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Texas Election Source provides frequent, insightful updates to our subscribers about the state of elections in Texas. We track more than 600 candidates for statewide office, Congress, the Texas Legislature and the State Board of Education. We also follow special elections, important local elections and constitutional amendment elections. If you’re interested in Texas politics, then let Texas Election Source be your guide to the ballot box.

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Recently Posted News & Analysis

Re-election and Candidate News for August 18

Filing Deadling: Monday is the deadline for candidates to file for local offices on the November 2017 ballot.

Rep. Matt Shaheen

Rep. Matt
Shaheen

HD15: The Woodlands educator and Republican activist Jackie Waters formed a campaign committee for a potential race for the seat being vacated by Rep. Mark Keough (R-The Woodlands) as a Republican.

HD62: Sherman council member and creative consultant Kevin Couch formed a campaign committee for a potential primary challenge of Rep. Larry Phillips (R-Sherman). Yesterday, we reported he was considering the race.

HD66: Rep. Matt Shaheen (R-Plano) announced he would seek re-election, ending speculation that he might seek the Senate seat expected to be vacated by Sen. Van Taylor (R-Plano).

Subscribers can read the rest of this report.

See our 2018 Challengers page for all 243 challengers and open-seat candidates who we confirm have taken a formal step toward running for state and federal office from Texas in 2018.

©2017 Texas Election Source LLC

State Appeals Redistricting Decision

The state has filed with the U.S. Supreme Court its appeal of this week’s federal district court ruling invalidating two congressional districts (CD27 and CD35). The state informed the district court that there would be no special session on redistricting and requested a stay from the district court pending appeal, which would ensure that the current congressional map could be used for the 2018 election.

The district court denied that request, stating that is has not enjoined use of the current map for 2018. Instead, the court directed parties to “proceed with preparations for the remedial hearing as previously directed.” The remedial hearing is scheduled to begin on September 5.

In a statement, Atty. Gen. Ken Paxton said, “Judges should get out of the business of drawing maps.” He said the current congressional districts, which were based on a prior court-adopted plan, “are lawful, and we will aggressively defend the maps on all fronts.” The state may seek a stay from the U.S. Supreme Court.

The court’s ruling, and the state’s appeal, apply only to the state’s congressional plan. The state House plan’s status remains unresolved.

©2017 Texas Election Source LLC

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Our subscribers have access to our complete reports and analyses, including our archives, that cover the gamut from breaking campaign news to thoughtful exploration of the deeper trends in Texas. Links to our latest reports and updates are emailed straight to our subscribers’ inboxes.

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Our subscribers have access to our Crib Sheets: complete, up-to-date and accurate lists of candidates running for Congress, statewide office and the Legislature and more. See their latest campaign finance figures, past election results and other helpful information.

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On Election Nights, our subscribers receive relevant results fast, often before they appear on publicly available outlets, and get our analysis of trends and their implications while votes are still being counted. Know who’s winning before everyone else!

A Rematch, a Repeal Delayed and an Interpretation Law Struck Down

HD47: Austin conservative activist and 2016 candidate and former legislative chief of staff Jay Wiley announced he would seek a primary rematch against Rep. Paul Workman (R-Austin). Workman defeated Wiley, 61%-39%, in the 2016 Republican primary.

HD62: Sherman council member and creative consultant Kevin Couch is considering challenging Rep. Larry Phillips (R-Sherman) in the Republican primary, reported the Texas Tribune’s Patrick Svitek. Couch was first elected to an at-large position on the city council in November 2015, and his current term expires in November 2018. He would be required to resign if he were to become a candidate for the Legislature.

Repealed, But Not Today: The San Antonio Express-News’s Peggy Fikac reported that election officials will be required to assist voters in nursing facilities for the November 2017 election because the bill repealing that law takes effect too late. Senate Bill 5, passed during the just concluded special session and signed into law by Gov. Abbott, is intended to crack down on mail-ballot fraud. It included a provision repealing a bill passed during the regular session, and also signed into law by Abbott, that requires county election officials to send poll workers to nursing facilities from which they receive five or more requests for mail-in ballots. That law takes effect September 1. Senate Bill 5 takes effect December 1, leaving the provisions of House Bill 658 in place for any election held between September 1 and November 30, 2017.

Interpretation Law Struck Down: A federal appellate panel has affirmed a lower court’s decision to strike down a Texas law requiring interpreters helping someone cast a ballot also be registered to vote in the same county. The court ruled that the requirement violates a provision of the federal Voting Rights Act, which enables voters to choose an interpreter of their choice, provided they are not their employers or union leaders. The case arose from a Bengali-speaking Williamson Co. voter whose bilingual son was not allowed to help her interpret her ballot in 2014 because he was registered to vote in Travis Co.

©2017 Texas Election Source LLC

Election News for August 16

Redistricting: Gov. Greg Abbott announced the state will appeal yesterday’s federal district court ruling invalidating two congressional districts directly to the U.S. Supreme Court. The appeal is expected to be filed this week, unless the state requests and is granted an extension of a three-day deadline for action included in the ruling.

CD14: League City attorney Lawrence Tylka established a campaign committee for a potential challenge of U.S. Rep. Randy Weber (R-Pearland) as a Democrat.

CD30: U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Dallas) confirmed that she would seek re-election, formally ending months of speculation. She was first elected in 1992.

CD31: U.S. Rep. John Carter (R-Round Rock) announced he would seek re-election.

©2017 Texas Election Source LLC

Local Election News for August 16

Filing for local offices on the November 2017 ballot continues through August 21.

Edinburg: Council member and Mayor Pro Tem J.R. Betancourt announced he would not seek re-election. He is the second incumbent not seeking re-election. Council member Richard Molina is challenging Mayor Richard Garcia in the November election.

Subscribers can read the rest of this report.

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Jay Howard

Partner, HillCo Partners

Texas Election Source is my go-to resource for all election returns. Jeff’s experience in the legislative process and his knowledge of candidates make his analyses invaluable to legislative professionals as well as outside observers.

Monty Wynn

Assistant Director of Legislative Services, Texas Municipal League

Two Congressional Districts Invalidated, Must Be Redrawn

Two of the state’s congressional districts were struck down by a unanimous panel of federal judges and must be redrawn: CD27, currently represented by U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Corpus Christi), and CD35, currently represented by U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Austin).

Judges determined that Hispanic/Latino voters in CD27 were “intentionally deprived of their opportunity to elect a candidate of their choice” while CD35 was drawn predominantly on the basis of race. “The racially discriminatory intent and effects … previously found in the 2011 plans carry over into the 2013 plans where those district lines remain unchanged,” the court wrote in its 107-page ruling.

However, the court did not strike down other districts challenged by the suit’s plaintiffs. In the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, the court found that intentional discrimination woven into the 2011 plan was remediated in the 2013 plan, and plaintiffs failed to prove “that any alleged cracking and packing that remains in DFW was intentionally dilutive.” The court rejected claims against Houston-area districts.

Importantly, the court determined that CD23, currently represented by U.S. Rep. Will Hurd (R-San Antonio), “is a Latino opportunity district and there is no evidence of intentional discrimination/dilution.”

The court ordered the Office of the Attorney General to tell the court within three business days whether the Legislature intends to take up redistricting. The Legislature has adjourned sine die, and the state has previously informed the court that the Legislature would not address the subject. Absent legislative action, the Court will hold a hearing to consider remedial plans beginning September 5.

The ruling of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas does not affect state House districts, and their status remains unresolved.

©2017 Texas Election Source LLC

Election News for August 15

Special Session: The First Called Session of the Texas Legislature has adjourned sine die. Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law a bill increasing penalties for committing mail-ballot fraud. Senate Bill 5 by Sen. Kelly Hancock (R-North Richland Hills) also repeals a bill, which Abbott previously signed into law, passed during the regular session that permitted election officials to assist voters at nursing facilities.

GOV: Texas resident Daniel Ray Wooten established a campaign committee for a potential challenge of Gov. Greg Abbott (R). We were unable to determine his hometown, profession or political affiliation definitively.

SD8: Richardson transgender activist Pamela Curry established a campaign committee and announced she would seek the Democratic nomination for the seat expected to be vacated by Sen. Van Taylor (R-Plano), who is expected to run for Congress.

HD52: Round Rock medical researcher Christopher Ward established a campaign committee for a potential primary challenge of Rep. Larry Gonzales (R-Round Rock). In a Facebook post discussing the filing, Ward said the “path to fiscal responsibility, protection of property rights, and accountability will be cleared once again.” His Facebook page includes a number of shares from Empower Texans and the Texas Public Policy Foundation.

See our 2018 Challengers page for all 235 challengers and open-seat candidates who we confirm have taken a formal step toward running for state and federal office from Texas in 2018.

Erath Co.: County Judge Tab Thompson and County Treasurer Donna Kelly announced they would not seek re-election.

©2017 Texas Election Source LLC

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Election News for August 10

GOV: Austin musician Thor Harris announced on Twitter that he would challenge Gov. Greg Abbott (R) but did not indicate a political affiliation.

House Speaker: Rep. Tan Parker (R-Flower Mound), chair of the House Republican Caucus, has called a meeting of the caucus for next Thursday to discuss the way the Speaker is elected. Last week, the House Freedom Caucus wrote to Parker asking for such a meeting.

Special Session: The House gave final approval to a bill intended to reduce mail-in ballot fraud. Senate Bill 5 by Sen. Kelly Hancock (R-North Richland Hills) would increase penalties for voter fraud committed via mail-in ballots, particularly for individuals convicted of prior or concurrent election fraud offenses or the victim was a voter aged 65 or older. The bill included an amendment repealing provisions passed during the regular session that permit election officials to provide assistance at nursing facilities. Five Democrats voted for the bill.

Eye on 2020: Julián Castro, former mayor of San Antonio and U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary, has established a federal committee that could play a role in a potential 2020 presidential bid. The Opportunity First PAC is able to support or oppose federal candidates, including, potentially, Castro.

©2017 Texas Election Source LLC

Election News for August 9

Special Session: The House, by a 90-37 vote, gave preliminary approval to a bill intended to reduce mail-in ballot fraud. Senate Bill 5 by Sen. Kelly Hancock (R-North Richland Hills) would increase penalties for voter fraud committed via mail-in ballots, particularly for individuals convicted of prior or concurrent election fraud offenses or the victim was a voter aged 65 or older. The bill included an amendment repealing provisions passed during the regular session that permit election officials to provide assistance at nursing facilities. Rep. Craig Goldman (R-Fort Worth), the House sponsor of Senate Bill 5, said the nursing facility provisions would have stretched the resources of county election administrators. “It’s basically an unfunded mandate,” he said during House debate on his amendment.

SC4: District Judge R.K. Sandill announced he would challenge Justice John Devine (R) as a Democrat. He was first elected to the 127th District Court in Harris Co. in 2008 and was re-elected in 2012 and 2016. According to his web site, Sandill was the first person of South Asian descent to be elected a district judge in Texas.

See our 2018 Challengers page for all 232 challengers and open-seat candidates who we confirm have taken a formal step toward running for state and federal office from Texas in 2018.

Subscribers can read the rest of this report.

Election News for August 7 and 8

HD142: Houston resident Richard Bonton established a campaign committee for a potential primary challenge of Rep. Harold Dutton (D-Houston).

CD10: Austin resident Richie DeGrow established a campaign committee for a potential challenge of U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Austin) as a Democrat.

See our 2018 Challengers page for all 230 challengers and open-seat candidates who we confirm have taken a formal step toward running for state and federal office from Texas in 2018.

Since yesterday’s article did not get emailed to all of our subscribers, we reprint it below:

Redistricting: Parties in the ongoing lawsuit over the state’s congressional and house districts were advised to keep September 5-8 open for a potential remedial hearing. The court also asked attorneys representing the state to provide their availability later in the month.

Special Session: On party-line votes, the House Elections Committee approved two bills intended to reduce mail-in ballot fraud. Senate Bill 5 by Sen. Kelly Hancock (R-North Richland Hills) would increase penalties for voter fraud committed via mail-in ballots, particularly for individuals convicted of prior or concurrent election fraud offenses or the victim was a voter aged 65 or older. House Bill 184 by Rep. Craig Goldman (R-Fort Worth) is similar to Senate Bill 5 but would repeal a law passed during the regular session giving priority to certain disabled voters and permitting elections officials to assist voters in nursing facilities.

SD17: Houston attorney and progressive activist Fran Watson established a campaign committee for a potential challenge of Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston) as a Democrat. Watson is the immediate past president of the Houston GLBT Political Caucus.

Rowlett: Early voting began today for the August 26 special election to fill the unexpired term of Mayor Todd Gottel, who is leaving office to run for Dallas Co. Commissioner, and the three city council members seeking his chair. Council members Tammy Dana-Bashian (P2), Bruce Hargrave (P3) and Robbert van Bloemendaal (P1) are among the five candidates running for mayor, which resulted in special elections for their seats. All are serving until successors are elected. Collectively, the likely few voters who turn out to cast ballots will decide a majority of the council.

©2017 Texas Election Source LLC

Election News for August 7

Redistricting: Parties in the ongoing lawsuit over the state’s congressional and house districts were advised to keep September 5-8 open for a potential remedial hearing. The court also asked attorneys representing the state to provide their availability later in the month.

Special Session: On party-line votes, the House Elections Committee approved two bills intended to reduce mail-in ballot fraud. Senate Bill 5 by Sen. Kelly Hancock (R-North Richland Hills) would increase penalties for voter fraud committed via mail-in ballots, particularly for individuals convicted of prior or concurrent election fraud offenses or the victim was a voter aged 65 or older. House Bill 184 by Rep. Craig Goldman (R-Fort Worth) is similar to Senate Bill 5 but would repeal a law passed during the regular session giving priority to certain disabled voters and permitting elections officials to assist voters in nursing facilities.

SD17: Houston attorney and progressive activist Fran Watson established a campaign committee for a potential challenge of Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston) as a Democrat. Watson is the immediate past president of the Houston GLBT Political Caucus.

See our 2018 Challengers page for all 228 challengers and open-seat candidates who we confirm have taken a formal step toward running for state and federal office from Texas in 2018.

Rowlett: Early voting begins tomorrow for the August 26 special election to fill the unexpired term of Mayor Todd Gottel, who is leaving office to run for Dallas Co. Commissioner, and the three city council members seeking his chair. Council members Tammy Dana-Bashian (P2), Bruce Hargrave (P3) and Robbert van Bloemendaal (P1) are among the five candidates running for mayor, which resulted in special elections for their seats. All are serving until successors are elected. Collectively, the likely few voters who turn out to cast ballots will decide a majority of the council.

©2017 Texas Election Source LLC

Six New Challengers Establish Campaign Committees

HD87: Panhandle resident and Fritch city manager Drew Brassfield established a campaign committee for a potential primary challenge of Rep. Four Price (R-Amarillo).

HD109: Glenn Heights resident Casey Littlejohn established a campaign committee for a potential challenge of Rep. Helen Giddings (D-Dallas) as a Republican.

HD127: Humble resident Kyle Brandon Stephenson established a campaign committee for a potential state representative race but did not indicate which seat he may seek. According to voter registration records, Stephenson’s residence is located in HD127, which is represented by Rep. Dan Huberty (R-Humble). We were unable to determine his profession and political affiliation conclusively.

Subscribers can read the rest of this report.

Subscribers have complete access to earlier posts and all archives.

Jeff Blaylock

Jeff Blaylock

Publisher

Jeff is a political junkie, longtime public policy wonk and former Texas Legislature staffer who has worked political campaigns in Texas and several other states, ranging from school boards to legislators to governors to referenda. He is a public and government affairs consultant based in Austin, Texas, who offers his keen insights about Lone Star State politics as Texas Election Source.

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