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Texas lawmaker sues Gov. Abbott over new District 35 lines, citing racial discrimination

State Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer.jpg
Office of State Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer
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Democratic State Representative Trey Martinez Fischer speaks on the floor of the Texas House

Texas State Representative Trey Martinez Fischer has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court challenging the newly drawn district lines for Congressional District 35.

The district runs from Austin to San Antonio along the I-35 corridor and has historically been a minority opportunity district for Latinos.

The lawsuit alleges that the newly drawn maps signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott violate Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act and discriminate against Latino voters.

Martinez Fischer's state house district represents west San Antonio, which was drawn out of the new congressional district. The new district lines drew in parts of north Austin and Pflugerville.

Lloyd Doggett served as District 35's representative under its current lines since 2013, and for District 25 before that. He recently announced he will now run in the District 37 race instead.

Former San Antonio councilwoman Rebecca Viagran and current Austin councilman Greg Casar have both announced their candidacies for D-35's democratic primary.

"Hispanics were taken out of San Antonio and non-Hispanics were added in Austin," Martinez Fischer said.

The lawsuit joins others, including the federal Department of Justice suit against the state for Section 2 violations in both the congressional and state House maps.

“The nature of redistricting is creating winners and losers. District lines change, incumbents gain new constituents, and communities are divided. This is inevitable. What should not be inevitable is the intentional discrimination against Latino, Black and AAPI voters that we have come to expect from Texas Republicans in redistricting," Martinez Fischer said in a press release.

He said the redistricting is a direct violation of Section 2 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

“Redistricting is a political process, but it impacts the people who live in our community personally. Our representation in Congress determines not only the resources we receive, but also how quickly our needs are addressed and how they are prioritized. By denying Latinos in CD-35 the opportunity to elect a candidate of their choice, Texas has shortchanged our community of the representation it deserves and has willfully committed a Section 2 violation," he said in the press release.

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Brian Kirkpatrick can be reached at brian@tpr.org and on Twitter at @TPRBrian