Redistricting: The U.S. Supreme Court will once again consider the state’s redistricting case at its conference on Friday. Meanwhile, a three-judge federal panel ruled that Tennessee’s congressional map is an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander and ordered new maps be drawn for the 2018 election. The North Carolina General Assembly has 20 days to produce new maps. The current plan – itself a remedial plan after the previous plan was ruled an unconstitutional racial gerrymander – produced seats held by 10 Republicans and three Democrats. Keep in mind that a Wisconsin partisan gerrymandering case is still pending at the U.S. Supreme Court. We’ll have more on the North Carolina case later this week.

GOV: Democratic candidate Demetria Smith has been declared ineligible after her filing fee check bounced. With the filing deadline long passed, Smith has no way to correct the problem. Smith participated in the Tom Green Co. Democratic Party’s candidate forum yesterday in San Angelo. Nine Democrats remain in the race to challenge Gov. Greg Abbott (R).

LTGOV: Republican challenger Scott Milder challenged Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) to a series of public forums, and Patrick’s camp rejected the idea as the “unmistakable gasps of an attention-starved candidate.”

HD23: Gov. Greg Abbott endorsed challenger Mayes Middleton over Rep. Wayne Faircloth (R-Dickinson). “We need real leaders who will work with me to advance a conservative agenda that will benefit every Texan,” Abbott said in a video posted to his campaign’s Twitter feed. “I know he will fight along my side.” Middleton is the second challenger running against an incumbent republican Abbott has endorsed. He previously endorsed Susanna Dokupil, who is challenging Rep. Sarah Davis’s (R-Houston).

HD88: The Texas Oil & Gas Assoc. Good Government Committee endorsed Rep. Ken King (R-Canadian).

Trey Martinez Fischer

Trey Martinez Fischer

Rep. Diana Arevalo

Rep. Diana

HD117: The Trey Martinez Fischer (D-San Antonio) campaign released a list of 17 sitting House members who are endorsing his comeback bid against Rep. Diana Arévalo (D-San Antonio). The list includes four of Arévalo’s Bexar Co. colleagues: Reps. Philip Cortez (D-San Antonio), Roland Gutierrez (D-San Antonio), Ina Minjarez (D-San Antonio) and Justin Rodriguez (D-San Antonio). Arévalo has been endorsed by Sen. Jose Menendez (D-San Antonio), Rep. Barbara Gervin-Hawkins (D-San Antonio) and former Sen. Leticia Van de Putte (D-San Antonio).

CD7: Rep. Armando Walle (D-Houston) endorsed Alex Triantaphyllis for the Democratic nomination to challenge U.S. Rep. John Culberson (R-Houston).

CD21 open: At least 14 of the 18 candidates seeking the Republican nomination to succeed the retiring U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith (R-San Antonio) are expected to speak at the San Antonio Republican Women’s meeting on Thursday.

CD23: The Jay Hulings campaign announced that he raised $210K during the fourth quarter of 2017. Hulings raised $200K during the third quarter. Meanwhile, Rep. Ina Minjarez endorsed Gina Ortiz Jones in the Democratic primary. Hulings, Ortiz Jones and three other Democrats are seeking to challenge U.S. Rep. Will Hurd (R-San Antonio).

CD29 open: Democratic candidate Tahir Javed’s campaign said he raised more than $250K during the last three weeks of 2017, as he seeks the Democratic nomination to succeed the retiring U.S. Rep. Gene Green (D-Houston).

CD32: The Ed Meier campaign announced he raised more than $210K in the fourth quarter and will report having more than $500K on hand. He has raised nearly $800K since announcing his candidacy in early May. No challenger for a U.S. House seat in Texas has raised that much as of this point in the election cycle since Van Taylor in 2006. Taylor himself contributed $325K of the $792K he had raised for what would be an unsuccessful challenge of then-U.S. Rep. Chet Edwards (D-Waco).

Meanwhile, Democratic candidate Lilian Salerno said she raised more than $160K during the fourth quarter and will report having more than $150K on hand. She reported raising $151K during the third quarter.

Tarrant Co.: One of Justice of the Peace Russell Casey’s (R) primary challengers has accused him of forging signatures on his petition to get on the primary ballot, reported WFAA-TV’s Jason Whitley. Several voters listed on Casey’s petition have denied signing it. Casey denied the allegation. Casey has previously sued the Tarrant Co. Republican Party to have his challengers declared ineligible for submitting petitions with too few valid petitions. First elected in 2006, Casey was reprimanded last year by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct for an improper relationship with a former clerk. No Democrat is running for the seat.

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