Barring any court orders or surprise vetoes from Gov. Greg Abbott, the state is on track to hold the 2022 primary elections as originally scheduled.
The filing period for candidates to be placed on the ballot will be from November 13 through December 13, 2021, according to the office of the secretary of state. The primary election will be held on March 1, 2022 and runoff elections will be held on May 24, 2022.
With a few key exceptions, the new state House map shores up support for most incumbents who are seeking reelection.
But while the map will likely lead to a less competitive general election for most district-level state races, a litany of retirements and members seeking election to a higher office will leave many seats open to more competitive primary races.
To compare the changes in the partisan leanings of each district, The Texan has compiled the Texas Partisan Index (TPI).
The index is based on district-level results in the statewide general elections of 2018 and 2020 using data obtained from the Texas Legislative Council.
For each year, the TPI identifies each district’s median percentage of votes for Republicans compared to Democrats, excluding third party candidates. The median result for each year is then averaged and rounded to a whole number.
The median vote for Republicans statewide was 53.7 percent in 2018 and 54.8 percent in 2020, so the state as a whole has a current TPI of R-54%. This is a noticeable decline from the 2016-2018 statewide TPI of R-56%.
Likewise, there was a noticeable shift toward Democrats at the state House level. Between the two ratings, the number of competitive seats between a TPI of R-55% and D-55% grew from 25 to 33, with only four competitive seats — all in South Texas or along the border — shifting toward Republicans.
But the new map approved by the state legislature pares the number of competitive districts down from 33 to just eight. Three favor Republicans, three favor Democrats, and two are split evenly:
- House District (HD) 54, currently represented by Rep. Brad Buckley (R-Killeen), changed from R-52% under the old map to R-55% with the new one.
- HD 52, currently represented by Rep. James Talarico (D-Round Rock) who is now running for a different Democrat-leaning seat in Travis County, changed from D-53% to R-55%.
- HD 112, currently represented by Rep. Angie Chen Button (R-Richardson), changed from R-52% to R-55%.
- HD 118, currently vacant with an ongoing runoff election between a Republican and a Democrat, changed from D-57% to even.
- HD 70, currently represented by retiring Rep. Scott Sanford (R-McKinney) who was also drawn into a different district, changed from R-62% to even.
- HD 37, currently represented by Rep. Alex Dominguez (D-Brownsville) who was drawn into a different district, changed from D-64% to D-53%.
- HD 80, currently represented by Rep. Tracy King (D-Batesville), changed from D-61% to D-53%.
- HD 115, currently represented by Rep. Julie Johnson (D-Carrollton), stayed the same at D-55%.
A table with the full list of TPI ratings that compares the old and new maps can be found below.
Note that the incumbents listed are the members who either live within the new boundaries of the district under the new map or have announced their intention to run for that district. Members who have announced their retirements or are running for a higher office are excluded.
A regularly updated list of open seats can be found on The Texan’s 2022 War Room.
|District||Incumbent(s)||Old Map TPI||New Map TPI|
|03||Cecil Bell (R)||R-76%||R-79%|
|04||Keith Bell (R)||R-74%||R-72%|
|29||Ed Thompson (R)||R-55%||R-60%|
|80||Tracy King (D)||D-61%||D-53%|
|115||Julie Johnson (D)||D-55%||D-55%|
|134||Ann Johnson (D)||D-55%||D-57%|
|74||Morales, Jr. (D)||D-52%||D-58%|
|116||Martinez Fischer (D)||D-68%||D-68%|
|143||Ana Hernandez (D)||D-70%||D-69%|
|90||Romero, Jr. (D)||D-75%||D-70%|
|75||Mary González (D)||D-71%||D-72%|
|139||Jarvis Johnson (D)||D-76%||D-75%|
|142||Dutton, Jr. (D)||D-77%||D-76%|
|77||Ortega/Ordaz Perez (D/D)||D-70%||D-78%|
|109||Sherman, Sr. (D)||D-84%||D-80%|
|141||Senfronia Thompson (D)||D-85%||D-84%|
*Rep. Phil Stephenson (R-Wharton) is listed by the Texas Ethics Commission as living in Wharton, which would be within HD 85, but is listed as paired with Rep. Jacey Jetton (R-Richmond) by the Texas Legislative Council.
Correction: The filing period for candidates has been corrected to the dates listed by the secretary of state.
Update: The table included in this article was updated to change the party affiliation of Rep. Ryan Guillen after he switched his affiliation to the Republican Party in November 2021.
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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.