgo over the new county precinct maps. I seriously doubt this lawsuit will change anything, so I guess they filed it just to help rile up the Republican base. For more information on this story, please click on the links below:
UPDATE 12/22/21: Precinct 4 Commissioner Jack Cagle (R) has filed for re-election. Also, the Republican lawsuit mentioned above has already been dismissed. The Republicans advised they intend to appeal, but I doubt anything will change. For more, please click on the link below:
UPDATE 1/9/22: Former Republican Harris County Commissioner Steve Radack also recently filed a lawsuit concerning the new redistricting maps - see link below for the details.
FOR MORE POSTS, please routinely check HarrisCountyDemocrats.com.