For the second consecutive election cycle, more Texas statewide offices, legislative seats and congressional seats are being contested by Democrats than Republicans, according to our quick analysis of preliminary candidate filing data. Of the 211 such seats on the November 2020 ballot, at least one Democrat is running for 184 (87%) and at least one Republican is running for 178 (84%).

This represents a narrower gap than in 2018, when Democrats contested 91% of these races and Republicans ran for 80%. For Democrats, the current 87% is the second highest since at least 1992 and represents a 22 percentage point increase over four years ago. Republicans are right at their all-time record of 84%, which they set in 2012.

While competition between the parties has increased slightly, the number of filed candidates running as Democrats and Republicans is likely to end up significantly lower than in 2018. As of this point, we are aware of 335 Republicans and 324 Democrats who have filed for statewide, legislative and federal office. We expect those numbers to increase slightly, though that could be offset by any unreported withdrawals or declarations of ineligibility. Those numbers are off of the historic highs set by the Republicans in 2012 (401) and Democrats in 2018 (362).

We’ll have a complete analysis once all of the parties’ candidate rosters are set and the Secretary of State reports the independent candidates who have filed declarations of intent.

HD74 open: Eagle Pass Mayor Ramsey Cantu, who was declared ineligible to run by Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa, said in a video posted to his campaign’s Facebook page that he has pursued legal action to remain on the ballot. Hinojosa, acting on a complaint from the Eddie Morales campaign, determined that Cantu’s term as mayor would overlap his potential legislative term, making him ineligible to run.

City officials covered by the constitutional “resign to run” provision remain in office until a successor is named or, in this case, elected. The Eagle Pass council has previously approved a February 2020 special election to fill Cantu’s unexpired term, which expires in May 2021.

Houston: A new KHOU/Houston Public Media poll shows Mayor Sylvester Turner leading runoff challenger Tony Buzbee, 56%-34%, among “likely voters.” A small sample size (n=234) gives the poll a relatively high margin of error of ±6.4%, with greater errors among subgroups.

Somewhat surprisingly, only a slight majority of Bill King’s supporters are backing Buzbee (53%) while more than a third say they support Turner (37%), who defeated King in the 2015 runoff. Turner has the support of 92% of self-identified Democrats while Buzbee is supported by 75% of Republicans. Independents are split almost evenly, 43% for Buzbee and 42% for Turner.

Turner led Buzbee, 46%-28%, in the November general election.

Early voting in person has concluded for the December 14 runoff. A total of 115K people voted early in person or by mail through Wednesday, amounting to 10.6% of registered voters. The number of early votes cast is 24% higher than for the November 5 general election, and there at least 10K more ballots yet to be returned.

‘Late’ Filings

HD113: Former Dallas Co. Justice of the Peace Bill Metzger as a Republican (Bowers)

CD20: Registered nurse Tammy Orta as a Republican (Castro)

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