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Lloyd Doggett Feels Barney Frank’s Pain

Photo by World Economic Forum
Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass) said he will not seek reelection because of redrawn political maps, a challenge that Lloyd Doggett faced until Wednesday.

Austin’s Democratic Congressman Lloyd Doggett calls Barney Frank’s decision not to seek re-election a “great loss.”  Frank, a Democratic Congressman from Massachusetts, announced today that he is quitting the U.S. House of Representatives after 30 years.

Frank is departing for a reason not unfamiliar to Doggett: redistricting. Frank would have had to run in a redrawn district that retained his hometown of Newton, Mass. but included more conservative enclaves nearby.

“I don’t have to pretend to be nice to people I don’t like,” Frank said during an afternoon news conference, according to the Boston Globe.

Until last Wednesday, Doggett was facing a tough re-election battle of his own. The Republican-dominated state legislature redrew political boundaries that left Doggett in a district stretching from Austin down to San Antonio. It would be a more conservative and more Hispanic district, and Doggett would have had to compete in a Democratic primary against political up-and-comer, State Rep. Joaquin Castro.

“It is very demanding when you lose significant portions of the area you served and find yourself with new folks that may barely know you,” Doggett said. “That was certainly my situation.”

But revised redistricting maps issued by a panel of three federal judges on the eve of Thanksgiving essentially gave Doggett his district back.

“I’m feeling a lot better today than I was this time a week ago,” he said.

But the redistricting sags in Texas is not over yet. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott is asking the United States Supreme Court to block the court-ordered redistricting maps, saying the newly drawn lines disregard the wishes of the state legislature. 

Nathan Bernier is the transportation reporter at KUT. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @KUTnathan.
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