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Data: Texas Capitol Data Portal; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

Texas Republicans propose adding seats in Austin and Houston — but no majority-Hispanic districts — in new congressional district maps released Monday.

Why it matters: Texas is a rapidly growing, diversifying and politically changing state. Census results mean it will get two additional House seats. While its changing demographics don't bode well for Republicans long term, they control how district lines are drawn for now.

The takeaways: The two new seats proposed for Austin and Houston would favor a Democrat and Republican, respectively.

  • Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-Texas), a moderate, border Democrat, already faced a tough re-election fight last year — and could be on the chopping block under the proposed maps.
  • His district will turn red.
  • The map would likely result in 25 Republican House seats, while maintaining 13 Democratic seats, according to the Cook Political Report's Dave Wasserman.

What to watch: "Texas is now a Hispanic-plurality state, and this map doesn’t include any additional Hispanic-majority districts," Abhi Rahman, a Texas Democratic strategist, told Axios.

  • He labeled the maps "terrible," and their lines could be cause for litigation.
  • The National Democratic Redistricting Committee also complained.
  • “The congressional map confirms what we knew Texas Republicans would do: decrease the number of competitive seats, ignore the growth and influence of communities of color and gerrymander for power," said President Kelly Ward Burton.

At least nine Republicans would get a big boost from the proposed maps.

  • They include Reps. Dan Crenshaw, Michael McCaul, Van Taylor and Jake Ellzey, according to Wasserman.
  • Democratic Reps. Lizzie Fletcher and Rep. Colin Allred would also benefit, with their blue, city districts remaining extra-safe Democratic territory.

Go deeper

U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett poised to run in proposed Austin district

The proposed map for Texas' congressional districts. Courtesy: Texas Legislative Council

U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, a longtime Democratic congressman from Austin, indicated to Axios that he plans to announce his run for a seat in a newly proposed congressional district in Austin.

Why it matters: The recently crafted district, part of the redrawing of political boundaries every 10 years to account for population growth, is expected to be a safe Democratic seat that will include parts of Travis and Williamson counties.

  • It's also seen as a natural fit for Doggett, who spent his tenure as a political survivor in gerrymandered districts that have stretched to South Texas.
  • The creation of the Austin congressional seat is part of an effort by Texas Republican lawmakers to protect GOP incumbents across the state and win back political power in Washington.

What he's saying: "For years, I had the good fortune to represent all of Austin, the only city I have ever called home," Doggett told Axios. "After then being switched across Texas to Rio Grande City, LaGrange and San Antonio, Republicans have now created District 37, which for now reunites many of the Austin neighborhoods I was first elected to represent."

  • "Though designed for the wrong reasons and refusing to acknowledge that 95% of the growth in Texas has been from people of color, this new gerrymander seems to at least mean that most Travis County residents will no longer be forced into districts of Trump-supporting Congress members," he continued.

"I will be asking neighbors to permit my continued service in Washington as a voice for our shared values."

State of play: Doggett has built deep loyalties and a wide network in his decades in office. Ahead of his announcement, other possible candidates included:

Wendy Davis, the former Democratic state senator who drew national headlines for her 13-hour filibuster over a restrictive abortion measure.

  • She's sought higher office before, facing a bruising defeat in her 2014 gubernatorial bid against now-Gov. Greg Abbott. U.S. Rep. Chip Roy (R) narrowly defeated Davis in 2020 for a seat representing a slice of Austin and the Hill Country.
  • Davis, who lives in Austin, has punted questions about a possible run, saying instead she has "serious legal concerns" with the map: "Discussions around who may or may not run for election and in which districts is not the right conversation to have at this time."
    • A spokesman for Davis declined to comment further.

State Rep. Gina Hinojosa, an Austin Democrat, was also seen as a possible contender for the new seat.

  • Her state House district fits squarely in the new 37th Congressional District, and she drew national attention when she joined Democrats in fleeing the state earlier this year to break quorum over a sweeping GOP-led voting bill.
  • Hinojosa previously said it's not the time to discuss possible candidates for the district. She maintained that position Friday, telling Axios she's "trying to protect the voting interests of Travis County" and "will make a decision about next steps once maps are voted out."

What's next: In what amounts to a field-clearing move, Doggett isn't waiting for the congressional map to be finalized.

  • Doggett said he will make his decision about where to run publicly on Monday outside Bryker Woods Elementary, the same location as his original announcement for Congress. He was first elected to Congress in 1994.

Names floated for Doggett's old district include:

  • Austin City Council Member Greg Casar
  • State Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, a San Antonio Democrat
  • Julián Castro, former mayor of San Antonio and Obama-era Secretary of Housing and Urban Development

Yes, but: While Castro's name recognition and cash-raising prowess would make him a favorite for the seat, the job may not best position him for a statewide run in 2024 against Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz. A spokesman for Castro did not return Axios' request for comment.

Our thought bubble: Even as Austin finally gets its own Democrat in Congress, it comes at the cost of communities of color across the state getting sliced and diced. Republicans did not add a new Hispanic-majority district in Texas, despite the group driving much of the state's population growth.

RNC woos Texas Latinos

A pro-Trump protester in Austin, Texas, after Joe Biden's victory. Photo: Sergio Flores/AFP via Getty Images

The Republican National Committee is working to court more conservative Hispanic voters in south Texas, even as the state's GOP majority uses redistricting to blunt demographic changes that should be empowering Hispanic representation and helping Democrats.

Driving the news: The RNC is opening a Hispanic community center in San Antonio on Monday. It's the third such outreach center the party has opened in south Texas this year.

Redistricting's potential impact on Nashville

A map showing the Nashville planning department's first draft of council redistricting. Image courtesy of Nashville planning department

Nashville's first draft for a new Metro Council district map ricocheted through the city over the weekend.

Why it matters: The draft, driven by population shifts in the 2020 census, showed Antioch and southeast Nashville growing as a power center. An additional district could be moved there as the population continues to surge, meaning another position to represent the area on the council.