Around the Texas Capitol: Election roundup – now on to the legislative session

Around the Texas Capitol: Election roundup – now on to the legislative session

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Around the Texas Capitol:
Election results roundup – now on to the legislative session

By Lauren Fairbanks, Shayne Woodard and J Pete Laney
TAD Governmental Affairs

The midterm General Election is now officially behind us. Now elected officials start gearing up for the upcoming legislative session. Bill filing began on Nov. 14 and the 88th Texas Legislature convenes on Jan. 10.

There were no major surprises on election day. All statewide elected officials were reelected to another term, and Texas continues to be a red state, continuing the 28-year streak of Republicans winning statewide.

  • Governor. Republican incumbent Greg Abbott defeated Democrat Beto O’Rourke. Abbott received 54.8% to O’Rourke’s 43.8%. Abbott won with 55.8% in 2018.
  • Lieutenant Governor. Republican incumbent Dan Patrick defeated Democrat Mike Collier. Patrick received 53.8% to Collier’s 43.5%. Patrick won with 51% in 2018.
  • Attorney General. Republican incumbent Ken Paxton defeated Democrat Rochelle Garza. Paxton received 53.4% to 43.6%. Paxton won with 50.6% in 2018.
  • Comptroller. Republican incumbent Glenn Hegar defeated Democrat Janet Dudding. Hegar received 56.4% to Dudding’s 40.9%. Hegar won with 53.2% in 2018.
  • Agriculture Commissioner. Republican incumbent Sid Miller defeated Democrat Susan Hays. Miller received 56.4% to Hays’ 43.6%. Miller won with 51.3% in 2018.
  • Railroad Commissioner. Republican incumbent Wayne Christian defeated Democrat Luke Warford. Christian received 55.4% to Warford’s 40.5%. Christi Craddick (R) won her RRC seat in 2018 with 53.2% and Jim Wright (R) won in 2020 with 53%.
  • Land Commissioner. Republican Dawn Buckingham defeated Democrat Jay Kleberg. Buckingham received 56.2% to Kleberg’s 42.1%. This was the only open race for statewide office on the ballot. George P. Bush previously held the position before running for attorney general earlier this year. Bush had won with 53.7% in 2018.

While most legislative races are determined in spring’s primary election – new redistricting maps did away with most “swing” districts – we were watching a handful of races closely:

  • SD 27. New boundaries: 6% Biden/47.1% Trump. Democrat Morgan LaMantia is on track to defeat Republican Adam Hinojosa by a very small 569 vote margin. There is a possibility this race could go to a recount.
  • HD 37. New boundaries: 50.6% Biden/48.4% Trump. Republican Janie Lopez defeats Democrat Luis Villareal. Lopez received 51.9% to Villareal’s 48.1%.
  • HD 70. New boundaries: 7% Biden/43.6% Trump. Democrat Mihaela Plesa defeated Republican Jamee Jolly. Plesa received 50.7% of the vote to Jolly’s 49.3%.
  • HD 118. New boundaries: 6% Biden/47.9% Trump. Republican incumbent John Lujan defeated Democrat Frank Ramirez. Lujan received 51.9% of the vote to Ramirez’s 48.1%.

 Early voting ran from Oct. 24 to Nov. 4 in Texas, and early voting turnout was down drastically compared to the 2018 midterm election numbers – a trend that continued on election day. Only 45.7% of registered voters cast a ballot this cycle, which is 7.3% lower than the state’s total turnout in 2018. Top-of-the-ticket races usually dictate the momentum for voter turnout. All statewide incumbents up for re-election this cycle last appeared on the ballot in 2018, and all faced a challenger this election. Even with high profile challengers in some of those races, it wasn’t enough to boost turnout. Low voter turnout ultimately benefited the Republicans from the top of the ticket to the down-ballot races.

You can find a comprehensive list of Texas General Election results here.

Now that the election is over, we have a clearer picture of what the makeup of the Texas House and Senate will be when the legislature gavels in on Jan. 10. Last session, the Senate was split 18 Republicans to 13 Democrats. After redistricting, SD 10 flipped from D to R; so the Senate is now 19 Republicans and 12 Democrats going into the 88th Legislature. There are five incoming freshmen members: SD 10 – Phil King (R); SD 11 – Mayes Middleton (R); SD 12 – Tan Parker (R); SD 24 – Pete Flores (R); and SD 27 – Morgan LaMantia (D).

Last session, the House was comprised of 85 Republicans and 65 Democrats. After redistricting, three seats switched from D to R, one switched from R to D, and three seats are within one point either way. Republicans picked up one seat in the House, bringing the numbers to 86 Republicans and 64 Democrats going into next session. There are 27 new House members this cycle.

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