New Congressional Redistricting Map Proposed, Affects Local Districts

Some East Texas congressmen could be traveling through new land if Republicans get their way. A new proposed map of congressional districts was unveiled in Austin and would radically change the district lines to more GOP-friendly turf.

It not just another map they were waiting for at the State Capitol Tuesday night. But new district lines that could mean new congressmen for millions of Texans. Democrats don't like it, but Republicans feel they deserve more seats in congress. This came up in the regular session, causing 51 Democrats to bolt to Oklahoma.

But Democrat Max Sandlin's District 1 would essentially be renamed District 2, and he's not that upset.

"This map keeps most of my District intact, and I feel that I can win by a fairly large margin in the proposed district," Sandlin says.

In the west, Republican Jeb Hensarling's District 5 would gain more East Texas land, including Van Zandt and Cherokee county. And Democrat Ralph Hall's District 4 would go from a thin winding stretch of land to a block of Northeast Texas.

Wednesday, Hall gave his opinion -- that's it's just politics.

"I have no critcism of [U.S. House Republican Leader] Tom DeLay who wants more Republicans because that's his business and it's a tactic. I have no criticism of who crossed that Red River to break a quorum. That's a tactic. That's not illegal," Hall said.

Meanwhile, the Republican map proposed last night is just in the early stages of discussion.

"I have absolutely no confidence that this will be the final map it's simply a 'stalking horse,'" Sandlin says.

If so, it has some folks very angry, and the wrangling will likely continue as the special session gets underway.

Congressman Ralph Hall has previously said he did not want to run again, but has been getting pressure from supporters to seek another term. His home is in Rockwall and would still be in his district under the new proposal.

Reported by Morgan Palmer