Around the Texas Capitol: Election results final, lawmakers start 4th special session

Around the Texas Capitol: Election results final, lawmakers start 4th special session

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Note: Content below was posted and current as of Nov. 20, 2023

Around the Texas Capitol:
Election results final, lawmakers start 4th special session

By Lauren Fairbanks and J Pete Laney
TAD Governmental Affairs

Texans approved all but one proposition on the ballot on the statewide Nov. 7 election, adding new amendments to the Texas Constitution. Most notably, Proposition 1, Right to Farm, was overwhelmingly approved by 79% of voters. Voters rejected only Proposition 13, which would have increased the mandatory and minimum retirement ages for state judges.

Almost 2.6 million votes were cast statewide. With more than 17.7 million registered voters, turnout was around 14.66%.

The race to fill the House District 2 seat, which was vacated in April after the former representative was removed from office, will go to a runoff between Republicans Brent Money and Jill Dutton to determine a winner. Dutton and Heath Hyde (R) battled for the second-place position, but Dutton ultimately prevailed with 7,132 votes to Hyde’s 6,065 votes. Money, the first-place finisher, received 8,965 total votes. The runoff is set for Dec. 9.

The Houston mayoral race also will go to a runoff between Sen. John Whitmire (D), the Dean of the Texas Senate, and U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee. Whitmire led in the race but failed to garner enough votes to win. If he wins the runoff, there will be another open seat in the Texas Senate.

Election Day also marked a big announcement by Sen. Drew Springer (R-Muenster), who was the first senator to announce he will not seek another term. His seat is up for election in 2024. His announcement came four days before Nov. 11 when candidate filing began for the March primary election.

A complete list of election results can be viewed here.

Special sessions continue

Finally, Election Day also marked the last day of the third special session and the beginning of the fourth special session. Over the last month, the third special session, which began Oct. 9, came and went with only one bill making it to the governor’s desk.

Special session #3 agenda items included policies related to education freedom/school vouchers, border security, and COVID restrictions. As the 30-day clock ticked, the House and Senate couldn’t agree on final versions of most of the agenda items, although SB 7, which forbids private businesses from enacting COVID-19 vaccine requirements, made it through both chambers and was signed by Gov. Greg Abbott. Both the Senate and House adjourned Sine Die on the third special session, only to be called back an hour later to start the fourth.

Special session #4 agenda items include:


  • Legislation relating to primary and secondary education, including the establishment of an education savings account program; the certification, compensation and health coverage of certain public school employees; the public school finance system; special education in public schools; measures to support the education of public school students that include certain educational grant programs, reading instruction and early childhood education; the provision of virtual education; and public school accountability.
  • Legislation related to school safety measures and related state funding mechanisms.


  • Legislation to do more to reduce illegal immigration by creating criminal offenses for illegal entry into this state from a foreign nation and illegal reentry or presence following denial of admission, exclusion, deportation or removal; authorizing the removal of illegal immigrants from Texas; and providing indemnification and immunity for public officials, employees or contractors in connection with the foregoing.
  • Legislation to impede illegal entry into Texas by providing more funding for the construction, operation and maintenance of border barrier infrastructure, and additional funding for the Department of Public Safety for border security operations, including additional overtime expenses and costs due to an increased law enforcement presence to preserve public safety and security in the Colony Ridge development in Liberty County, Texas.

Legislative retirement announcements to date

Texas House of Representatives

HD 6. Matt Schaefer (R-Tyler) will not seek reelection.

HD 14. John Raney (R-Bryan) will not seek reelection.

HD 29. Ed Thompson (R-Pearland) will not seek reelection.

HD 30. Geanie Morrison (R- Victoria) will not seek reelection.

HD 34. Abel Herrero (D-Robstown) will not seek reelection.

HD 56. Charles “Doc” Anderson will not seek reelection.

HD 77. Lina Ortega (D-El Paso) will not seek reelection.

HD 80. Tracy King (D-Uvalde) will not seek reelection.

HD 87. Four Price (R-Amarillo) will not seek reelection.

HD 97. Craig Goldman (R-Fort Worth) is running for Congress to replace Kay Granger (R-CD 12).

HD 109. Carl Sherman (D-DeSoto) is running against Ted Cruz (R) for U.S. Senate.

HD 115. Julie Johnson (D-Carrollton) is running for Congress to replace Colin Allred (D-CD 32).

HD 139. Jarvis Johnson (D-Houston) is running for Texas SD 15, currently held by John Whitmire who is in the runoff in the Houston mayoral race.

Texas Senate

*SD 15. John Whitmire (D-Houston) is running for Houston mayor. Runoff Dec. 9, two days before the filing deadline for 2024 ballot.

*SD 19. Roland Gutierrez (D-San Antonio) is running against Colin Allred/Ted Cruz for U.S. Senate. He does not forfeit his Texas Senate seat to run.

SD 30. Drew Springer (R-Muenster) will not seek reelection.

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