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Between the Lines: Texas Freshmen Freaked About Perry Power

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GOP House Members want Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) to take up Congressional redistricting in a still-to-be-announced special session.

Texas GOP House Members are publicly pushing Gov. Rick Perry (R) to take up Congressional redistricting in a still-to-be-announced special session, lest a three-judge panel determine their fate.

It’s a tall order for Perry, who has a notoriously tense relationship with the Lone Star State’s Congressional delegation. But if a new Congressional map has not passed the state Legislature by Monday at midnight, which is very likely at this point, Texas House Members will be stuck having the courts draw the new boundaries unless Perry takes up the map.

“We’re all just on pins and needles,” Rep. Francisco “Quico” Canseco (R) told Roll Call. “I don’t know what’s going to happen or where we’re going to go. We may be thrown into the courts, or maybe the governor will call a special session to do it. I don’t know, and I wish I did.”

Canseco is one of three freshman Republicans in Texas who won Democratic seats and whose district would be at risk if the judges draw the map. Even though Texas will gain four new House seats, if the courts wind up doing the new lines, it’s anybody’s guess whether he’ll have a winnable district in 2012.

“I’d much rather see a Texas Legislature resolve it than the court system. But I’ll be happy to run in whatever they draw for me,” said fellow freshman Rep. Blake Farenthold. “I have confidence that if we can’t get the procedural votes in the Texas Legislature to suspend the rules, Gov. Perry will do the right thing and call a special session and let the Legislature draw it.”

More senior members of the delegation are also pinning their hopes on a special session, including National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Pete Sessions, who said through a spokeswoman that he “is confident that any outstanding issues can be resolved thoughtfully in a special session.”

But while drawing up a new map during special session is the better option, it’s still just the lesser of two evils for the delegation.

If state lawmakers pass a map during special session, Perry will ultimately have control over it — and it’s likely the delegation won’t love the result. There’s still bad blood between Perry and the Texas delegation, which largely supported Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison’s (R) bid against the governor in 2010.

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