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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Austin could gain a congressional district under a newly proposed map, which adds one Central Texas seat and another in the Houston area.

Why it matters: Political clout hangs in the balance in a closely divided Congress.

  • The draft is part of the redistricting process, the redrawing of political boundaries every 10 years to account for population growth.
  • Both parties try to snag additional seats that can give them the advantage in future elections. But Republicans already control the levers of power in Texas, making it easier for them to dominate the process.

The state's current congressional map is made up of 23 Republicans and 13 Democrats.

  • The new draft, drawn by Republicans, would create 25 districts that voted for former President Trump in 2020 and 13 that voted for now-President Biden, according to the Texas Tribune.

Critics argue that the map would dilute minority voices, despite the state's increasingly diverse population.

  • The proposed plan would reduce the number of districts with Black and Hispanic majorities, the Tribune reported.

"Fearing voters, Republicans once again engage in extreme gerrymandering to carve up neighborhoods and communities of interest in Travis, Hays and Bexar Counties — aiming to dilute strong voices," U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, (D-Austin), said in a statement Monday.

The big picture: Sixteen of the country's 20 fastest-growing metro areas voted for Biden in 2020, according to Brookings Institution demographer William Frey, but GOP control in many of those areas could make it tricky for Democrats to preserve their House majority.

  • Gerrymandering in New York and Illinois may be Democrats' only shot at maintaining power in the House, thanks to Republican control in states like Texas, Florida and Georgia.

What's next: State lawmakers are currently meeting over redistricting in a special session that can last up to 30 days. The drafts are likely to go through changes before landing on Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's desk for his signature.

Go deeper

Republicans who put it all on the line

Rep. Nancy Mace speaks with reporters after voting to hold Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

A small contingent of House Republicans risked their political futures on Thursday, they say, in the name of constitutional responsibility.

Why it matters: The nine Republicans who voted to hold former Trump aide Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress are now in peril of becoming political pariahs. They've opened themselves up to potential primary challengers and public attacks from their party's kingmaker — former President Trump.

House votes to hold Bannon in contempt of Congress

Steve Bannon. Photo: Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

The House of Representatives voted 229-202 on Thursday to hold former Trump strategist Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with a subpoena from the Jan. 6 select committee.

Why it matters: The Justice Department will now consider bringing criminal charges against Bannon, marking a significant escalation in the Jan. 6 committee's efforts to enforce subpoenas against Trump allies who refuse to cooperate.

What to know before heading to the polls in Austin

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Early voting for the Nov. 2 election is here, and Austin voters will weigh in on two local propositions, in addition to eight Texas constitutional amendments.

State of play: So far, turnout has been low. Just 2.25% of Travis County voters headed to polls or voted by mail during the first three days of early voting, according to the Travis County clerk's office.

Yes, but: That's not unusual for an election in which no major political offices are on the ballot.

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