It looks increasingly like Cooke County will get bigger shares of the legislative districts that represent it at the statehouse.
Texas lawmakers in Austin are finalizing new electoral maps this week for the state’s Senate and House districts, plus the distribution of seats for the state’s delegation in the U.S. House of Representatives.
David Spiller’s state House District 68 is shrinking from 22 counties to 12, although it is still stretched out between Cooke and Shackleford counties and ends up near Kileen; however, Cooke will become a bigger part of the downsized district.
“I knew I was at risk of losing my counties out west, but I’m thrilled that I get to keep Cooke County,” Spiller told the Register Thursday.
Spiller added that he wants to open a district office in Gainesville once the maps are settled and he’s done with current legislative business.
State Senator Drew Springer’ District 30 would lose several counties, but he would pick up a large portion of Denton County and hold onto to Cooke and Grayson counties. Presumably, he would also maintain his district office in downtown Gainesville; however, the Muenster Republican did not respond to a request for comment from the Register.
U.S. Rep. Ronnie Jackson’s district is shrinking away from its eastern end, which means Cooke County will get a new voice in Congress that it will share with Denton and neighboring counties.
Cooke County Republican Party Chairman Chris McNamara said he believes Cooke will go back into Republican Michael Burgess’s 26th U.S. House district, where it was situated before being added to Jackson’s district.
Jackson’s done a good job for us – I think he really does represent the values of the district,” said McNamara. “But half of Cooke County was in the 26th previously with Rep. Burgess. He’s an excellent congressman and I think we’ll do really well with him. We’re in kind of a can’t lose situation.”
Another possible benefit of Cooke County being in smaller districts could be more local candidates seeking the state and federal offices.
“It wouldn’t surprise me. We’ve certainly seen that in the past,” said McNamara. “Sen. Springer is from Cooke County. In that last Senate District 30 race, we saw a lot of Cooke County candidates pop up there and I would not be surprised now to see that again.”
This article has been updated since it was first posted.