On a party-line vote, the House Redistricting Committee approved House Bill 1 by Rep. Todd Hunter (R-Corpus Christi), the proposed state House map, with amendments. The map did not change much after considering dozens of amendments, but there were a couple of significant changes:

  • In Bell Co., HD54 circumnavigates HD55, which encompasses most of Belton, Harker Heights and Temple. HD54 includes most of Killeen and the rural areas of the county.
  • In Collin Co., open HD70 has shifted to include largely Democratic precincts in the southwestern portion of the county, which makes HD66 and HD67 friendlier to their Republican incumbents.

The bill moves on to the full House via the Calendars Committee.

LTGOV: Texas Democratic Party chair Gilberto Hinojosa endorsed Mike Collier. The state chair seldom endorses in contested primary races.

SD24 open: Former President Trump endorsed former Sen. Pete Flores (R-Pleasanton).

SD31: Former President Trump endorsed primary challenger Kevin Sparks over Sen. Kel Seliger (R-Amarillo), who Trump described in a statement as “the Texas version of Mitt Romney (and that is not good!)”

HD1: Paris businessman and Lamar Co. Republican chair Carroll Null established a campaign committee for a potential primary challenge of Rep. Gary VanDeaver (R-New Boston).

HD50 open: Austin political consultant and LGBTQ+ advocate Mike Hendrix established a campaign committee for a potential run for the seat being vacated by Rep. Celia Israel (D-Austin) as a Democrat. He campaigned for HD46 in 2017 but ultimately did not file for the seat.

HD65 open: Texans for Lawsuit Reform PAC endorsed Kronda Thimesch (R). The group supported her unsuccessful 2020 challenge of Rep. Michelle Beckley (D-Carrollton), who is running for Congress in 2022.

HD122/Correction: Rep. Lyle Larson (R-San Antonio) said he is “going to wait to make a decision on running for [HD]122 or another office or find a beach or some mountains” until after a final House map is approved.

San Antonio businessman, State Republican Executive Committee member and former Bexar Co. Republican chair Mark Dorazio established a campaign committee for a potential primary challenge of Larson or run for the open seat.

It appears we have inadvertently muddied the intentions of former San Antonio council member Elisa Chan with respect to the race for HD122. We have been advised her entry remains contingent on whether Larson seeks re-election. If he were to retire, then she would enter the race.

In that same report, we erroneously stated Chan resigned during her second council term to run for Senate. It was during her third term. We regret the error and have corrected the online version of that report.

Former Bexar Co. Dist. Atty. Nico LaHood (D while in office) is also considering entering the Republican primary for the seat.

New Democratic Coalition: The Communications Workers of America, Texas Organizing Project and Working Families Party announced the formation of Texans for Better Dems Coalition. “Not all Democratic legislators reflect the values and beliefs of what we have fought for,” the group said in a statement. The group’s PAC has more than $250K to “target districts where Democratic House and Senate members have shown that they can’t be trusted.”

CD3: Allen M&A advisor Suzanne Harp announced she would challenge U.S. Rep. Van Taylor (R-Plano) in the Republican primary. In a statement, Harp said Taylor’s vote “for Nancy Pelosi’ January 6th commission witch hunt” incited her to run against him.

CD34 open: Brownsville oncologist Laura Cisneros established a campaign committee for a potential run for the seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela (D-Brownsville) as a Democrat.

CD37 open: Rep. Gina Hinojosa (D-Austin) said “now is not the time” to make any decision about running for Congress. “We are knee deep in the political fight of our lives and we have a ways to go,” Hinojosa posted on Facebook. “There will be a time for me and anyone else who wants to consider a congressional office.”

CD38 open: U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R) endorsed Wesley Hunt (R).

Election “Audits”: The Senate again passed legislation requiring various “audits” and “reviews” of, and “explanations” from, county election officials. Senate Bill 47 by Sen. Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston) is substantially similar to his bill which passed the Senate during the final days of the second special session. Senate Bill 47 passed on a 17-14 vote with all Republicans voting in favor except Sen. Kel Seliger (R-Amarillo) and all Democrats opposed. It heads to the House.

Illegal voting: The Senate, on a party-line vote, approved a bill restoring the penalties for illegal voting to the current law levels, undoing a provision of legislation passed during the first special session. Senate Bill 10 by Sen. Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola) once again makes illegal voting a felony instead of a misdemeanor, as enacted earlier this year.

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