ALBUQUERQUE, NM: Texas' ongoing congressional redistricting fracas took a left turn to Albuquerque last week. That is where Democratic state senators fled to block a quorum in the Texas State Senate, thus preventing passage of a controversial measure that would redraw the state's congressional districts.
The politicians, known as the "Texas Eleven," conducted an unusual press conference with Gov. Bill Richardson (D-NM), which saw them flanked by New Mexico State Police. Some even suggested the police were there to guard them from "bounty hunters" who would want to haul them back to Texas.
The senators vowed to stay away until the expiration of a second special session called by Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX).
Both parties encouraged voters to contact elected officials to make their views known. The Democrats e-mailed local activists, and Republicans continued posting on the internet radio-ready audio files of quotes from state Republican chairwoman Susan Weddington.
The Democrats' move marked the second highly publicized border crossing by Texas legislators this year.
In May, more than 50 Democrats fled to Oklahoma, killing the first attempt to pass the redistricting plan. Democrats argue the measure is a power grab designed to unfairly improve the GOP's chances of gaining seats in the US House of Representatives.