Texas's 7th congressional district
|Texas's 7th congressional district|
Texas's 7th congressional district - since January 3, 2013.
|Current Representative||John Culberson (R–Houston)|
Texas District 7 of the United States House of Representatives is a Congressional district that serves a small area of western Harris County. As of the 2000 census, District 7 comprises 651,620 people.
One of the wealthiest districts in the state, District 7 includes several wealthy enclaves of western Houston, ten incorporated suburbs, and large areas of unincorporated suburbs.
Cities within the district
Cities wholly within the district
- Bunker Hill Village
- Hedwig Village
- Hilshire Village
- Hunters Creek Village
- Jersey Village
- Piney Point Village
- Southside Place
- Spring Valley Village
- West University Place
Cities partially in the district
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Texas received a seventh congressional district through reapportionment in 1881 as a result of population growth reflected in the 1880 Census and in 1883, Thomas P. Ochiltree, an Independent, was elected its first representative. From 1882 to 1902 the district was located in north central Texas and was represented by Wacoan Robert L. Henry. After the redistricting of 1902, the district shifted eastward and was represented by Congressmen from Palestine and Galveston. After 1952, the district again shifted to Waco. From 1885 to 1966, the seventh congressional district elected only Democratic representatives to Congress.
In 1966 the district, then represented by John Dowdy of Waco, was redrawn after the Supreme Court ruled in Wesberry v. Sanders two years earlier that congressional district populations had to be equal or close to equal in population. As a result, the old 7th essentially became the new 2nd District, while a new 7th was created in the western portion of Harris County, home to Houston. Previously, Harris County had been divided between the 8th and 22nd congressional districts. The new 7th contained a large slice of western Houston that had been among the first areas of Texas to turn Republican.
The mid-decade redistricting resulted in the election of George H. W. Bush, a former Chairman of the Harris County Republican Party and the son of Connecticut U.S. Senator Prescott Bush, and who unsuccessfully sought the state's Class 1 Senate seat against Democrat Ralph Yarborough in 1964. Bush would go on to hold the district for two terms before making an unsuccessful run for the United States Senate in 1970, losing to Lloyd Bentsen who defeated Yarborough in an upset in the Democratic primary. Bush would eventually go on to become Vice President under Ronald Reagan and in 1988 would be elected President. After losing the 1992 election to Bill Clinton, Bush would retire to the 7th where he currently lives.
Bush was succeeded by fellow Republican Bill Archer, who would go on to represent the district for 15 terms. Archer would never drop below 79% of the vote as the 7th district, now stretching from the prosperous west side of Houston, including such neighborhoods as River Oaks and the Memorial Villages, to fast-growing suburbs in the Cypress-Fairbanks and Katy areas, became reckoned as the most Republican district in the Greater Houston area and arguably one of the most Republican districts in the nation. Archer would rise to prominence in 1994 following the Republican Revolution in which Republicans gained control of the House for the first time in 40 years, with Archer serving as chairman of the influential House Ways and Means Committee for his final three terms.
In 2000, Archer retired from Congress, leading to a highly competitive Republican primary - traditionally the real contest in the heavily Republican district. In the ensuing runoff, State Representative John Culberson defeated opponent Peter Wareing to win the Republican nomination. By 2002, the district was further reduced in size, now taking in the west side of Houston as well as much of the unincorporated vicinity of the Barker and Addicks reservoirs in west Houston.
Following a controversial 2004 mid-decade redistricting, the district lost Katy and the immediate Barker Reservoir, which also gaining some neighborhoods surrounding Jersey Village and (most penultimately) a southwest section of Houston (including the center-right communities of Bellaire and West University Place as well as the historically liberal Montrose area) that made up the political base of freshman Democratic congressman Chris Bell. Meanwhile, Bell's old 25th District was renumbered as the majority-minority 9th District, and he was defeated in the Democratic primary by Al Green. Meanwhile, Culberson would go on to win reelection in the 7th against a nominal Democratic challenger.
In 2008, Culberson defeated wind energy executive Michael Skelly to win a fifth term with 56 percent of the vote, despite being vastly outspent by the latter in a surprisingly competitive race–the first that the district had seen in four decades. Culberson would go on to win a sixth term in 2010 unopposed.
After the 2012 redistricting process, the 7th lost some of its territory to the adjacent 2nd district of Republican Ted Poe, losing a stretch of territory stretching from north of Jersey Village through Memorial Park to Rice University. In exchange, Culberson gained much of the Greater Katy area south of Interstate 10, as well as a stretch of middle-class suburban areas along the western edge of Highway 6 that had growing Hispanic populations, which also existed in the Sharpstown and Gulfton areas of southwest Houston that were also added to Culberson's district.
Despite the changes, Culberson continued to win reelection in his three successive elections, beating Democratic opponent James Cargas in three consecutive elections from 2012 to 2016.
Today, the 7th district remains centered on the west side of Houston between Interstate 10 and Westheimer Road, stretching westward from Uptown through the Memorial area and its surrounding villages to the Energy Corridor, encompassing The Galleria, CityCentre and Memorial City Mall. The district also includes much of the Greater Katy area and the Barker Reservoir, the Buffalo Bayou watershed between Memorial Park and Katy, the communities of Jersey Village and Bellaire, and several neighborhoods along a five mile-wide stretch of the western edge of Highway 6 (including the Bear Creek and Copperfield areas), as well as large portions of southwest Houston centered on the Meyerland, Sharpstown and Gulfton areas.
Overall, the district tends to vote Republican, with a sizable Hispanic population largely concentrated in the areas along Highway 6 and in southwest Houston adding to the 45 percent Anglo plurality in the district. However, the district was one of 23 congressional districts that voted for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in 2016, despite voting for Mitt Romney by a double-digit margin in 2012, due in part to backlash from some constituents of Republican Donald Trump's campaign rhetoric and stances on such issues as trade and immigration. Combined with demographic changes in parts of the district as well as the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, which caused catastrophic damage to many parts of the district in 2017, some political analysts have argued the district could be vulnerable to a Democratic takeover in a wave election.
List of representatives
|District created||March 4, 1883|
|Thomas P. Ochiltree||March 4, 1883||March 3, 1885||Independent||Galveston|
|William H. Crain||March 4, 1885||March 3, 1893||Democrat||Indianola||Redistricted to the 11th district|
|George C. Pendleton||March 4, 1893||March 3, 1897||Democrat||Temple|
|Robert L. Henry||March 4, 1897||March 3, 1903||Democrat||Waco||Redistricted to the 11th district|
|Alexander W. Gregg||March 4, 1903||March 3, 1919||Democrat||Palestine|
|Clay Stone Briggs||March 4, 1919||April 29, 1933||Democrat||Galveston||Died|
|Vacant||April 29, 1933 - June 24, 1933|
|Clark W. Thompson||June 24, 1933||January 3, 1935||Democrat||Galveston|
|Nat Patton||January 3, 1935||January 3, 1945||Democrat||Crockett|
|Tom Pickett||January 3, 1945||June 30, 1952||Democrat||Palestine||Resigned to become Vice President of the National Coal Association|
|Vacant||June 30, 1952 - September 23, 1952|
|John Dowdy||September 23, 1952||January 3, 1967||Democrat||Waco||Redistricted to the 2nd district|
|George H. W. Bush||January 3, 1967||January 3, 1971||Republican||Houston|
|Bill Archer||January 3, 1971||January 3, 2001||Republican||Houston|
|John Culberson||January 3, 2001||Present||Republican||Houston||Incumbent|
Historical district boundaries
- "Partisan Voting Index – Districts of the 115th Congress" (PDF). The Cook Political Report. April 7, 2017. Retrieved April 7, 2017.
- Martis, Kenneth C. (1989). The Historical Atlas of Political Parties in the United States Congress. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company.
- Martis, Kenneth C. (1982). The Historical Atlas of United States Congressional Districts. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company.
- Congressional Biographical Directory of the United States 1774–present