Battleground 2020Elections 2020IssuesTexas Battleground: Dallas-Area House District 108 Top Democrat Target in 2020

Only nine seats shy of the majority in the state house, Texas Democrats will attempt to flip this Dallas and Highland Park district next year.
July 1, 2019

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During the 2018 general election, four races in Texas could not immediately be called on election night as the results were simply too close. 

One of those was state House District 108, a district that includes a large swath of downtown Dallas and all of both Highland Park and University Park. 

Incumbent Rep. Morgan Meyer (R-Dallas) drew a formidable challenger in Democrat Joanna Cattanach, and it became clear that regardless who the winner turned out to be, the Dallas district would be a clear battleground come 2020.

After the race was finally called nearly a month later, Meyer prevailed over Cattanach with 50.1 percent of the vote and a razor-thin 220 vote margin

The race was a sharp contrast to previous election years. 

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In fact, there wasn’t even a Democrat on the ballot running against Meyer in 2016. That year, Meyer defeated his libertarian opponent by a whopping 45-point margin.

In 2014, Meyer did draw a Democrat opponent. However, he won by almost 9,000 votes and a convincing 21-point margin.

Despite the competitiveness of the 2018 election, Meyer returned to the statehouse for a third term and will be running to secure a fourth. 

Joanna Cattanach kicked off her official bid for a rematch against Meyer on June 20. She is married with two children and has worked as a journalism instructor at Dallas County Community College and the University of North Texas.

However, she will have company in the Democratic primary as several challengers have thrown their hats in the ring including Tom Ervin and Shawn Terry.

Ervin serves as a Democratic precinct chair in Dallas County. On his website, Ervin emphasizes the prominence of the women who worked with him on his campaign for the local position, stating, “I am proud and honored that my earliest supporters are strong women activists who also knocked on thousands of doors.”

Terry, an investment banking executive, posted a statement about his entrance into the race on Facebook. 

“I’m confident we will wage a winning campaign and I will be able to help improve our schools, broaden access to health care and help Texas pass an anti-discrimination bill!”

In 1998, Terry ran for Congressional District 24 as a Republican and lost to Democrat incumbent Rep. Martin Frost. That seat is currently held by Rep. Kenny Marchant (R-TX-24) and is one of the six districts the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has publicly chosen to target in Texas during the next election cycle. 

House District 108 lies entirely within the confines of Dallas County. Southern Methodist University also sits right in the heart of the district. 

According to data compiled by the Texas Legislative Council, roughly 65 percent of residents in HD 108 over the age of 25 have a bachelor’s degree or higher. Almost 40 percent of households in the district have annual incomes of $100,000 or more.

This past session, Meyer dropped on Mark Jones’ Rice University rankings from 2017, ranking as the seventh most liberal Republican in the Texas House. 

Meyer chaired the House Committee on General Investigating during the 86th Legislature. He is married with three children and works as a lawyer for Wick Phillips specializing in commercial litigation. 


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McKenzie DiLullo

McKenzie DiLullo serves as Senior Editor and resident plate-spinner for The Texan. Previously, she worked as State Representative Kyle Biedermann’s Capitol Director during the 85th legislative session before moving to Fort Worth to manage Senator Konni Burton’s campaign. In her free time, you might find her enjoying dog memes, staring at mountains, or proctoring personality tests.