By PAUL J. WEBER
SAN ANTONIO (AP) - A federal judge has told Republican leaders in Texas to plan as though the state's primary will be May 29 because the long-running dispute over redistricting likely won't allow for it to be held any earlier.
U.S. Circuit Court Judge Jerry Smith on Wednesday did not officially set that as the new primary date. But the judge's guidance virtually extinguishes any chance of Texas holding an April primary.
A primary in May or later risks making Texas irrelevant in choosing the Republican presidential nominee.
Texas had been scheduled to take part in March's Super Tuesday, but the state's ongoing battle over voting maps derailed that.
Earlier Wednesday, the sides announced a deal on a temporary map for the disputed state Senate boundaries, leaving unresolved the state House and congressional maps.