The chances of Texas voters having much influence in the Republican presidential race faded Tuesday after a panel of federal judges acknowledged that the state’s deep divisions over political maps had made it nearly impossible to preserve an April primary. Texas was originally scheduled to be a part of next month’s slate of Super Tuesday primaries, but the redistricting clash forced the state to reschedule its contest to April 3. With that date now all but dead, too, elections workers who squeezed into a packed San Antonio courtroom Tuesday advocated a new date of May 22, which could be long after Republicans settle on a nominee to face President Barack Obama.
One judge questioned whether the election shouldn’t be pushedinto the summer, and another spoke as if he was losing patience with astalemate that has kept the state’s election calendar in limbo. Despite court-ordered negotiations, the Texas attorney general and minority rights groups suing the state have been unable to compromise for weeks on temporary voting maps for the 2012 elections. On some maps, only one disputed district stands in the way of a deal.
Pointing a finger at the table of minority rights lawyers, U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia sternly ordered both sides to return to court Wednesday with at least an agreement on the state Senate boundaries. “The Senate — get it done,” Garcia said. The hearing was then abruptly adjourned.