Dallas was a cradle for the modern Republican Party. Captain J.F. Lucey, a Dallas oilman and nationally prominent Republican, founded the Republican Club of Texas in 1947, which was the forerunner of the current Republican Party of Texas. Republican gubernatorial nominee Jack Cox carried the county in 1962, and presidential nominee Richard Nixon won Dallas Co. in 1968. In 1966, Dallas Co. elected Sen. Ike Harris (R-Dallas), who was one of just two Republicans to enter a chamber that, the session before, had been entirely Democratic.
In 1972, six Republican freshmen were elected from Dallas Co., representing half of all incoming Republicans in a year that saw their caucus grow to 17 members from just five. Among the existing five were Rep. Fred Agnich (R-Dallas), who was first elected two years earlier. In the Senate, the lone Republican had been Sen. Ike Harris (R-Dallas) until a pair of Republicans were elected from Fort Worth and Houston.
Since then, Dallas Co. has sent at least seven Republicans to the Texas House, and SD16 has been held by a Dallas Co. Republican since Sen. John Leedom (R-Dallas) was elected in 1980.
There will be just two Republicans representing Dallas Co. in the Texas House of Representatives next year, and Nathan Johnson ended the Republicans’ 38-year tenure in SD16.
Reps. Angie Chen Button (R-Garland) and Morgan Meyer (R-Dallas) survived a night that saw three Republican incumbents defeated and two open seats flip to the Democrats. Two of those three incumbents – Reps. Rodney Anderson (R-Grand Prairie) and Matt Rinaldi (R-Irving) – and Rep. Cindy Burkett (R-Sunnyvale), who was not on the ballot this year, survived in 2016 despite facing a deficit in straight-party voting.
They and other Republicans, including Rep. Linda Koop (R-Dallas), were overwhelmed by straight-party deficits this year.
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