Congressman Charlie Stenholm does not want a new pair of boots. "Well, my boots have my district on them. I've found it's much easier to show people the 17th District than to tell them," he said. But if the Republicans have their way, Stenholm's boots will be obsolete.
Their redistricting efforts that drove representatives fleeing to Oklahoma, have sent senators running to New Mexico, and if successful, would pit Stenholm against Neugebauer. "I wouldn't look forward to running against him, and I'm sure he wouldn't want to run against me, because one of us has got to lose," he said.
A fellow Democrat, Stenholm views the cut and run political strategy as admirable. "What they're doing is standing for a principal that's important," he said. But are they hard at work making a noble stand across state lines, or are they personifying the image of a stubborn donkey? Their tactics have drawn national attention, and brought the legislature to a screeching halt, but they haven't been employed to protest issues of deficit, or education, or health care, but rather politicians simply trying to save their jobs.
"Stop fooling around!," said Joanne Slote. At the South Plains Mall the issue of redistricting was either shrugged off or met with irritation. "I really don't care what they do," said Dwight Hendrick. "I vote for the person not the party," said Slote. "I think it'll end up hurting the Democrats," said Aaron Wilson.
Meanwhile, Rep. Charlie Stenholm is showing off his boots before the go out of style. "I haven't had a new pair made yet because I'm waiting to see what my district will look like," he smiled.