State SenateTexas Senators Hold Drawing for Short Two-Year Terms In Wake of Redistricting

Senators drew lots to determine which members would run for re-election in two years.
January 12, 2023
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While members of the Texas Senate ordinarily enjoy four-year terms in office — as opposed to members of the House of Representatives, who serve for two years at a time — there are occasions in which senators will serve for only two years.

Wednesday’s session in the upper chamber saw one of those occasions put in place, where senators drew for numbers to determine which of the thirty-one members would be back up for re-election in 2024 versus those up in 2026.

Eight Democrats and seven Republicans drew short terms, including several recently elected freshmen members serving their first term in the Senate.

The following senators drew two-year terms:

  • Senate District 6: Carol Alvarado (D-Houston)
  • Senate District 7: Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston)
  • Senate District 29: Cesar Blanco (D-El Paso)
  • Senate District 25: Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels)
  • Senate District 14: Sarah Eckhardt (D-Austin)
  • Senate District 20: Juan ‘Chuy’ Hinojosa (D-McAllen)
  • Senate District 17: Joan Huffman (R-Houston)
  • Senate District 16: Nathan Johnson (D-Dallas)
  • Senate District 10: Phil King (R-Weatherford)
  • Senate District 27: Morgan LaMantia (D-South Padre Island)
  • Senate District 12: Tan Parker (R-Flower Mound)
  • Senate District 8: Angela Paxton (R-McKenney)
  • Senate District: 30: Drew Springer (R-Muenster)
  • Senate District 23: Royce West (D-Dallas)
  • Senate District 15: John Whitmire (D-Houston)

Three freshmen are included in this group: King, LaMantia, and Parker. King and Parker previously served as members of the House before winning their new seats in the upper chamber. LaMantia narrowly defeated a Republican in the November election for her South Texas Senate seat.

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The Texas Constitution requires members of the Senate to draw for two-year terms after the state redraws political maps due to redistricting, which occurs every 10 years. After the two-year term is up, those districts will resume four-year terms.

By dividing its members into two different groups and holding short terms for one of them, the process allows the Senate to ensure that half its members are up for re-election during each future biennial election cycle — meaning half the chamber will run for office during the gubernatorial election and the other half during the presidential election cycle.

While it might seem that senators who drew the short terms on Wednesday got the short end of the stick, those interested in pursuing higher political ambitions may view the draw as a golden opportunity.

Another provision in the state’s constitution known as “resign to run” requires certain elected officials to automatically resign the office they hold should they announce candidacy for another office during their present term. However, this provision does not apply to lawmakers.

Meanwhile, a section of the Texas Election Code prevents candidates from running for more than one office at a time during the same election, with few exceptions.

This means senators drawing the short terms this week have been given the opportunity to run for their pick of statewide office in 2026 without the risk of forfeiting their Senate seats, while members of the other group risk being completely out of office should they make the move and not prevail.

Senators who drew regular four-year terms this time will not completely escape their turn of holding a short term, however. Those districts will hold two-year terms at the end of the decade, when every member goes up for reelection at the same time for redistricting.

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Matt Stringer

Matt Stringer is a reporter for The Texan who writes about all things government, politics, and public policy. He graduated from Odessa College with an Associate Degree in Paralegal Studies and a Bachelor’s Degree in Management and Leadership. In his free time, you will find him in the great outdoors, usually in the Davis Mountains and Big Bend region of Southwest Texas.

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