Speaker Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont) appointed Rep. Briscoe Cain (R-Deer Park) to chair the Committee on Elections. Jessica González (D-Dallas) was appointed vice-chair. Phelan appointed Reps. Michelle Beckley (D-Carrollton), John Bucy (D-Cedar Park), Travis Clardy (R-Nacogdoches), Art Fierro (D-El Paso), Jacey Jetton (R-Richmond), Mike Schofield (R-Katy) and Valoree Swanson (R-Spring) to the committee.

Bucy, Cain, Fierro and Swanson served on the committee during the 86th Legislature when it was chaired by Rep. Stephanie Klick (R-Fort Worth).

Cain filed three bills related to elections before the session started.

  • House Bill 329 would require the Secretary of State to use information from the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security and the Texas Dept. of Safety to cancel the voter registrations of non-citizens and establish an exam for election judges, among other provisions.
  • House Bill 330 would require a supermajority vote for bond elections, require cities entirely located within certain counties to contract with the county for election service, establish new penalties and increase others for election law violations and establish new procedures for early voting at residential care facilities, among other provisions.
  • House Bill 335 establishes penalties for voter registrars who fail to cancel the registrations of non-citizens, among other provisions.

On November 6, in a now-deleted tweet with the hashtag #lawyersfortrump, Cain said he was flying to Philadelphia to “fight for a fair and honest election in Pennsylvania.”

Phelan tapped Rep. Todd Hunter (R-Corpus Christi) to chair the Redistricting Committee, and he selected Rep. Toni Rose (D-Dallas) as vice-chair. Reps. Rafael Anchia (D-Dallas), Craig Goldman (R-Fort Worth), Ryan Guillen (D-Rio Grande City), Jetton, Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa), Ina Minjarez (D-San Antonio), Joe Moody (D-El Paso), Geanie Morrison (R-Victoria), Andrew Murr (R-Junction), Schofield, Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston), Chris Turner (D-Fort Worth) and James White (R-Hillister) will serve on the committee.

HD68 special: Gov. Greg Abbott (R) ordered a February 23 runoff election for the unexpired House term of Sen. Drew Springer (R-Muenster). Jacksboro ISD trustee and attorney David Spiller (R) faces Nocona boot manufacturer Craig Carter (R). An abbreviated early voting period begins February 16.

UH Poll: Two thirds of Republic respondents to the latest Univ. of Houston Hobby School poll (PDF) strongly agree “there was widespread voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election.” Just one of six Republicans disagree (7%) or strongly disagree (10%). Among Democrats, 13% agree there was widespread fraud while 87% disagree, 78% strongly. Independents are split with 38% strongly agreeing and 43% strongly disagreeing.

Nearly a third of Republicans strongly support (18%) or somewhat support (14%) “the protest and storming of the Capitol on January 6.” Just 15% of independents and 8% of Democrats supported the protest and storming of the U.S. Capitol.

In general, respondents had net-negative sentiment toward nearly a dozen state and national political figures. Gov. Greg Abbott’s (R) favorability rating was 39/40, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s (R) was 27/35, U.S. Sen. John Cornyn’s (R) rating was 23/44 and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R) was 38/47. Former President Trump’s rating was 39/51 while President Biden’s rating was 41/42. Former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke’s (D-El Paso) rating was 35/41.

DeSoto: Former council member Rachel Proctor won a special election over council member Kenzie Moore III, 61%-39%, to win the unexpired term of the late Curtistene McCowan, who passed away in October. Leticia Hughes won a three-way special election for Moore’s seat with 57% of the vote.

San Antonio: Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff (D) endorsed Mayor Ron Nirenberg for re-election.

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