A federal court postponed the Texas primary from March 6 to April 3 on Friday because of a dispute over redistricting maps.
The Texas Republican and Democratic parties announced an agreement on a new date and submitted it to the San Antonio court because of the dispute over political redistricting. A federal court in Washington has refused to approve a map drafted by the Legislature, and the U.S. Supreme Court has put on hold a map drawn by the three federal judges in San Antonio.
The Texas Legislature redrew district lines for U.S. House districts, as well as state House and Senate districts, earlier this year as required by population numbers reported in the 2010 Census.
Several Democrats and other groups filed suits on the new maps arguing, among other things, that the maps, as drawn by the Republican-majority legislature, fail to accurately reflect minority growth in the state.
Under the Voting Rights Act, Texas redistricting maps require approval from either the U.S. Department of Justice or a three-judge panel in Washington, D.C. Texas went the second route but the judges refused to clear the proposed maps without a trial.
A federal court, in San Antonio, drew and instituted interim maps to serve for the filing period, primaries and November elections until a trial on the matter could be held. Maps that varied considerably in some areas of the state from what legislators approved.
Court hearings are scheduled to resolve the disputed maps next month, making it impossible to hold the balloting on March 6. By April 3, the courts should have worked out a redistricting map for the 2012 elections.
The Supreme Court will have a hearing on the disputed maps on Jan. 9, said chairman of the Cherokee County Republican Party Caesar Roy.
According to the Texas Democrat and Republican websites, the filing deadline for candidates, to be on the Nov. 6 general election ballot, will still be Monday, but the filing period will open back up and unspecified time after the federal court makes a decision on the disputed map.
This is to allow candidates in contested districts time to get on the proper ballot for disputed districts, said Stephen Looney, Chairman of the Republican Party. But filing will open for all counties, including Cherokee.
With one more business day left to get their name on the ballot, 20 people have filed with the Republican Party in Cherokee County for local political offices, and four have filed with the Democrats.
On the Democrat side: Roy said incumbents Dwight Phifer has filed for district judge, Elmer Beckworth for Cherokee County district attorney and Craig Caldwell for county attorney. Roy has also filed for Cherokee County Democratic Chairman.
“I'm satisfied that I have all the people that I'm going to get,” Roy said.
On the Republican Side: Looney said both he and Jean Harlan-Brewer has filed for the position of chairman of the Cherokee County Republican Party.
Incumbent Kelly Traylor and Eric Socia have filed for county commissioner precinct 1, and incumbent Katherine Pinotti, Patrick Reagan and Jesse Hooker have filed for county commissioner precinct 3.
For constables, incumbent Jack White filed for precinct 2, and James Beene has filed for precinct 4. Two constable races are contested. Incumbent Eddie Lee and James Stewart have filed for precinct 3. Lynn Kelly and Mark Johnson have filed for precinct 1.
For county tax collector-assessor, Blaine Verhelle and Angelia Johnson-Rios had thrown their hats in the race with incumbent Linda Little.
Kelly Peacock and William Wilder have filed for Cherokee County attorney and Rachel Patton filed for Cherokee County district attorney.
Incumbent James Campbell has filed for sheriff. So far, his position is uncontested.
Looney said more may file.
“I haven't heard of anybody yet, but you ever know,” he said.
For state senator, district 3, incumbent Sen. Robert Nichols R-Jacksonville is running against Tammy Blair, R-Bullard.
For state representative, district 11, incumbent Rep. Chuck Hopson, R-Jacksonville, Travis Clardy, R-Nacogdoches, and Tony Sevilla, R-Alto, have filed.
For U.S. representative, district 5, Tom Berry D-Dallas is running against incumbent Jeb Hensarling R-Dallas.
- The Associated Press contributed to this report