The Third Called Session of the 87th Texas Legislature convened today (Monday). The Senate Special Redistricting Committee will consider Senate Bill 4 by Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston), which would draw new Senate districts, and Senate Bill 7 by Huffman, which would draw new State Board of Education districts, in hearings on Friday and Saturday.

Early Voting: An abbreviated early voting period is underway for the HD10 special runoff and HD118 special elections. Election Day is September 28.

In Ellis Co., 855 people voted in person today (Monday) for the HD10 special runoff election. Just under 400 people voted in person today in Bexar Co. for the HD118 special election.

SD24 open: Former Sen. Pete Flores (R-Pleasanton) announced he would run for the seat being vacated by Sen. Dawn Buckingham (R-Lakeway), who endorsed Flores to succeed her. Flores won a 2018 special runoff election for SD19 and served the remainder of former Sen. Carlos Uresti’s (D-San Antonio) term. Flores lost his bid for a full term in the 2020 general election, 50%-47%, to then-Rep. Roland Gutierrez (D-San Antonio).

New Poll: A new Dallas Morning News/UT-Tyler poll (pdf) finds Gov. Greg Abbott (R) cruising toward renomination but facing some headwinds in the general election. Abbott would defeat former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-El Paso), 42%-37%, in a hypothetical horse race, but would trail actor Matthew McConaughey, 44%-35%. Neither is currently a candidate for the office, and McConaughey’s political leanings remain largely unknown.

Overall job performance or favorability ratings (with independents’ assessments in parentheses) continue to reflect a heavily partisan electorate:

  • President Biden 40/52 (32/53)
  • Greg Abbott 45/44 (30/54)
  • Gov. Dan Patrick 36/32 (24/38)
  • Gen. Ken Paxton 35/32 (24/40)
  • S. Sen. John Cornyn 38/26 (28/26)
  • S. Sen. Ted Cruz 44/42 (33/46)
  • Former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke 34/42 (27/41)

A third of respondents believe Paxton “has the integrity to serve as attorney general” while 31% disagree and 36% are unsure. Among Republicans, a slim majority either disagrees (16%) or is unsure (36%) of Paxton’s integrity, yet Paxton would receive a 43% plurality in the Republican primary. Land Comm. George P. Bush (R) is second at 28%, and former Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman (R) is a distant third at 5%. Just two in nine independents agree Paxton has the integrity to serve.

Half of respondents either believe “there is widespread voter fraud in Texas’s elections” (29%) or “don’t know” (21%). Among Republicans, 42% believe in widespread voter fraud and 23% don’t know. One if five independents believe in widespread voter fraud and 30% don’t know. More than half of Republicans say the state’s new election law would “increase your trust in the state government.” Majorities of Democrats, Republicans and independents oppose “audits” of ballots after an election.

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