Texas's 7th congressional district

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Texas's 7th congressional district
Texas US Congressional District 7 (since 2013).tif
Texas's 7th congressional district - since January 3, 2013.
Current Representative John Culberson (RHouston)
Distribution
  • 99.99[1]% urban
  • 0.01% rural
Population (2016) 770,606[2]
Median income $71,183
Ethnicity
Cook PVI R+7[3]

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[edit]

Cities wholly within the district[edit]

Cities partially in the district[edit]

History[edit]

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.[4] 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[edit]

Name Took
Office
Left
Office
Party District
Residence
Notes
District created March 4, 1883
ThomasOchiltree1860.jpg Thomas P. Ochiltree March 4, 1883 March 3, 1885 Independent Galveston
William H Crain.jpg William H. Crain March 4, 1885 March 3, 1893 Democrat Indianola Redistricted to the 11th district
George Cassety Pendleton.jpg George C. Pendleton March 4, 1893 March 3, 1897 Democrat Temple
Robert Lee Henry in 1917.jpg Robert L. Henry March 4, 1897 March 3, 1903 Democrat Waco Redistricted to the 11th district
No image.svg Alexander W. Gregg March 4, 1903 March 3, 1919 Democrat Palestine
Clay Stone Briggs.jpg Clay Stone Briggs March 4, 1919 April 29, 1933 Democrat Galveston Died
Vacant April 29, 1933 - June 24, 1933
Clark W. Thompson.jpg Clark W. Thompson June 24, 1933 January 3, 1935 Democrat Galveston
No image.svg Nat Patton January 3, 1935 January 3, 1945 Democrat Crockett
No image.svg 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.jpg John Dowdy September 23, 1952 January 3, 1967 Democrat Waco Redistricted to the 2nd district
George H. W. Bush 91st Congress.jpg George H. W. Bush January 3, 1967 January 3, 1971 Republican Houston
William Reynolds Archer Jr Official Photo.jpg Bill Archer January 3, 1971 January 3, 2001 Republican Houston
John Culberson official portrait (cropped).jpg John Culberson January 3, 2001 Present Republican Houston Incumbent

Election results[edit]

US House election, 2016: Texas District 7
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican John Culberson 143,542 56.17 -7.13
Democratic James Cargas 111,991 43.83 9.33
Majority
Turnout 264,267 67.04 27.99
Republican hold Swing
US House election, 2014: Texas District 7
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican John Culberson 90,606 63.3 2.5
Democratic James Cargas 49,478 34.5 -1.9
Libertarian Gerald Fowler 4,654 2.2
Majority
Turnout 143,219 39.05
Republican hold Swing
US House election, 2012: Texas District 7
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican John Culberson 142,477 60.8 -21.1
Democratic James Cargas 85,253 36.4
Libertarian Drew Parks 4,654 2 -16.1
Green Lance Findley 1,811 0.8
Majority
Turnout 234,195
Republican hold Swing
US House election, 2010: Texas District 7
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican John Culberson 143,665 81.9 +26
Libertarian Bob Townsend 31,704 18.1 +16.4
Majority
Turnout 175,369
Republican hold Swing
US House election, 2008: Texas District 7
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican John Culberson 162,205 55.9 -3.3
Democratic Michael Skelly 122,832 42.3 +3.8
Libertarian Drew Parks 5,036 1.7 -0.7
Majority
Turnout 290,073
Republican hold Swing
US House election, 2006: Texas District 7
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican John Culberson 99,318 59.2 -4.9
Democratic Jim Henley 64,514 38.5 +5.2
Libertarian Drew Parks 3,953 2.4 +1.2
Majority
Turnout 167,785
Republican hold Swing
US House election, 2004: Texas District 7
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican John Culberson 175,440 64.1 -25.1
Democratic John Martinez 91,126 33.3
Independent Paul Staton 3,713 1.4
Libertarian Drew Parks 3,372 1.2 -9.5
Majority 84,314 30.8
Turnout 273,651
Republican hold Swing -29.2

Historical district boundaries[edit]

2007 - 2013

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Coordinates: 29°43′27″N 95°30′01″W / 29.72417°N 95.50028°W / 29.72417; -95.50028