Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Redistricting skirmishes continue... among the GOP *updates*

Even as the judges ordered the parties in the Texas redistricting lawsuit to make a deal -- demanding they work late on Valentine's Day, for Jeebus' sake -- the Republicans continued feuding among themselves.

Jared Woodfill, chairman of the Harris County Republican Party, has stirred up a squabble around the GOP dinner table with an e-mail he sent out Saturday that, in essence, gigged Attorney General Greg Abbott and state party chairman Steve Munisteri for being wimpy about redistricting. (“Wimpy” is [Houston Chronicle reporter Joe Holley's] word, not Woodfill’s, who in a couple of conversations [Holley] had with him emphasized that he was trying to be polite, despite his consternation.)

What got Woodfill going was Munisteri’s willingness to go along with a map Abbott produced that would cost Harris County Republicans two seats in the state House. “Local Republicans feel like we’re being sold out,” Woodfill told me.

His Saturday e-mail — “a respectful e-mail,” he called it — urged Harris County Republicans to contact Munisteri and Abbott to register their objections to the map. “Unfortunately, my reasonable request has been met with finger-pointing, reassigning blame and simply passing the buck,” he wrote in a subsequent e-mail Monday morning.

By Monday afternoon, things had gotten testier. “This thing has blown up into a war,” he said over the phone.

A 'war'. Casualties include paper cuts and carpal tunnel injuries.

What flaming douchenozzles these people are.

We’ve worked to long and too hard for this to happen,” said Woodfill, who also said he had received hundreds of e-mails in support of his no-surrender stance. Paul Betancourt, Dr. Steven Hotze, Allen Blakemore and other conservative stalwarts were urging him on, he said.

“Any map which costs Harris County Republicans at least two seats is unacceptable,” Woodfill repeated. “Let’s continue the fight and let the San Antonio three-judge panel do what they will. If they refuse to accept the Supreme Court mandate, then we will appeal again. However, if we accept a compromised deal with the wild-eyed left, then we lose our right to appeal. Remember, we will have to live with these lines for the next 10 years, so we must get them right now. Then we can be about the business of defeating the Democrats in November.”

Ah, the real enemy is exposed. Exterminate the vermin using as much poison as you can pour on it. Grab your sprayers and charge into battle against the liberal pestilence with all the intensity and overblown rhetoric -- and success -- of Tom DeLay Pest Control, Inc.

That is, as soon as you can stop washing each other in your respective toxins.

Back in the real world, Michael Li summarizes where we are after yesterday.

-- A primary in April is history. There's no time left to pull it off. I reached this conclusion two weeks ago; it's nice to see everyone else catching up.

-- So is a split primary. (Texas is of course broke, so there's no money to pay for multiple elections.)

-- The primary may not be held until May 29 ... or June 26. (See Update II below.) Quoting Li:

Although a May 29 primary appeared to be the most likely fallback date, Judge Rodriguez suggested during the questioning that a June 26 primary would allow the court to wait for a ruling from the D.C. court. (A position supported by Congressman Joe Barton and several of the redistricting plaintiffs.)

-- State party conventions will proceed as scheduled on the second week of June -- because to move them would forfeit deposits in the hundreds of thousands of dollars for convention space and the blocs of hotel rooms reserved by the two political parties for convention-goers. Precinct conventions, usually held on the evening of the primary election, may now be held at the Senate District conventions ... which themselves may wind up at the state conventions.

There's another hearing with the litigants before the judges today. There may be some agreement that comes out of it -- since all they're arguing over is a few districts -- or there may not.

At this point, almost nobody who isn't a politico really cares. And see, that's the problem.

Update (1:30 p.m.):

Groups involved in the redistricting battle reached a deal Tuesday with Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott for a compromise state Senate map for the 2012 election.

However, little progress appears to have been made toward reaching a deal on maps for the Texas House or congressional seats, as the second day of a key redistricting hearing continues.

The compromise settles the dispute over how the state redrew Democratic state Sen. Wendy Davis' Fort Worth district, returning the county to the shape it had before the whole redistricting process began, said Matt Angle, an longtime Democratic strategist and adviser to Davis in her redistricting suit.

Update II (2:00 p.m.):

First it was in March, then it was in April, and now Texas' primary elections have been delayed until at least May 29 as the state's redistricting battle rages on, a San Antonio court ordered Wednesday.

The ruling came after two days of hearings at which a deal was reached for a compromise Texas Senate map; however, the groups suing the state and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott have not been able to reach a similar deal for the Texas House or congressional seats.

“It appears based on all the things that are going on here that it is extremely unlikely there will be a primary in April or for that matter before May 29,” said Judge Jerry Smith.

“Based on the discussion we just had with the political parties, we asked that they start working on an election schedule.”

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