By Sean Wardwell
Killeen Daily Herald
Local politicians and candidates expressed relief at the release of new state legislative and congressional maps Tuesday.
"I'm pleased with the state House map because it restores the lines we drew in the legislative process," said District 54 Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock, R-Killeen, who also sits on the House Redistricting Committee. "Also, it puts Lampasas County back with Bell County. Before, it was with Temple and Belton, which I think was inappropriate."
Aycock's Democratic opponent, Claudia Brown of Killeen, also was happy with the lines. "This is the area I always planned for (campaigning) anyway. It's probably better," she said.
"They really want me to represent them out in Lampasas County," said Brown. "I'm in very close contact with the Democratic Party out there."
District 55 Rep. Ralph Sheffield, R-Temple, said he's glad the lines dividing his district and Aycock's followed their plan from the legislative session. "I'm glad we've got a map, which is pretty much exactly what (Aycock and I) drew for our area."
Sheffield's Republican primary opponent, John Alaniz of Temple, said he was pleased to finally have maps. "I've always been happy with any configuration that was proposed. The extra time has been great for my campaign. I'm ready to go."
Marianne Miller, chair of the Bell County Democratic Party, said she couldn't comment on the maps because she hadn't reviewed them yet.
But Bell County Republican Party chair Nancy Boston said she's grateful a May 29 primary can happen. "I'm very pleased the maps are out. I'm just waiting for the information on a new filing window."
Bell County Judge Jon Burrows said the county has work to do before the primary. "We've got some precinct-splitting issues we'll have to deal with," he said, referring to lines for congressional districts 25 and 31, which neighbor each other. "We're going to look at those precincts to make that fix, which will probably take a few days."
Wes Riddle, a Republican candidate for the 25th Congressional District seat, was elated about the new lines. "The new district will give the people of central and north-central Texas an opportunity to have a voice in Washington, D.C., they've never had," said Riddle, who lives in Gatesville.
Contact Sean Wardwell at email@example.com or (254) 501-7552. Follow him on Twitter at KDHcity.