If Texas can still hold an April primary, now is when the state likely finds out. A federal court in San Antonio that has spent months refereeing a clash over bitterly disputed Texas voting maps reconvenes again Tuesday, and Republicans and Democrats are hoping to learn when the state’s primary elections will finally take place. April 3 is the currently scheduled date, but that no longer seems realistic since not even temporary maps for the 2012 elections in Texas are settled. Another weekend of court-ordered negotiations between the state and minority rights groups, meanwhile, ended with little to show for it.
The stalemate doesn’t yet spell doom for the chances of Texas holding primary elections sometime in April. But the continued deadlock further dampens prospects of a deal, which a three-judge panel in San Antonio favors over drawing the maps themselves.
At stake is the political balance of power in both Texas and Congress. Texas was awarded four new congressional seats following the 2010 census, and whether they go Democrat or Republican could affect the balance of power in the U.S. House. The 2010 census shows that the population boom in Texas was driven by nearly 3 million new Hispanic residents over the last decade, but minority groups and Democrats say those numbers weren’t reflected in how the Legislature redrew districts statewide.