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Last Updated: Friday, 16 May, 2003, 11:23 GMT 12:23 UK
Runaway politicians return to Texas
Democrats at the Ardmore Holiday Inn
The lawmakers' action attracted censure and support
More than 50 Democrats have returned to Texas after their self-imposed exile in Oklahoma thwarted a controversial vote.

The group took a bus back to Texas just after midnight on Thursday, as the deadline passed for a vote on plans to redraw electoral boundaries in the state, giving more seats to the Republicans.

Their controversial decision to flee - which made the news across the United States and around the world - denied the Texas legislature the minimum number of voters needed for a legal vote.

Police officers had been waiting for the representatives at the state line, but left after Texas Republicans said they would let the bill die.

Now it's time to work together - Republicans and Democrats
Richard Raymond
"I'm just happy that we are back in Texas. Now it's time to work together - Republicans and Democrats," said Richard Raymond, one of those who fled to a hotel in the small Oklahoma town of Ardmore.

This was the third time in modern Texas history that state legislators had thwarted bills by denying a quorum - which in this case was 100 lawmakers out of a 150-strong assembly.

The runaways stopped a vote on a plan championed by Tom DeLay, the Republican leader of the US House of Representatives and himself a Texan.

The Democrats said the redistricting plan would have unfairly favoured Republicans in US congressional elections, adding that they refused to "participate in an inherently unfair process that slams the door of opportunity in the face of Texas voters".

Republicans gained control of the Texas House in November for the first time since just after the US Civil War in the 1860s.

Runaway Texans liven up town
15 May 03  |  Americas
Fleeing Democrats thwart Texan vote
13 May 03  |  Americas

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