Friday, October 31st, 2014

Austin biggest U.S. city with no ‘anchor’ in Congress

Austin U.S. House districts under the plan imposed for 2012 elections.
Austin U.S. House districts under the plan imposed for 2012 elections.

Two Travis County Democrats recently discussed an Austin political oddity in the state House chamber.

From the House floor’s back mic on June 20, 2013, Rep. Elliott Naishtat asked fellow Austin Rep. Eddie Rodriguez: "Did you know that Austin is the only major Texas city and the largest city in America without a congressional district anchored in it?"

Rodriguez replied from the front of the chamber: "Sadly, I am aware of that fact. Austin is now the 11th largest city in America and yet we don’t have a congressional district that’s based here, anchored here in Austin."

Six U.S. House districts take in at least a portion of the city under the interim plan imposed for the 2012 elections by a panel of federal judges.

We gathered two definitions of "anchor district" for a city -- a district contained entirely within the city or a district in which the city’s residents are the majority.

Then we checked on the nation’s Top Ten big cities. (Austin jumped up to No. 11 in May 2013 estimates.) Read on to see what we found.

Austin’s interim court-approved congressional districts

  • District 10 (Michael McCaul, Republican) -- 27 percent Austinites

  • District 17 (Bill Flores, Republican) -- Less than 10 percent Austinites

  • District 21 (Lamar Smith, Republican) -- 25 percent Austinites

  • District 25 (Roger Williams, Republican) -- 22 percent Austinites

  • District 31 (John Carter, Republican) -- Less than 10 percent Austinites
  • District 35 (Lloyd Doggett, Democrat) -- 27 percent Austinites