Houston was a state that was created by the United States by being carved from the western portion of the Confederate state of Texas during the Great War, and again in the last years of the Second Great War.
The state was created in 1917 after U.S. forces entered western Texas during the Great War. The U.S. government used as its legal basis the ordinance that admitted Texas to the Union in 1845, which allowed the possibility of Texas being carved up into no more than four states. The U.S. further harkened back into Texas history by naming the new state after Sam Houston, who had opposed Confederate secession during the War of Secession as a Southern Unionist.
Houston's most prominent city was Lubbock. Other major cities included Littlefield, Amarillo, and El Paso. The city of Houston, however, was not a part of the new state. Houston bordered New Mexico to the west, Chihuahua to the southwest, occupied Sequoyah to the north and east, and what remained of Texas to the southeast.
On July 4, 1918, Houston officially became the 35th overall state in the Union. Until 1934 (for congressional, 1940 for presidential), it voted Democratic in elections, as the Democrats most closely mirrored the conservative Whig ideology that had been so prominent in Confederate Texas, this despite the fact that it was a Democratic administration that had defeated the C.S. and carved out the new state. The other major U.S. political party, the Socialists, were not favored in Houston for most of its time in the Union.
After the inauguration of Jake Featherston as president of the Confederate States in 1934, he began calling for the return of Houston to the C.S. With a possibility of reunification, Houston began electing Freedom Party men to Congress. One prominent Freedom representative of Houston from this era was George H. Mahon. In Congress, Mahon, along with fellow Freedom Party representatives from both Houston and Kentucky, frequently interrupted sessions by calling for plebiscites to be held in both states (as well as in Sequoyah, which was occupied by the U.S. after the war) so that they could return to the Confederacy.
As Houston, which had never really been loyal to the U.S., became more rebellious, occupation forces under Daniel MacArthur and Irving Morrell tried, without much success, to put down the Freedom-endorsed insurgence.
As per the Richmond Agreement of 1940, a vote was called for on January 7, 1941 in Houston, Kentucky, and Sequoyah to determine their future status in the U.S. This would hinge on the 1940 U.S. Presidential election between Socialist incumbent Al Smith (who had reached the agreement with Featherston) and Democratic challenger Robert Taft (who opposed it). Since many Houstonians wanted to return to the Confederate States, Houston voted Socialist in the 1940 election (the only time it did so during its time in the Union).
On January 7, 1941, residents of Houston voted for a return to the Confederacy and to rejoin the state of Texas, ending its 23-year stay in the United States. Featherston welcomed this result, as well as that in Kentucky; he was much less pleased about the result in Sequoyah, which had voted to stay in the United States due to the massive amount of U.S. settlers in the territory.
In 1942, during the Second Great War, U.S. forces under Major General Abner Dowling entered west Texas, and several cities began to fall again to the United States. It was around this time that Dowling noticed Camp Determination, located in Snyder, Texas. Dowling made it his goal to liberate the camp, finally taking the ruins of the abandoned encampment in September 1943.
As Dowling advanced past Lubbock, the United States of America re-admitted the State of Houston into the Union.
Jefferson Pinkard, the commander of Camp Determination who had fled from Dowling's arrival, moved his base of operations, ironically enough, to the vicinity of Houston, the city in Texas. He once remarked on how "damnably confusing" the shared name was.
In OTL, the 1910s saw a proposal to subdivide western Texas into "Jefferson," not to be confused with the hypothetical Pacific state of the same name. While the fictional Houston's borders are similar to the proposed Jefferson, the reasons for the subdivisions are noticeably different.