Every ten years, a combination of requirements in both the U.S. and Texas Constitutions require governing bodies within the state to redraw maps from which representatives will be elected from for the next ten years due to changes in population.
While local political subdivisions of the state, such as cities and counties are still working to finalize local maps, the Texas Legislature adjourned “sine die” late Monday, ending the third special session after passing all the maps the legislature is tasked with drawing.
These maps include districts for the Texas House of Representatives and the Texas Senate – with each chamber writing its own maps.
Jointly, however, both chambers designed maps for the state’s delegation to the United States House of Representatives, and the State Board of Education (SBOE).
Unless the legality of the maps is successfully challenged in court, they will remain in place and unchanged for the next decade, and candidates will begin filing to run in the 2022 party primary elections for the new districts, with the filing period set to open in mid-November.
But what impact will these boundary changes have on West Texas representation in Midland and Odessa?
Odessa Headlines looks at each new district and gives a breakdown of what the new maps look like going into the 2022 mid-term elections.
Texas House of Representatives
House District 81 (HD-81), currently represented by Odessa Republican Brooks Landgraf, will see some major changes in county composition, due to population increases in both Ector and Andrews County, the legislature opted to remove Andrews from the district, drafting the county into HD-88, which is a panhandle-oriented district. Going forward, HD-81 will continue to have all of Ector, Winkler, and Ward counties, as well as the new addition of Loving County.
House District 82 (HD-82), currently represented by Midland Republican Tom Craddick will also see some major changes with the loss of two counties due to population growth. The old district, which was comprised of Dawson, Martin, Midland, Crane, and Upton, will change by seeing the loss of Crane and Upton counties, which are being drafted into a hill country-oriented district 53.
U.S. Census data indicates that the ideal size of each house district will now be 194,303 in population.
Both Midland and Odessa will continue to share the same representation in the Texas Senate, however, the already geographically massive senate district is going to grow even more, particularly on the southern end of the district.
Senate District 31 (SD-31), which is presently represented by Amarillo Republican Kel Seliger, is seeing significant growth and alteration based around the existing framework of the district, which has held Odessa, Midland, and Amarillo as its primary cities.
The northern end of the district will see the loss of several counties in the southwestern end of the Texas Panhandle, whereas the southern end, closer to Midland/Odessa, will see the addition of a bunch of new counties, most being exchanged from SD-28.
Counties being inducted into the new SD-31 include Dawson, Borden, Coke, Sterling, Ward, Crane, Upton, Reagan, Irion, and Schleicher.
According to the U.S. Census data, ideal population sizes for Texas Senate districts is now 940,178.
United States House of Representatives
Both Midland and Odessa will continue to share the same representative in congress, being a part of congressional district 11 (CD11). However, the district overall has undergone some significant territory loss.
Presently represented by San Angelo native Republican August Pfluger, CD11 is seeing the loss of numerous counties on the north and eastern edges of the district.
Included in the losses are Andrews, Martin, Mitchell, Callahan, Eastland, Pala Pinto, Hood, and Commanche counties.
However, the district will make two notable pick-ups in the addition of Lampasas, and a small portion of Bell County.
According to the U.S. Census data, the ideal population size for each new congressional district in Texas will be 766,987.
Texas State Board of Education
West Texas is seeing a major shakeup with how members of the State Board of Education (SBOE) will be elected.
Midland and Odessa were separated under the now former map, with Midland being drawn into a panhandle-oriented district, and Ector County (Odessa) being drawn into an El Paso/Border-oriented district – but that is no longer the case.
Midland and Odessa will now share representation in the new SBOE District 15, which, while difficult to describe due to the vast region, is a large swath of West Texas that spans into the entire Texas Panhandle.
Part of the reason SBOE districts in West Texas have been drawn to encompass such a vast region is that the census data places the ideal population size per district at 1,943,034, and for mostly rural West Texas, it takes a lot of space before that population requirement can be achieved.
In addition to these maps, Odessa Headlines will be reporting on any changes the legislature made to state appellate court districts, as well as local government boundary maps within Ector County as soon as they become available.