By CHRIS TOMLINSON | Associated Press
DALLAS (AP) - Texans will send four new representatives to Congress on Tuesday, the result of adding 4.3 million residents to the state between 2000 and 2010. Republicans will continue to dominate the Texas delegation in Washington.
Out of 36 seats, Republicans likely will keep at least 23. Republicans won 22 out of 32 seats in 2010, but Democrats hope to switch at least one seat from red to blue in their bid to diminish Republican control of the House of Representatives.
The only truly competitive congressional race pits incumbent Republican Quico Canseco against state Rep. Pete Gallego in the 23rd district, which sprawls along the border from San Antonio to nearly El Paso. Former Democratic Congressman Nick Lampson is in a tight race against state Sen. Randy Weber to replace the retiring Ron Paul. Democrat Rose Meza Harrison also launched a long-shot bid to oust incumbent U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold in Corpus Christi's 27th district.
All of those races were too close to call an hour after the polls closed.
Paul's retirement and the redrawing of the 14th district opened up an opportunity for Lampson, who had represented that area twice before. Debbie Studebaker, a 53-year-old homemaker from League City, said she voted the straight Republican ticket, but considered switching over to cast a ballot for the Democrat "just because of the novelty of Ron Paul being gone but I decided to vote straight ticket last week."
A U.S. federal court drew the maps for the congressional districts this election cycle after determining that the Legislature's maps unconstitutionally discriminated against minorities. Minorities made up about 89 percent of the population growth in Texas, and the judges wanted to make sure those voters had the chance to elect a candidate of their choice.
Out of the four new districts, two are minority-dominated, with one stretching across central Forth Worth and Dallas. The other is centered on Brownsville on the Mexican border. The judges also created a new district in Southeast Texas and substantially redrew a Central Texas district, both of which will easily elect a white Republican.