Texas’ 7th Congressional district in west Houston has been in Republican hands for five decades, ever since George H.W. Bush won the seat in 1966. Congressman John Culberson has held the seat for 17 years. But analysts at The Cook Political Report now say the district is a “toss up.” That means Culberson may be the most vulnerable incumbent in the state.
There are four big reasons why. The first is that, “the district demographics have shifted considerably over the last ten years and certainly even since the last election,” according to Tony Essalih, a principal at Cornerstone Government Affairs.
Essalih worked for Culberson for a decade, including five years as the congressman’s chief of staff. He said urban districts like the 7th have been attracting a lot of new residents.
“The movers into those districts are coming from other major cities in the U.S. that are more traditionally left-leaning cities like New York, Chicago, L.A., D.C., Boston, and they’re coming down for good job opportunities, but they’re not coming as card-carrying Republicans,” says Essalih. At the same time, the district’s Latino population is growing, and older Anglo voters are dying.