Elections 2022Texas Congressional Races to Watch in 2022

From several open seats to a handful of competitive districts, here’s a list of Texas congressional races to watch in 2022.
December 30, 2021
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With redistricting and the candidate filing period now in the past, campaigns for the 2022 midterm elections are now in full gear.

Many of the previously competitive congressional districts saw partisan shifts through the redistricting process so that seats are less likely to swing to a different party.

The Texas Partisan Index (TPI) ratings for the new district boundaries, which looks at the median votes received by Republican and Democratic candidates in the 2018 and 2020 elections, shifted so that only three of the 38 districts have either party favored below 60 percent.

However, the unexpected can happen in elections. And before the general election, candidates in the two major parties will have to face off in primary contests that could be more competitive.

The primary election is slated for March 1, runoff elections for races where no candidate receives over 50 percent of the vote will be held on May 24, and the general election will be held on November 8.

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A list of each district’s TPI can be found here.

Republican Primaries:

  • TX-01
    • Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX-01) will be leaving his deep-red northeast Texas congressional district at the end of his term as he seeks instead to mount a primary challenge against Attorney General Ken Paxton.
    • Smith County Judge Nathaniel Moran launched a campaign with the endorsement of state Sen. Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola) but will face three other GOP candidates: Aditya Atholi, Joe McDaniel, and John Porro.
  • TX-08
    • After completing his final term on the House Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX-08) will be leaving his seat open for a fresh face in Congress.
    • The new congressional map places the 8th Congressional District in parts of Harris, Montgomery, Polk, San Jacinto, and Walker counties.
    • A wide swathe of candidates includes the Crenshaw-backed Morgan Luttrell and the Cruz-backed Christian Collins, as well as Betsy Bates, Candice Burrows, Jonathan Hullihan, Dan McKaughan, Jonathan Mitchell, Chuck Montgomery, Michael Philips, Jessica Wellington, and Taylor Whichard.
  • TX-15
    • In the 2020 election, Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX-15) was reelected in a close race against Republican opponent Monica De La Cruz. The new congressional map shifted the district even more favorable toward Republicans from a TPI of D-54% to D-52%.
    • Gonzalez is now seeking election in Texas’ 34th Congressional District, where Rep. Filemon Vela (D-TX-34) is retiring, leaving the 15th Congressional District open.
    • De La Cruz is running for TX-15 again and will face a crowded primary with Sara Canady, Aizar Cavazos, Vangela Churchill, Mauro Garza, Angelia Juarez, Ryan Krause, John Lerma, and Steve Schmuker.
  • TX-38
    • One of the two new congressional districts that Texas gained with the latest census numbers was placed in Harris County and drawn favorable to Republicans with a TPI of R-63%.
    • Wesley Hunt, the GOP challenger of Rep. Lizzie Fletcher (D-TX-07) in 2020, announced a run for the new district alongside Republicans Phil Covarrubias, Alex Cross, Brett Guillory, David Hogan, Roland Lopez, Damien Mockus, Mark Ramsey, and Richard Welch.

 

Republican Incumbents Facing Primary Challenges:

  • Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX-02)
    • Jameson Ellis
    • Martin Etwop
    • Milam Langella
  • Rep. Van Taylor (R-TX-03)
    • Suzanne Harp
    • Jeremy Ivanovskis
    • Keith Self
    • Rickey Williams
  • Rep. Pat Fallon (R-TX-04)
    • John Harper
    • Dan Thomas
  • Rep. Jake Ellzey (R-TX-06)
    • James Buford
  • Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX-12)
    • Ryan Catala
    • Alysia Rieg
  • Rep. Randy Weber (R-TX-14)
    • Keith Casey
    • Ruben Landon Dante
  • Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX-17)
    • Paulette Carson
    • Jason Nelson
    • Robert Rosenberger
  • Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX-21)
    • Michael Alexander French
    • Robert Lowry
    • Dana Zavorka
  • Rep. Troy Nehls (R-TX-22)
    • Gregory Jonathan Thorne
  • Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-TX-23)
    • Alma Arredondo-Lynch
    • Alia Garcia
  • Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX-26)
    • Brian Brazael
    • Vincent Gallo
    • Raven Harrison
    • Isaac Smith
  • Rep. Michael Cloud (R-TX-27)
    • Andrew Alvarez
    • A.J. Louderback
    • Chris Mapp
    • Eric Mireless
  • Rep. John Carter (R-TX-31)
    • Abhiram Garapati
    • Mike Williams

Democratic Primaries:

  • TX-15
    • With Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX-15) running in the neighboring 34th Congressional District — which is much safer for Democrats — the 15th Congressional District in South Texas will be left open.
    • Six Democrats filed for a place on the ballot: Eliza Alvarado, Julio Garza, Ruben Ramirez, John Villarreal Rigney, Vanessa Stephanie Tijerina, and Michelle Vallejo.
  • TX-30
    • Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX-30), a longtime member of Congress in the Dallas area, announced her retirement in November, paving the way for a freshman to take her place.
    • Johnson endorsed state Rep. Jasmine Crockett (D-Dallas) to succeed her in the position, but a host of other candidates are also running: Arthur Dixon, Jane Hope Hamilton, Vonciel Jones Hill, Keisha Williams-Lankford, Barbara Mallory Caraway, Jessica Mason, Abel Mulugheta, and Roy Williams.
  • TX-34
    • With the retirement of Vela, Gonzalez is seeking to represent Congress in the neighboring district.
    • Gonzalez is not listed by the secretary of state as the incumbent of the 34th Congressional District, though several high-population portions of Hidalgo County that are currently within the 15th Congressional District will be shifting into the 34th.
    • Though the general election will be less competitive, Gonzalez will first need to win the Democratic nomination against a number of other candidates: Laura Cisneros, Osbert Rodriguez Haro, Filemon Meza, Beatriz Reynoso, William Thompson, and Diego Zavala.
  • TX-35
    • After lawmakers placed Texas’ new 37th Congressional District completely in Travis County, Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX-35), a longtime congressman from the Austin area, announced that he would run for office in the new seat.
    • The boundaries of TX-35 are split largely between the populations of Austin and San Antonio, held together mostly along I-35.
    • The two big names in the race include state Rep. Eddie Rodriguez (D-Austin) and Austin City Councilman Greg Casar, but they are joined by Democratic candidates Carla-Joy Sisco and Rebecca Viagran.

Democratic Incumbents Facing Primary Challenges:

  • Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-TX-16)
    • Deliris Montanez Berrios (DMB)
  • Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX-28)
    • Tannya Judith Benavides
    • Jessica Cisneros
  • Rep. Marc Veasey (D-TX-33)
    • Carlos Quintanilla

General Election Battlegrounds:

  • TX-15
    • With massive swings toward the GOP in recent years along the border and in South Texas, Republicans have ramped up their efforts to sway Hispanic voters. In Texas, the 15th Congressional District will be ground zero for that electoral battle.
    • The recent electoral trends for the new lines are telling. In 2018, Beto O’Rourke carried voters within the new boundaries with 55.5 percent of the vote against Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), while Gov. Abbott’s challenger, Lupe Valdez, carried it with only 49.5 percent. In 2020, Trump carried the district with 50.9 percent of the vote and Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) carried it with 50.8 percent.
  • TX-23
    • Prior to this cycle, Texas’ 23rd Congressional District had been one of the most competitive seats in the state. After redistricting, it remains one of the most competitive compared with most other districts where competition was vastly reduced.
    • The district still favors Republicans, though, with a TPI of R-54%. And like TX-15, the sweeping West Texas seat that runs from San Antonio to El Paso has trended toward the GOP in recent elections.
    • In 2018, Cruz carried the new boundaries of the district with 50.5 percent of the vote, and in 2020, Trump carried it with 52.9 percent. Likewise, Abbott carried it with 56.3 percent and Cornyn with 54 percent.
    • Democrats vying to challenge Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-TX-23) include Priscilla Golden and John Lira.
  • TX-28
    • If Republicans are able to make significant inroads with Hispanic voters, TX-28 could become another seat in the GOP’s crosshairs.
    • Currently held by Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX-28), the district has a TPI of D-57% and has seen less significant shifts in recent voting patterns compared to TX-15 and TX-23.
    • O’Rourke and Valdez carried the district in 2018 with 58.9 percent and 52.8 percent, respectively, while Biden and MJ Hegar carried it in 2020 with 52.9 percent and 51.7 percent, respectively.
    • A number of Republican candidates are vying for their party’s nomination, including Ed Cabrera, Steven Fowler, Cassy Garcia, Eric Hohman, Willie Vasquez Ng, Rolando Rodriguez, and Sandra Whitten.

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Daniel Friend

Daniel Friend is a reporter for The Texan. He participated in a Great Books program at Azusa Pacific University and graduated in 2019 with a degree in Political Science. He has studied C.S. Lewis’s science fiction trilogy and in his spare time you might find him writing his own novel partly inspired by the series.