This is not good news for GOP prospects of holding on to the House in 2012. Faced with a near certain court decision that would make things worse, the attorneys representing the state of Texas and the GOP drawn redistricting map, are reaching out to settle the case giving Democrats possibly 4 or more golden opportunities to win seats.
If the state of Texas and the plaintiffs in the case reach an agreement it would solve a drawn out process with two separate lower court battles and a Supreme Court opinion already on the books.
Texas is gaining four seats in Congress and will have 36 total House seats next election. Most of the state's population growth has come from African Americans and Hispanics, but the Republican state legislators who drew the maps gave the groups few new opportunities in the state.
Any agreement would lead to a minimum of 13 Democratic-leaning seats, and possibly a fourteenth seat depending on how the districts in Fort Worth are drawn.
With conservative former Rep. Nick Lampson (D-Texas) running for a Galveston-area seat, Democrats could win as many as 14 or 15 seats in the state, up from the nine seats they currently hold. Republicans would hold 21 or 22 seats, down from the 23 they currently have.
Those 23 seats include two Democratic-leaning seats won by Republican Reps. Quico Canseco and Blake Farenthold in the 2010 Republican wave election. Farenthold would have a chance to run in the same Galveston district Lampson is likely to run in, while Canseco would have an uphill fight for reelection.
Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas) is also likely to be spared a tough race - initial plans would have forced him to run in a Hispanic-majority seat, something Latino groups are looking to avoid.
How many seats lost in a by-election in districts won by Barack Obama in 2008 can the Democrats get back? Not enough to take control of the House but given the new map in Illinois where the GOP is expected to lose several seats and now this new possible map in Texas, the Democrats are edging closer to realizing their goal of winning back the House.