Texas State Senator Beverly Powell (D-Fort Worth, District 10) is suspending his re-election campaign saying the race is unwinnable for a Democrat according to redrawn district maps approved by the Republican-led state legislature last fall.
Powell, who ran unopposed in the March 2022 Democratic primary, said in a statement Wednesday that she would withdraw her name from the November ballot. Republican Phil King, who defeated challenger Warren Norred in the primary, will be the only Republican or Democrat to vote for state Senate District 10 in November.
District 10, which previously existed entirely inside Tarrant County (shown in red below), was redesigned last year into a sprawling district that includes a smaller part of Tarrant County while expanding west and south through seven rural counties that include parts of Parker County, and all of Johnson, Palo Pinto, Stephens, Shackelford, Callahan, and Brown counties (in purple below).
Powell, who said she was elected by a coalition of diverse voters in Tarrant County, told NBC 5 in October 2021 that the district had become less diverse with the addition of rural counties.
“Under the new map which will remain intact through November, the results of the 2022 election are predetermined. The electoral prospects of any candidate who relies on a diverse electoral coalition will be thwarted,” Powell said. “So…I’ve decided to take my name off the ballot for the State Senate District 10 race.”
“I cannot in good faith ask my dedicated supporters to devote time and contribute valuable resources to an unwinnable race,” Powell said. “This time and these resources are best spent on efforts that will advance our causes and on the ongoing efforts to restore voters’ rights.”
In a video posted to YouTube on Wednesday, Powell said District 10, with its growing minority voting strength, had been under attack since the mid-2000s. She said a federal court ruled in 2011 that redistricting maps which were drawn at the time were intentionally discriminatory and directed politicians to restore the district.
Maps approved by the Legislature and Gov. Greg Abbott last fall are being challenged in court, though that hearing won’t take place until September. Additionally, the DOJ filed a lawsuit against the state in December 2021, claiming the maps were again drawn with “discriminatory intent” and that they “diluted the increased strength of the minority.”
A request for a temporary injunction to suspend use of the cards was denied in January, ensuring the cards were in place for both the March 1 primary and the upcoming November election.
“He was a gerrymander who completely separated the coalition of voters who voted for me,” Powell told NBC 5 on Wednesday. would be impossible for a candidate like me, who relies on this coalition district, to be elected in the new SD-10.
Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston), chair of the redistricting committee, defended the cards in 2021 saying she was following the law and the cards complied with the Voting Rights Act and that while Many factors were considered to redraw the maps, racial constituencies were not among them.
Powell said she and her staff will continue to serve the citizens of Texas for the remainder of her term and then continue her work outside the walls of the Senate.
“I will miss it and I say it all the time, it was actually the honor of a lifetime to be able to do this and to be elected by the Tarrant County electorate,” Powell told NBC. 5 Wednesday. “It was absolutely a joy and we will be looking ahead with other opportunities to serve.
The midterm election is Tuesday, November 8. The last day to register to vote in the November elections is October 11. The second round of primaries for the November elections will take place on May 24.
NBC 5’s Julie Fine contributed to this report.