It was the one question in two debates that drew a knowing laughter before a single word had been uttered. "Congressman Stenholm," asked the panelist, "how do you feel about the fact that the whole reason we're here tonight is because of redistricting," he said. The crowd laughed, the candidates smile.
Oh, redistricting. An issue with more dirt than a mudslinging campaign ad. "How do I feel about redistricting?" asked Stenholm. "I'm just like 95% of the public when they held hearings here in Lubbock and San Angelo. People say don't do it. But the powers that be did it anyway," he said. "I don't think any of us were planning on redistricting but the fact is that it happened," added Neugebauer.
|Decision 2004 Election Coverage|
On Monday, something else happened. The nation's highest court told Texas to take another look at redistricting. For the candidates the order couldn't have come at a worse time. The first day of early voting and the Supreme court tells Texas to take another look at the map that put Stenholm against Neugebauer in the first place. "We want to emphasize that we want people to come out and vote," said Stenholm Campaign Director Jody Zweifler.
That's the word from camp Stenholm, which might as well have come from camp Neugebauer. A shared sentiment of vote for the here and now. Redistricting, if any, is down the road.
As for voters? "I think it should be primarily put back the way it was, or at least to the extent that we don't lose one voice in West Texas," said voter Foster Cummings.
|History Of Recent Redistricting In Texas|