Around the Texas Capitol: Upcoming runoff elections will finally settle November slates

Around the Texas Capitol: Upcoming runoff elections will finally settle November slates

Return to May 2022 newsletter

Around the Texas Capitol:
Upcoming runoff elections will finally settle November slates

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

Primary runoff elections on May 24 will decide the fate of several incumbent legislators, in addition to several candidates running for open legislative seats. The runoff elections will decide a total of 50 races after a single candidate failed to receive 50% of the vote.

For a full list of the 50 races that will be determined on May 24 and to see what your specific ballot will look like, the Texas Tribune has put together this roundup. Early voting for the runoff elections runs May 16-20. We’ll have a full roundup of election results in the June edition of the Dairy Dispatch.

Below are the incumbents fighting for reelection in the primary runoffs:

  • Attorney General.Incumbent Republican Ken Paxton faces a challenge from Land Commissioner George P. Bush. Paxton received 42.7% of the vote to Bush’s 22.8% in the primary.
  • Railroad Commissioner.Incumbent Republican Wayne Christian held a large margin over his opponents but was ultimately unable to break the 50% threshold needed to avoid a runoff. He is competing against attorney Sarah Stogner, who received 15.1% of the vote to Christian’s 47.1%.
  • In the Texas House, four incumbents were pushed to a runoff:
    • HD 12. Republican incumbent Kyle Kacal faces Ben Bius. Kacal’s district boundaries shifted drastically in redistricting, adding several counties to his district that he had not previously represented.
    • HD 60. Republican incumbent Glenn Rogers is running against Mike Olcott. Roger’s district boundaries shifted drastically in redistricting, adding several counties to his district that he had not previously represented.
    • HD 85.Republican incumbent Phil Stephenson is competing with Stan Kitzman.
    • HD 91. Republican incumbent Stephanie Klick will oppose David Lowe. Klick faced four challengers running to the right of her. She led Lowe by 10%.

Meanwhile in Austin, policies impacting the state’s agriculture industry have seen some developments.

On April 7, Gov. Greg Abbott directed state troopers to conduct enhanced safety inspections of commercial vehicles as they cross international ports of entry from Mexico into Texas. This directive was issued in anticipation of a rise in illegal drugs and migrants being smuggled into the state upon the end of Title 42 expulsions. The state’s inspections were in addition to those already performed by federal customs authorities.

The directive resulted in costly economic delays for truckers crossing into Texas with commercial products, prompting the governors of four Mexican states – Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León and Tamaulipas – to sign agreements with Texas committing to increase security measures to prevent the smuggling of drugs and migrants. As a result, Abbott’s directive ended April 15.

Ports of entry from Mexico into Texas see the transport of produce, car parts, electronics including TVs and computer screens, medical equipment, and seats and parts for aircraft engines and motor vehicles, among other items. The economic impact of the week-long order and enhanced inspections is still being assessed.


April 14. Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan appointed Rep. Trent Ashby (R-Lufkin), Alonzo Cantu and Mari Robinson to the Broadband Development Office Board of Advisors. The Texas Broadband Development Office (BDO) was created by the Legislature in 2021 and is situated within the Office of the Comptroller. The Board of Advisors provides guidance to the BDO regarding the expansion, adoption, affordability and use of broadband service and programs administered by the office.

April 21. Rep. Chris Turner (D-Grand Prairie) announced he will not seek another term as chairman of the Texas House Democratic Caucus. Turner has led the caucus since 2017. He was elected to the House in 2008 and is currently running unopposed for reelection.

April 22. The Texas Tech University School of Veterinary Medicine held its ribbon cutting ceremony in Amarillo, bringing together Texas Tech officials, state officials, donors, veterinarians and the community to officially cut the ribbon and show off the 185,000 square feet of world-class facilities that generations of veterinary students will call home.

 May 7. Texans went to the polls and passed two new amendments to the state constitution related to homeowner property tax relief:

  • Proposition 1: Reduction for Elderly and Disabled Residents. Homeowners who are disabled or 65 years and older can qualify to have their school district property taxes capped or frozen. When the 2019 Legislature passed a bill to offset rising property values with lower school district tax rates for all homeowners, those adjustments did not account for elderly and disabled homeowners whose property taxes were already frozen. Under Prop 1, those homeowners could qualify for those additional reductions in 2023.
  • Proposition 2: Increased Homestead Exemption for School District Property Taxes. Currently, homeowners can now subtract $40,000 (up from $25,000) from their home’s value before school tax rates are levied.


Texas House District 147
May 7 was the special election for HD 147 to replace Rep. Garnet Coleman (D-Houston), who retired on Feb. 28. Two candidates were on the ballot. Jolanda Jones (D-Houston), an attorney and Houston ISD trustee, prevailed over Danielle Keys Bess (D-Houston). Jones received 52.3% of the vote to Bess’ 47.7%. Jones will fulfill Coleman’s unfinished term, but Jones and Bess still face each other again in the May 24 primary runoff election to see who will be the Democratic candidate to face Republican Damien Thaddeus Jones in November. This seat is considered solidly blue.

Texas Congressional District 34
U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela (D-Brownsville) announced he would resign early to take a position at the law firm Akin Gump. Gov. Greg Abbott ordered a June 14 special election to fill the unexpired term. Early voting will begin May 31. The election will be run under the current boundaries, not the boundaries being used for this year’s primary and general elections. Two Democrats and two Republicans are running:

  • Rene Coronado (D-Harlingen): City civil service director; former Williamson County deputy sheriff; former veterans field representative for the 27th Congressional District in Corpus Christi; U.S. Army veteran.
  • Dan Sanchez (D-Harlingen): Attorney; Cameron County Commissioner (since 2011); former Cameron County Justice of the Peace (2003-2010); endorsed by Vela and Congressman Vicente Gonzalez (the Democratic nominee for Congressional District 34 in the November general election).
  • Mayra Flores (R-Los Indios): Respiratory therapist practitioner; Republican nominee for Congressional District 34 in the November general election; endorsed by Abbott and Republican Party of Texas Chairman Matt Rinaldi.
  • Juana “Janie” Cantu-Cabrera (R-South Padre Island): Nurse practitioner; former Palmhurst City Council member; ran in the March Republican primary for Congressional District 34.

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