Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr. (D-Brownsville) and Rep. John Frullo (R-Lubbock) announced they would not seek re-election, and Rep. Eddie Rodriguez (D-Austin) announced he is running for Congress.
Lucio’s decision to retire reverses his previous announcement he would seek another term and marks the end of a legislative career that began with his election to the House in 1986. He was first elected to the Senate in 1990 and re-elected 10 times. After defeating eventual Sen. Chuy Hinojosa (D-McAllen) in the 1992 Democratic primary and eventual Rep. Miguel Wise (D-Weslaco) in the 1994 primary, Lucio did not face opposition from his own party or Republicans until 2016. In 2020, he came up just short of a majority (49.8%) and was forced into a Democratic runoff against Sara Stapleton-Barrera, which he won, 54%-46%.
Stapleton-Barrera, McAllen attorney Morgan LaMantia and Rep. Alex Dominguez (D-Brownville) are considering running for open SD27 (Lean D). Many Capitol insiders had long expected Rep. Eddie Lucio III (D-Brownsville) would succeed his father, but the younger Lucio previously announced he was retiring from the legislature and not planning on seeking elective office in 2022. “I wish I could hand him the baton,” the elder Lucio said during his announcement event in Harlingen. “But he’s got important things to do.”
Frullo was first elected in 2010 and got a head start on his classmates because he also won a concurrent special election for the last two months of former Rep. Carl Isett’s (R-Lubbock) unexpired term. He was re-elected five times.
Rodriguez was first elected in 2002 and won re-election nine times. He sought a promotion to the Senate in 2020 via special election, in which he finished second (34%) behind then-Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt (49.7%). Rodriguez withdrew from the runoff and continued his re-election campaign.
They become the fourth senator and 18th and 19th House members elected to the 87th Legislature who will not be returning. Sen. Dawn Buckingham (R-Lakeway) is running for Land Commissioner. Sens. Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound) and Kel Seliger (R-Amarillo) are retiring.
Reps. Phil King (R-Weatherford), Matt Krause (R-Fort Worth), Tan Parker (R-Flower Mound) and James White (R-Hillister) are seeking other offices. Rep. Celia Israel (D-Austin) is exploring a run for mayor. Rep. Michelle Beckley (D-Carrollton) was running for Congress but suspended her campaign. Reps. Kyle Biedermann (R-Fredericksburg), Dan Huberty (R-Humble), Lyle Larson (R-San Antonio), Ben Leman (R-Iola), Eddie Lucio III (D-Brownsville), Jim Murphy (R-Houston), Chris Paddie (R-Marshall), Scott Sanford (R-McKinney) and John Turner (D-Dallas) are retiring. Former Rep. Jake Ellzey (R-Waxahachie) is now in Congress, and former Rep. Leo Pacheco (D-San Antonio) resigned.
HD17 (Safe R): McDade limited government advocate and retired oil and gas IT professional Tom Glass announced he would challenge Rep. John Cyrier (R-Lockhart) in the Republican primary. The longtime Libertarian lost a 2018 race for SD7 (2%) and unsuccessfully sought the party’s nomination for attorney general in 2014, the year his wife Kathie was the 2014 Libertarian nominee for governor.
HD19 open (Safe R): Marble Falls conservative activist Nubia Devine announced she would run as a Republican for the newly drawn open seat including Blanco, Burnet, Gillespie, Kendall and western Travis Cos. She is the wife of Supreme Court Justice John Devine (R).
HD51 open (Safe D): Austin attorney Lulu Flores announced she would run as a Democrat for the seat being vacated by Rep. Eddie Rodriguez (D-Austin). She had been considering the race ever since Rodriguez first indicated he was considering a run for Congress. Flores sought the seat in 2002, losing the Democratic runoff to Rodriguez by 120 votes.
HD80 (Toss Up): Rep. Tracy King (D-Batesville) has scheduled a re-election campaign kickoff event next week in Uvalde.
TBD: Grapevine communications executive and Republican precinct chair Mitchell Ryan established a campaign committee for an unspecified state office. Grapevine is entirely located in open SD12 (Likely R), and all but a tiny portion is located in HD98 (Safe R), which is currently represented by Rep. Giovanni Capriglione (R-Southlake).
CD35 open (Safe D): Rep. Eddie Rodriguez (D-Austin) 793273 and Austin council member Greg Casar announced they would run for the seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Austin), who is running in adjacent CD37. Both had been exploring the race. Casar’s announcement triggered the constitutional resign-to-run provision. A special election will be required to fill the remainder of his council term. He can remain on the council until a successor is elected.
Voting Rights Act Suit: The federal government filed suit (PDF) against the state seeking to enjoin the enforcement of several provisions of the recently passed election law. Specifically, the suit challenges provisions requiring the rejection of absentee ballots if the voter does not include a driver’s license number or similarly identifying number and provisions limiting assistance that can be provided to voters.
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