Included in documents regarding a lawsuit attacking the newly drawn representational lines in Texas was testimony by the state’s most liberal Republican senator alleging the maps were drawn specifically to dilute the voting power of black and Hispanic Texans.
State Sen. Kel Seliger (R–Amarillo) is not seeking re-election in 2022 after narrowly escaping defeat in the last two Republican primaries. As he leaves the Senate, Seliger does so with a record roundly described as the most liberal Republican—on the rankings of both ideological and non-ideological organizations.
Democrats have sued the state against the newly drawn representational lines for the U.S. House, Texas Senate, and Texas House. Their suit alleges the lines favored Republicans by purposefully diluting the voting strength of minorities.
Seliger voted against the maps last fall during a special session called following the release of population data by the U.S. Census Bureau.
In a declaration filed with the court in late November, Seliger claimed that “renewed efforts to dismantle” a Tarrant County-based senatorial district “violated the Voting Rights Act and the U.S. Constitution.”
Seliger alleged redistricting “committee members all knew” that Senate District 10, held by white liberal Democrat Beverly Powell of Burleson, did not “comply with the Voting Rights Act and the U.S. Constitution, which prohibit racial discrimination.”
Interestingly, though, much of Seliger’s signed declaration revolves around his own frustrations regarding the redrawing of lines between the district he represents and a neighboring West Texas/Panhandle district. Both districts have been, and continue to be, heavily Republican areas.
Seliger reportedly admitted in a videotaped deposition earlier this month that he didn’t actually author the “declaration,” but instead signed what was prepared by Powell, who is among those suing the state.
In the videotaped deposition, Seliger expressed frustration with his own district being redrawn in a way that would disadvantage him.
Before Seliger announced his retirement, he was already facing a fierce re-election bid—chiefly from Midland businessman Kevin Sparks. Mr. Sparks received an early October endorsement from former President Donald Trump, and Seliger dropped his re-election bid shortly after.