The reddest part of this red state is the Panhandle, where legislative and congressional districts are politically uninhabitable for Democratic candidates.
The most conservative districts in the state — going by the Texas Weekly Index, which is based on the results of contested statewide elections over the 2010 and 2012 political cycles — are all in the Panhandle. The occupants of the top three are U.S. Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Clarendon; Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo; and Rep. John Smithee, R-Amarillo. For example, the average statewide Republican beat the average statewide Democrat in Thornberry’s district by 58.8 percentage points over those two election cycles.
The most liberal districts are in urban areas, with the top three occupied by U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Dallas; Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston; and state Rep. Toni Rose, D-Dallas. In Johnson’s district, the average statewide Democrat beat the average Republican by 54.7 percentage points over the 2010-12 cycles.
The TWI illustrates the strength of the political maps drawn by redistricting legislators and judges. In the 150-member House, only four members — Democrats Craig Eiland of Galveston, Philip Cortez of San Antonio, Joe Moody of El Paso and Mary Ann Perez of Houston — won in districts where the political climate favored the other political party. In the 31-member state Senate, only one candidate won with a headwind: Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth. And in the 36-member Texas congressional delegation, only U.S. Rep. Pete Gallego, D-Alpine, won in a district where Republicans generally defeated the Democrats.
The charts below illustrate the political climate of each district, and you can download the numbers in spreadsheet form for a closer look.