Number of Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, Greens and independents who filed for offices we track – Texas statewide, legislative, State Board of Education and federal seats – for 2018, by far the highest number in at least 26 years.

The number of candidates seeking the offices we track increased 37% from two years ago, buoyed by reactions to the Trump presidency, seven congressional delegation retirements and record numbers of women and LGBTQ candidates:

  • More than 180 women running for statewide, legislative and congressional offices
  • Likely more than 120 people under the age of 35 are running for legislative and congressional offices, at least 96 of which are Democrats
  • At least 100 African-Americans running for offices we track; and
  • At least 25 openly LGBTQ candidates running for statewide, legislative and congressional offices, “roughly three times as many as in any previous election cycle in the state’s history,” according to OutSmart.

Twice as many Democrats (362) are running for offices we track this year than four years ago (181). The 344 Republicans running is slightly greater than four years ago (312) but short of the all-time high of 401 set in 2012. The number of Libertarian candidates (109) is just a bit higher than in 2014 (103), but the Green Party’s loss of automatic access caused its candidate number to plunge from 35 four years ago to just four this year. What is likely a record number of independents (68) filed declarations of intent, but history suggests most will not ultimately qualify for the ballot.

* Prior to 2014, the number of Libertarian and Green candidates shown is the number who appeared on the general election ballot. More candidates would have filed, but we do not have information about candidates who did not receive their respective party’s nominations prior to 2014.

There are 27% more Republicans seeking the offices we track than the average number from 1992 to 2016, but that number is dwarfed by the 68% more Democrats seeking office than their average number from 1992 to 2016.

The combination of seven open seats and the reaction to the Trump presidency produced a record number of congressional candidates. There are 274 people running for the U.S. Senate seat and 36 U.S. House seats, a 69% increase from 2014, which was the most recent U.S. Senate race. Of those, 107 are Republicans, tying the mark set in 2012. The 114 Democrats running for Congress is nearly triple the number who ran in 2014 and 41% higher than the previous best since 1992 (81 in 2012).

This is the first time in 12 election cycles that Democrats are contesting more offices than Republicans. A Democrat is running in every congressional district for the first time since at least 1992. Democrats are seeking 133 state House seats, the most since at least 1992 and 41 more than in 2014. Democrats are seeking 14 state Senate seats, the most for a non-redistricting year since at least 1992. Overall, Democrats are running for 91% of offices we track, the highest percentage for any party since at least 1992. They contested no more than 67% of offices we track during the last four election cycles.

Republicans are contesting 80% of offices we track, likely their third highest percentage ever, trailing only 2012 (84%) and 2010 (82%). Libertarians are running for 39% of the seats we track, a slight increase from 2016 but well below their pace from 2006 to 2014.

Not surprisingly, a (modern) record number of candidates has yielded a near-record number of unopposed candidates. Just 33 candidates for offices we track are unopposed in the primary and general elections, the third lowest figure since at least 1992. They may yet face write-in candidates, whose filing period does not begin until July 21. More than 85% of the offices we track are being contested by at least two candidates, the third highest such figure since 1992. The only two years with a higher percentage of contested offices – 2006 (86%) and 2008 (85%) – saw the two highest Libertarian candidate totals (142 and 138, respectively).

There are also more contested primaries for legislative seats than at any time during the last 26 years.

The number of contested Republican primaries for legislative seats is the second-highest since at least 1992 and the highest since then for any non-redistricting year. The number of contested Democratic primaries for legislative seats is the highest since at least 1992.

All of this Democratic enthusiasm at the state and legislative level did not translate to the local level. We will take a look at county office filings soon.

©2018 Texas Election Source LLC