Early voting starts today! February 14th. (Don’t forget Valentine’s Day as well!) Primary Election Day is March 1 here in Texas.
In Texas, we are off to the races!
The last day to apply for a ballot by mail is February 18th.
At the top of the ticket, current Governor Greg Abbott (R) raised $18.9 million in six months. Beto, the Democratic frontrunner for Governor, raised $7.2 million in six weeks. Current polling shows incumbent Governor Greg Abbott is currently showing a 10 percent lead in the polls.
Texans will take to the polls under the new voting guidelines passed by the Texas Legislature. And new maps following Redistricting (every ten-year occurrence), accompanied by tons of Legislative retirements which looks like at approximately 50 new seats in the Texas House and Senate could be had. Finally, In Texas, our General Elections are less and less competitive, so the primary races are the first clue at how the make up of the next Legislature will look.
At the statewide level, a lot of heavy hitters and incumbents are up for their additional four-year terms.
This includes the Governor and Lt. Governor. As for Speaker of the Texas House, he is elected by his own House members, so the results of these elections have a huge impact on who will ultimately be sworn into that post. Although current Speaker Dade Phelan looks to currently be in a safe position.
Expected leadership changes – at this point seem unlikely. One of the most highly watched races is that of the state’s Attorney General. Current OAG Ken Paxton faces most likely the toughest Statewide Race with Land Commissioner George P. Bush and former State Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman both running strong primary campaigns. That race could turn into a primary run-off and a lot of people are keeping an eye on it.
There are so many local State Representative races and Texas Senate races – we have attached some very detailed info on these races for those of you who want to get in the weeds! If you want to make it simple and want to know who represents you? You can go here to find your incumbent:
Below is a summary of the “most watched” Legislative races (cheat sheet version, we used to call them “Cliffs Notes”):
Senate District 11 – with Senate Education Committee Chairman Larry Taylor retiring, there is a three-way race to replace him. Long-term Senator Eddie Lucio’s seat will also be watched with him not seeking re-election in his Rio Grande Valley seat. He was often a swing-vote in the Texas Senate as a Democrat.
On the House races, numerous incumbents face multiple primary challenges. The most watched are currently the following:
In the DFW area, state Republican Representative Stephanie Klick, the current House Public Health Chair, has a five-way primary challenge. Both Representative Phil King (R-Weatherford) and Representative Tan Parker are looking to replace Senators Beverly Powell (D) and Jane Nelson (R) respectively. They are likely to advance to the Texas Senate. This would be a Republican gain in the Texas Senate from the Fort Worth area.
In the Houston area, Former House Republican Public Ed Chair Dan Hubberty and still current Public Ed member is retiring. (This combined with Chairman Larry Taylors retirement attributes to a lot of uncertainty for the Education Community). Current Democrat Public Ed Chair Harold Dutton from Houston is facing a credible challenger as well. This has potential to re-define the Education community.
Additionally, former Republican State Representative Debbie Riddle is running in a primary re-election against current Republican State Representative Valoree Swanson.
And long-time public health guru from Houston, Democrat Garnet Coleman is retiring, and will be missed.
In rural areas, things are changing with a loss of population and new districts. Republican Senator Kell Seliger from West Texas is retiring. State Republican Representative John Raney from the College Station area is under attack. As is incumbent Republican Representative Kyle Kacal.
Additionally, a new hard-core right PAC is challenging current Republican Incumbents. Those include not only Reps Rainey and Kyle Kacal as well as Stephanie Klick, who we have highlighted above. The overall includes the following:
Republican Reps Rogers, Regie Smith, Bailes, Guillen (a Democrat who just switched to the Republican party from the Valley), Veterinarian Lynn Stucky, Andrew Murr, Lucy Hall, rural member Representative Van Deaver, and East Texan Travis Clardy…. Landgraff too with accusations of scandal. These mail pieces hit late and just before early voting started. Stay tuned. Lots here.
A day is a long time in Texas Politics. We are just reporting the news. At the LLK Government Relations shop we are trying our best to get to know these new members and it will mean a lot of education on issues as we go into next Session.
To you all, I say, “Keep the Faith”. We are doing the legwork for you.
The best to all of you. We pay attention so you do not have to.
All my best! Lara Laneri Keel