Everything's bigger in Texas. And not just its longhorn steer, oil derricks and ten-gallon hats. The Lone Star State's cost of care, number of uninsured residents and controversies over reproductive rights are all pretty big too.
And so, perhaps unsurprisingly, are its complicated and contentious intrastate political squabbles.
Once upon a time, Texas stood as the grand enchilada in tomorrow's Super Tuesday voting, with a whopping 155 delegates at stake (second only to California's 172).
But on March 1, a new date was set for the state's 2012 primary election: May 29 – with runoff voting slated for July 31.
The reasons for the move to that very late date are complicated and long-simmering, but boil down to a fight over Congressional redistricting.
New electoral maps, drawn up last year by Texas' GOP-controlled legislature and approved by Gov. Rick Perry, were opposed by voting rights advocates and Democrats –who decried them as gerrymandering, meant to box out the state's sizable Latino population.
Months were spent arguing back and forth about just where the lines could be drawn.
A panel of three federal judges in San Antonio approved interim maps on Feb. 28, finally enabling the new voting date to be set. (After having been previously rescheduled for April 3).
So, a double disappointment for Texas GOP. Not only is Perry no longer a leading presidential contender, as was envisioned just a few short months ago, but the state's late primary undoubtedly carries less prestige than a possibly king-making event on Super Tuesday.
Tune in later this spring for a closer look at Texas' political climate – and how it's helping contribute to a healthcare system that's been described (as in this Los Angles Times article) as "withering," "eroding" and "at the breaking point."