Elections shape up with ballots set
By Lauren Wied, Shayne Woodard and J Pete Laney
TAD government relations
The 30-day candidate filing period – when individuals who intend to run for any elected office in this state must formally file paperwork with their respective party – ran from Nov. 11 to Dec. 11. While there were a lot of fireworks throughout the 30-day period, the Dec. 11 deadline was a relatively quiet day. A breakdown of what you can expect on the ballot follows. Early voting for the March 6, 2018, primaries opens Feb. 20.
At the top of the ballot, Gov. Greg Abbott is running for a second term. He faces no serious opposition in the primary. On the Democratic side of the ticket, the race will be crowded with 10 candidates, including two prominent names: Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez and Andrew White, the son of late former Gov. Mark White.
All other Republican statewide elected officials also are seeking reelection.
A breakdown of their races:
- Gov. Dan Patrick faces no serious opposition in the primary or general election.
- Attorney General Ken Paxton faces no opposition in the primary and faces no serious opposition in the general election.
- Comptroller Glenn Hegar faces no opposition in the primary and no serious opposition in the general election.
- Railroad Commissioner Christi Craddick faces Weston Martinez in the primary. Martinez ran an unsuccessful bid for a seat on the commission last year.
- Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller faces two primary opponents: longtime lobbyist Trey Blocker and Jim Hogan, who in 2014 ran for the office as a Democrat.
- Land Commissioner George P. Bush faces his predecessor, Jerry Patterson, in the primary.
The Texas Congressional delegation will see a significant change after this year’s elections. Five Texas U.S. House members announced their retirement: Sam Johnson, Jeb Hensarling, Joe Barton, Lamar Smith and Gene Green. Another, Democrat Beto O’Rourke, will vacate his seat to challenge U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz.
In the Texas Senate, there is only one open seat. Van Taylor is seeking election to Sam Johnson’s open Congressional seat. One senator, Sylvia Garcia, has a free run for Congressman Gene Green’s vacated seat. If she wins, there will be another open seat in the Texas Senate. If not, her Senate term does not expire until 2021.
Six Republicans and one Democrat in the Senate have primary challengers. Three notable races include: Bob Hall faces State Rep. Cindy Burkett; Craig Estes has two primary challengers – State Rep. Pat Fallon and church restorer Craig Carter; and Kel Seliger faces two challengers – former Midland mayor Mike Cannon (who also challenged Seliger in 2014 but eventually lost by five percentage points) and Amarillo restaurateur Victor Leal.
In the Texas House, 13 members will retire or run for higher office. Those include: Lance Gooden (running for Jeb Hensarling’s vacated Congressional seat); Byron Cook (retiring); Leighton Schubert (retiring); Mark Keough (retiring); Jason Isaac (running for Lamar Smith’s vacated Congressional seat); Larry Gonzales (retiring); Larry Phillips (retiring); Jodie Laubenberg (retiring); Pat Fallon (challenging state Sen. Craig Estes); Helen Giddings (retiring); Cindy Burkett (challenging state Sen. Bob Hall); Joe Straus (retiring); and Kevin Roberts (running for Ted Poe’s vacated Congressional seat). A total of 27 House Republican incumbents and 17 House Democrat incumbents have primary opposition.
The 2018 primary election is shaping up to be interesting – stay tuned!