From Texas Political Almanac
Who & Where
The geographic footprint of the 3rd District essentially tells the story of demographic movement among high-income Anglo voters in and around Dallas County. As aging middle class neighborhoods transformed into growth zones for minority voters moving away from central Dallas, newer neighborhoods emerged in the Collin County suburbs of Plano, McKinney, Allen, and Frisco.
Yet, while the footprint evolved to the point of the current 3rd District no longer representing any portion of Dallas County, the voters bear a striking resemblance in their economic makeup and voting habits. Today, it is those no-longer-new suburban towns that make up the character of the district.
The district continues to support Republican candidates and will likely finish the decade with strong Republican support. But the needle is moving, albeit slowly, for Democrats. In it's current form, reconstituted elections show only five Democratic candidates winning more than 25% of the vote – two of which were the popular former mayor of Dallas (Ron Kirk) and a perennially strong conservative Democrat who had previously held statewide office (John Sharp). By 2012, all statewide Democratic candidates were winning over 30%, with Presidential nominee Barack Obama winning 34.1%.
Over the years, many corporate headquarters have moved into Collin County (Electronic Data Systems, Dr Pepper, JC Penney), as have many employers of high-skilled labor (Raytheon). The booming population of McKinney, Allen, and Frisco owe part of their growth to the development of the George Bush Turnpike. But the growth has been augmented by tax policies that benefit once rural outposts seeking to attract development into new-growth “boomburbs.” At present, the town of Frisco has attracted development of a soccer stadium for the ostensibly-named FC Dallas, while the town of Allen has developed sports facilities for minor league hockey team and the Allen school board has earned notoriety for opening a nearly $60 million dollar athletic facility.
Taken together, these characteristics alter the concept of what has been thought of a suburb. While many Collin County residents still make the rush hour commute to and from downtown Dallas, there is an increasing trend to such areas becoming more self-sustaining in economic terms.
For all the change and growth represented by the new 3rd District, there have only been three men represent it since it's inception in 1966. Joe Pool had previously served in the Dallas County at-large district as a Democrat, winning the single-member 3rd District in 1966, winning it 53%-47%. Upon Pool's death in 1968, 1966 GOP nominee Jim Collins won the district in a Special Election and served until vacating the seat to run for the U.S. Senate in 1982. He was succeeded by Steve Bartlett, who left the seat open to successfully run for mayor of Dallas in 1991.
By 1991, Johnson had served parts of Dallas in the Texas House of Representatives. Johnson ran second in a crowded primary, behind former Peace Corps director Tom Pauken. Among the other candidates in the field were former State Representative Bill Hammond, former Reagan administration advisor and wellness guru Paul Zane Pilzer, and future State Representative Dan Branch. In the runoff, Johnson won 53%-47% over Pauken and had no difficulty winning the general election. Future elections proved to be much less than competitive. However, Johnson's 60% showing in 2008 demonstrated the potential for white-collar professionals to reconsider Democratic candidates during the Obama years.
Prior to representing the 3rd District, Johnson grew up in Dallas. He served as director of the Air Force Fighter Weapons (Top Gun) School. As a fighter pilot, Johnson flew 87 combat missions during the wars in Korea and Vietnam. When his F-4 was shot down over North Vietnam during his 25th mission, he was imprisoned from 1966 to 1973 in the "Hanoi Hilton," where he spent 42 months in solitary confinement. In 2009, the Congressional Medal of Honor Society gave him its highest civilian honor, the National Patriots Award. On his return, Johnson started a homebuilding company and was elected to the Texas House in 1984.
Politically, Johnson is known as a passionate defender of U.S. involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan. As a member of the Ways and Means Committee, he also has a significant platform on taxes and health care. One of four founders of the Republican Study Committee, originally known as the Conservative Action Team, Johnson has been named among the most conservative member of the House during his tenure. After President Barack Obama announced a revised Afghanistan strategy that in addition to boosting troop levels also included a date to begin withdrawing forces, Johnson invoked his own history to make a point. "As a 29-year Air Force veteran and prisoner of war for nearly seven years, I know what happens when you try to run a war from the White House - you lose." he said on the House floor in December 2009. "We need to stop talking about exist strategies and troop withdrawal and focus on giving our troops the resources they want, need and deserve."
He had made a similar point when the House in 2007 narrowly passed a $124.2 billion war supplemental spending bill that aimed to set a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. Johnson brought a hush to the chamber when he described the last days of the war in Vietnam. "Just think back to the dark day in history when we saw visions of American Marines airlifting Vietnamese out of the U.S. Embassy," he said. "Do you remember that? That's what happens when America makes a commitment, Congress cuts the funding and we go home with our tails between our legs." Johnson has authored a book, “Captive Warriors,” detailing his military experience. Even though Johnson shared a cell for 18 months with future Arizona Senator John McCain, the two have had a chilly political relationship. Johnson strongly backed Bush in the 2000 primaries, stating that McCain "cannot hold a candle to George Bush."
On other defense matters, he helped to enact the Military Family Tax Relief Act of 2003, which doubled the death benefit for families of active service members who pass away and also reduced taxes for those families. Johnson has been a defender of the F-22 fighter jet, partly produced at the Lockheed Martin plant in Forth Worth near his district and the subject of intense debates over whether the program should continue.
The 3rd District should survive the decade as a solidly Republican district. But demographics and electoral trends will continue to push any future Republican-friendly district further north. The previous iterations of the district which contained parts of Dallas had begun to see Democratic candidates begin to carry the Dallas portion of the district. It is possible that portions of the 3rd and 32nd districts could be consolidated into a single, stronger Republican district than each currently is as a separate entity.
Population & Demographics
|Total Pop.||18+ Pop.||CVAP|
2012 Election Analysis
394,887 Registered Voters
24,588 Spanish-Surnamed Registered Voters
273,369 Total Ballots
|Contest||Rep. Candidate||R-%||Dem. Candidate||D-%|
|U.S. President||Mitt Romney||64.2%||Barack Obama||34.1%|
|U.S. Senate||Ted Cruz||63.5%||Paul Sadler||33.5%|
|U.S. Congress||Sam Johnson||100.0%|
|RR Commish||Christi Craddick||64.8%||Dale Henry||31.0%|
|Supreme Court||Nathan Hecht||62.6%||Michele Petty||33.2%|
|Crt. of Criminal Appeals||Sharon Keller||63.6%||Keith Hampton||32.8%|
2010 Election Analysis
381,905 Registered Voters
22,343 Spanish-Surnamed Registered Voters
140,980 Total Ballots
|Contest||Rep. Candidate||R-%||Dem. Candidate||D-%|
|Governor||Rick Perry||63.7%||Bill White||33.6%|
|Lt. Governor||David Dewhurst||70.1%||Linda Chavez-Thompson||26.6%|
|Attorney General||Greg Abbott||70.2%||Barbara Radnofsky||27.5%|
|Land Commish||Jerry Patterson||70.3%||Hector Uribe||26.5%|
|Ag. Commish||Todd Staples||69.6%||Hank Gilbert||26.9%|
|RR Commish||David Porter||68.0%||Jeff Weems||27.9%|
|Supreme Court||Debra Lehrmann||70.0%||Jim Sharp||27.0%|
|Supreme Court||Paul Green||69.5%||Bill Moody||27.3%|
|Supreme Court||Eva Guzman||69.5%||Blake Bailey||26.6%|
|Crt. of Criminal Appeals||Michael Keasler||69.2%||Keith Hampton||27.8%|
- Plan C235 - Congressional District 3 - plan under which 2012 elections were held
- Plan C220 - Congressional District 3 - San Antonio court's original interim plan
- Plan C185 - Congressional District 3 - plan passed by 82nd legislature
- Congressional District 3 - 2003 Map - Election History (2002-2010) and District Map
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