Number of current members of the Texas Legislature who have not had a primary opponent for their current office in at least eight years, despite an overall rise in the number of contested primaries for legislative seats. Ten members’ last primary challenge was in 2000 or earlier, but at least one of those longtime safe (from primary challengers) members is likely getting “primaried.”

Rep. Dennis Bonnen (R-Angleton), whose last primary race was in 2000, is being challenged by Markham pastor Damon Rambo.

Getting “primaried” has become more common in the last decade, particularly within the Republican Party’s legislative ranks, nearly as many as the previous seven election cycles combined.



Since 2010, there have been 203 contested Republican primary nominations and 69 contested Democratic nominations. Yet, one out of every six current members – and more than half of all members with at least eight years of tenure – have not had a primary opponent since at least 2008.

Members Whose Last Contested* Primary Was at Least Eight Years Ago

Prior to 1992Rep. Tom Craddick (R-Midland), Rep. John Smithee (R-Amarillo)

1992 – Sen. Jane Nelson* (R-Flower Mound), Sen. Royce West* (D-Dallas)

1994 – Rep. Yvonne Davis (D-Dallas)

1998 – Rep. Geanie Morrison (R-Victoria), Rep. Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston)

2000 – Rep. Dennis Bonnen (R-Angleton), Rep. Joe Deshotel* (D-Beaumont), Rep. Gary Elkins (R-Houston)

2002 – Rep. Ryan Guillen (D-Rio Grande City), Sen. Chuy Hinojosa* (D-McAllen), Rep. Eddie Rodriguez (D-Austin)

2004 – Rep. Rafael Anchia* (D-Dallas), Rep. Harold Dutton (D-Houston), Rep. Abel Herrero (D-Corpus Christi)

2006 – Rep. Ana Hernandez (D-Houston), Rep. Donna Howard (D-Austin), Rep. Eddie Lucio III (D-Brownsville), Rep. Tan Parker (R-Flower Mound), Rep. Larry Phillips (R-Sherman), Rep. Richard Raymond (D-Laredo), Sen. Kirk Watson* (D-Austin), Rep. John Zerwas (R-Richmond)

2008 – Rep. Roberto Alonzo (D-Dallas), Rep. Dawnna Dukes (D-Austin), Rep. Roland Gutierrez* (D-San Antonio), Rep. Todd Hunter* (R-Corpus Christi), Rep. Phil King (R-Weatherford), Rep. Joe Moody (D-El Paso), Rep. Armando Walle (D-Houston), Sen. Judith Zaffirini (D-Laredo)

* Uncontested in the primary prior to first election to the House and uncontested since.

At least one other on this list is already facing a primary challenge. Rep. Dawnna Dukes (D-Austin) has at last five potential primary challengers. They were all willing to run in a special election upon a resignation that did not occur, and they have continued their campaign activities. Reps. Richard Raymond (D-Laredo) and John Zerwas (R-Richmond) may already have primary challengers as well.

©2017 Texas Election Source LLC