Texas Legislature next year looks a lot like last year

The results of the Texas House and Senate races will not change the balance of power in Austin: Republicans remain firmly in control of both houses. But a few seats have changed hands, and the redistricting means each party had a better chance of winning some seats than it would otherwise. And a few races are yet to be decided.

Mark Jones, a fellow at the Baker Institute and a professor in the political science department at Rice University, discussed the latest news with the Texas Standard. Listen to the interview above or read the transcript below.

This transcript has been lightly edited for clarity:

Texas Standard: In the Texas Senate, 18 out of 31 members are Republicans. What was discussed in yesterday’s contests?

Mark Jones: Well, in the Senate, we were practically only looking at one seat in the game, in SD 27, due to redistricting. The Republicans were confident that they would increase the number of seats from 18 to 19. It looks like they will not get [the SD 27 seat], although there will be a recalculation. So we’re looking forward to another legislative session in which Lieutenant Gov. Dan Patrick has even more support, 19-12 years old, and he no longer has a quasi-disloyal Republican, at least not loyal to him – Kel Seliger is one such Republican. . [who did not seek re-election]. So I think we’re looking at a Texas Senate that’s going to be even tighter controlled by the Republicans and Lieutenant Gov. Dan Patrick.

Let’s dive into the Senate District 27 race. This is a vacant seat previously held by conservative Democrat Eddie Lucio Jr. Republican Adam Hinojosa met Democrat Morgan Lamantia here. Why was this race so important? And what do we know about the results so far?

This was important because Eddie Lucio Jr., as a Democrat, was the most conservative Democrat in the Texas Senate. And so he often tended to vote with Lieutenant Patrick on many key issues, one of which was abortion. It was a race that, in a normal year, would have been fairly easy for a Democrat to win. But these negative national victories have made him more competitive. And LaMantia has a 0.3% lead, just under 600 votes. But given the nature of the electronic voting we have, it’s unlikely to change, although we may have to wait a week or two in terms of actually officially confirming LaMantia’s victory. Assuming she takes office, it probably won’t affect the balance of power because the Republicans were able to get that extra Senate seat through redistricting when they redistricted Beverly Powell from her Dallas seat.

» TEXAS ELECTION 2022: See state and congressional election results.

There were only a handful of places that were really competitive at the Texas House this year. Let’s talk about District 118, where John Luhan ran to keep the seat he just won in the special election. He was the only member of the House of Representatives from the Republican Party who was in real danger. And it looks like he won a very close race.

Right. John Lujan won the special election and he defeated Frank Ramirez by 4%. And that was important to the Republicans. Republicans entered the redistricting cycle knowing they couldn’t increase their share too much from 85 seats. But they wanted to make sure they were protecting actors like Luhan, and they did.

Well, in Collin County, Democrat Michaela Plesa has declared victory in her race for open [District] The 70th seat was previously held by Republican Scott Sanford, who did not seek reelection. Is this an unfortunate victory for the Democrats?

No, it was one of the districts in which the draw between Plesa and Jamie Jolly was to take place. It was designed slightly in favor of the Democrats, and the Democrats were able to take control of it. In general, however, I think we expected this place to become democratic.

Some of the other House races you’ve watched are clustered in South Texas, where incumbent Democrats are defending their seats as well as a few vacant seats. What did we see yesterday in South Texas? And does this reflect what happened during the big races for Congress, when the Republicans gained strength in this traditionally Democratic part of the state?

Well, by and large, the incumbent Democrats — people like Oscar Longoria in The Mission, Bobby Guerra in The Mission, Eddie Morales Jr. in Eagle Pass, and Abel Herrero in Corpus Christi — have all won. , and won by a considerable margin. So in general, the Republicans have achieved some success. They won the 37th district at home in Hargrave and this is Hidalgo County where Janie Lopez defeated Luis Villarreal. But overall, the Democrats held their ground in South Texas, as they did in the races to Congress, holding the 28th congressional district with Henry Cuellar and the 34th with Vicente Gonzalez, and losing only the 15th district, where Monica De La Cruz defeated Michelle Vallejo in District. it was designed to be favorable to Republicans in a good GOP year.

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