Texas State Senator Beverly Powell, ended her reelection campaign citing it as an “unwinnable race” due to Republican’s recent redistricting, making a Democratic win nearly impossible.
“Under the new map that will remain intact through November, the results of the 2022 election are predetermined,” she said in a video published to Twitter and Youtube. “Election prospects for any candidate who relies on a diverse voter coalition will be thwarted. So after a great deal of thought, prayer and consultation with family, friends and supporters, I have decided to withdraw my name from the ballot.”
In 2018, Beverly Powell was elected to Senate District 10, a district that was entirely contained in Tarrant County, and had seen an increase in its Black, Latino and Asian American populations. It was the coalition of those groups and that led Powell to victory. Powell drew praise for taking back a seat for Texas Democrats in a district that had been purple for a decade. The GOP, however, recently redrew the district, branching it out to include both southern and western counties, a move that made Senate District 10 more rural and less diverse, killing Powell’s electorate.
The Republican-controlled Legislature redrew the boundaries of the district and the new map now splits up the Latino, Black and Asian American populations that previously voted together in the district. The new district stretches out to seven counties to the West and South that make Senate District 10’s population more rural and more white, giving Republicans a calculated political advantage.
“When I filed for re-election, I was hopeful Senate District 10 voters would have their voice at the ballot box restored for the upcoming general election,” Powell said. “I cannot in good faith ask my dedicated supporters to spend time and contribute precious resources on an unwinnable race,”.
Powell later joined civil rights and voting rights groups in calling for change, stating the clear violations of the Voting Rights Act, which asks lawmakers to consider the impact on racial minorities before approving changes to voting laws. Republicans had tried to redraw the district before in 2010, but had been stopped by a federal court which called the move “intentionally discriminatory against voters of color.”
In 2013, however, the U.S. Supreme Court gutted a provision of the Voting Rights Act that required states like Texas, with a history of discrimination against voters of color, to receive approval from the federal government before making changes to voting laws. Since the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965, Texas’ gerrymandering has not made it through a single decade without a federal court admonishing it for violating federal protections for voters of color.
In withdrawing her nomination, Powell all but gives the election to Republican nominee state Rep. Phil King of Weatherford.