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Roll Call: Only 10 Congressional Districts Are Toss-Ups in 2016

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Created: 23 June, 2015
Updated: 15 October, 2022
2 min read

Roll Call reported Tuesday on efforts by both major parties to secure an election win in Texas' 23rd Congressional District, the only competitive district in the state. This is not a new development. The border district has been the only competitive congressional district in Texas for years, switching often between Republican and Democratic representatives depending on what type of election year it is.

Roll Call reports:

With only 10 seats rated as Tossups by the Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call, both parties are treating this Mexican-border-district rematch as a top-tier race. Just days after then-Rep. Pete Gallego, 53, lost by 2 points to former CIA operative Will Hurd, 37, last November, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee urged Gallego to run again. DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Luján is hosting a fundraiser for him next week. As 1 of only 6 Republicans seeking re-election in a Tossup district, Hurd has already been a top target for Democrats, who would need to net 30 seats to win control of the House, while the National Republican Congressional Committee made him an initial member of its Patriot Program, which helps defend vulnerable members. But for Republicans, holding on to Hurd’s seat goes beyond defending their majority. As 1 of 2 African-Americans in the House Republican Conference, Hurd’s presence in Congress goes a long way toward bolstering the party’s efforts to diversify.

Read the full article here.

That's right. Only 10 congressional seats are considered competitive in 2016, out of 435 total seats in the U.S. House. That's a little over 2 percent of the total seats. Two percent!

Presidential election years historically have much higher voter turnouts than midterm election years, and many are hoping for a major resurgence in voter participation after the record-low turnout in 2014.

However, even with the boost in voter participation, tens of millions of voters will have little say in who ends up representing them. With the number of "battleground states" at an estimated 7 or 8, the Republican and Democratic parties will focus almost exclusively on this small handful of districts and states while ignoring the rest of the national electorate.

After decades of partisan gerrymandering and the creation of election laws that give two private corporations lasting dominance in the electoral process, voters are justified in believing that their voice doesn't matter because elections in much of the country put political parties first -- not voters.

Photo Credit: Lightspring / shutterstock.com

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