Political expert: Will Hurd "very possibly" a one-term congressman

Latest redistricting challenge could be upheld

SAN ANTONIO – Newly-elected Congressman Will Hurd "very possibly" may serve only one term if the latest redistricting challenge is upheld on appeal all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, said Dr. Henry Flores, a noted political scientist and dean of the St. Mary's University graduate school.

Flores said the Texas Legislature has redrawn the 23rd Congressional District five times over the last 30 years.

He served as an expert witness in four cases challenging redistricting efforts that he said were meant to dilute the Latino vote.

"A little line switch here or there could move the entire district from one party to another," Flores said.

He said the district repeatedly has changed, "Republican, Democrat, Republican, Democrat, Republican."

Flores said if the court challenge heard in San Antonio this year is upheld, the district could be re-drawn yet again.

If so, Flores said that could mean Hurd may serve only one term.

Hurd defeated Democratic freshman Congressman Pete Gallego on Election Day, becoming the latest in a long line of candidates to defeat an incumbent in the 23rd Congressional District.

In speaking to supporters, Gallego said it had been a tough race because, "The Legislature deliberately looked for pockets of Latinos that had a high incidence of turnout, then drew them out of the district."

Flores said Hurd's victory only proves what previous court challenges have said.

"In fact, if this district stays the way it is, Latinos will be out of the game in future elections," Flores said.

However, Hurd said, "I think this is a victory for Latinos because they're going to have someone in the seat going to Washington D.C. to fight for them."

The newly-elected congressman said, "The reason we were successful was not because of the lines that were drawn. It's because we worked hard and we took our message to everyone in the district."