Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Redistricting Musical Chairs

Every ten years, the whole country plays a game of musical chairs called redistricting. Congressmen, state senators and representatives, county commissioners, even city council members have to play the game. Depending on where the new lines are drawn, your future as an elected official could be enhanced or jeopardized.

State Representatives Angie Chen Button and Stefani Carter, State Senator John Carona, and Congressman Pete Sessions all look like they'll be able to hold their seats as long as they want because their redistricting is in friendly hands. Ambition might lead Carter to give up her seat sometime in the future when opportunity presents itself. Chen Button is more likely to stay put. Carona was once rumored to be interested in running for Dallas Mayor, but that obviously didn't happen. Sessions looks comfortable in Congress and has no other prospects on the horizon (with the possible exception of Vegas casino greeter, but that's down the road a bit).

There does appear to be one musical chair newly available, which caused one Dallas County Commissioner Tuesday to flip out. After the jump, how the game is played in the Dallas County Commissioners Court.

Tuesday, a Dallas County Commissioner lost all self control (and no, it wasn't John Wiley Price) when she discovered that her own district was being redrawn. Maurine Dickey flipped out despite the fact that she already announced she isn't going to be running again for the seat. Presumably, she was upset that the Democrats, newly holding a majority on the Commissioners Court, were drawing a new map that might result in one of the two previously safe Republican seats ending up in Democratic hands. That's the way redistricting goes.

With the map revealed Tuesday, Richardson ends up mostly in the safely Republican District 1, presumably represented by Republican incumbent Mike Cantrell, but some southern parts of Richardson end up in a more competitive District 2. That could have a ripple effect on the aspirations for higher office of some Richardson politicians. There are at least a couple of Richardson City Council members who have at times been rumored to be ready to jump at a good opportunity. Under normal circumstances, lame duck Maurine Dickey's seat would have provided one such opportunity. But with the way the game played out Tuesday in the County Commissioners Court, all bets are off. Any Richardson City Council members who might have been eyeing Dickey's seat on the Commissioners Court might be rethinking their options today.

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