Commissioner Accuses Colleagues of Redistricting “Flim-Flam”

A Republican Dallas County commissioner stormed out of a meeting Tuesday in protest of a redistricting map.

Commissioner Maurine Dickey left after accusing her colleagues of pulling a redistricting "flim-flam" on voters.

"The public needs to know that they have been fooled," she said. "The conservative voters, the Republicans have been disenfranchised."

For several months, officials have been considering new lines for districts to address results of the 2010 Census.

Commissioner Elba Garcia, a Democrat, was elected to replace a Republican last year, bringing a Democratic majority to the Commissioners Court for the first time in decades.

The new majority also made no secret of its plans to address growing Dallas County's growing Democratic Party strength through redistricting by reducing the number of districts where Republican voters are in the majority to one district from two.

Dickey, who represents District 1, had voted in favor of a previous map that made her district the single Republican stronghold.

She was furious Tuesday with the latest map, which relabeled most of the area she has represented as District 2.

Commissioner Mike Cantrell, a Republican, was re-elected to District 2 last year, but a previous map drew his home out of that district, which was redrawn to increase minority voter opportunity and better reflect the population measured by the Census.

Dickey has announced she will not seek re-election when her current term expires next year.

Because commissioners are elected to staggered, four-year terms, the change in district labels means Cantrell will now represent many of Dickey's constituents for the next three years instead of electing a new representative when she leaves office.

"I'm not going to be a part of this sham, and you should be mad, too, especially people of District 1. Here's your new commissioner Highland Park," Dickey said, gesturing to Cantrell as she left the room.

Cantrell said he had not seen the new map before Tuesday and was insulted by Dickey's suggestion that he was involved in the change.

"Up until today, it was perfectly fine to throw me under the bus and all of my supporters," he said. "Anyway, I think that was very unprofessional conduct."

Commissioner John Wiley Price said Democrats acted fairly and did exactly what happened years ago when he was made the lone Democrat on the Commissioners Court.

"All we've done is the same thing with regards to this map that was done previously when there was a Republican majority," he said.

The U.S. Department of Justice will review the map that was approved by commissioners on Tuesday.

If it passes, it will be used for 2012 elections.

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