The Back MicThe Back Mic: Incumbents Without Challengers Listed, Federal Infrastructure Funding Cautioned, Election Fraud Ruling Draws Pushback

This week — state legislators with no opponents are listed, Governor Abbott cautions state agencies about federal infrastructure funding, and a conservative state lawmaker proposes a legislative repudiation to an appeals court ruling.
December 17, 2021
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54 State Legislators Face No Primary or General Election Opponents

The 2022 filing deadline has passed, cementing the fields for each state office. There are 46 House incumbents and eight Senate incumbents who have neither a primary nor a general election challenger.

The members whose re-election was effectively secured at the filing deadline are:

House

  • Rafael Anchía (D-Dallas)
  • Keith Bell (R-Forney)
  • DeWayne Burns (R-Cleburne)
  • Briscoe Cain (R-Deer Park)
  • Liz Campos (D-San Antonio)
  • Terry Canales (D-Edinburg)
  • David Cook (R-Mansfield)
  • Tom Craddick (R-Midland)
  • Drew Darby (R-San Angelo)
  • Jay Dean (R-Longview)
  • Jessica González (D-Dallas)
  • Sam Harless (R-Spring)
  • Cody Harris (R-Palestine)
  • Brian Harrison (R-Midlothian)
  • Ana Hernandez (D-Houston)
  • Donna Howard (D-Austin)
  • Todd Hunter (R-Corpus Christi)
  • Jarvis Johnson (D-Houston)
  • Tracy King (D-Uvalde)
  • J.M. Lozano (R-Kingsville)
  • Armando Martinez (D-Weslaco)
  • Trey Martinez Fischer (D-San Antonio)
  • Will Metcalf (R-Conroe)
  • Joe Moody (D-El Paso)
  • Geanie Morrison (R-Victoria)
  • Sergio Muñoz, Jr. (D-Palmview)
  • Victoria Neave (D-Dallas)
  • Candy Noble (R-Lucas)
  • Tom Oliverson (R-Cypress)
  • Evelina Ortega (D-El Paso)
  • Jared Patterson (R-Frisco)
  • Mary Ann Perez (D-Houston)
  • Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont)
  • Four Price (R-Amarillo)
  • Ramon Romero, Jr. (D-Fort Worth)
  • Toni Rose (D-Dallas)
  • Carl Sherman (D-DeSoto)
  • Shelby Slawson (R-Stephenville)
  • John Smithee (R-Amarillo)
  • Shawn Thierry (D-Houston)
  • Ed Thompson (R-Pearland)
  • Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston)
  • Chris Turner (D-Grand Prairie)
  • Cody Vasut (R-Angleton)
  • Armando Walle (D-Houston)
  • Gene Wu (D-Houston)

Senate

The Texan Tumbler

  • Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston)
  • Brian Birdwell (R-Granbury)
  • Sarah Eckhardt (D-Austin)
  • Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola)
  • Borris Miles (D-Houston)
  • Charles Perry (R-Lubbock)
  • Charles Schwertner (R-Georgetown)
  • Royce West (D-Dallas)
Abbott Cautions Agencies on Federal Infrastructure Funding

Congress is nearing approval of its $1 trillion infrastructure bill littered with hand-outs for entities across the country. This week, Governor Greg Abbott cautioned state agencies to fully review the funding agreements and contracts to “carefully assess their implications.”

The one-page letter warned of any attached strings.

“Should the acceptance of any federal funds hinder or needlessly constrain the state, commit the state to ongoing costs for which there is not an appropriation available, or require an agency to implement a federal policy contrary to the law or policy of this state, the agreement proposed by the federal agency should not be signed,” Abbott’s letter reads.

“Please be vigilant and communicate frequently with my office before you proceed with accepting or applying for federal funding opportunities.”

The warning comes on the heels of unanswered questions about the attached strings tied to the federal coronavirus aid, specifically whether recipients must adhere to “all other applicable federal statutes, regulations, and executive orders” from the federal government.

The funding is intended to finance “drinking-water infrastructure, broadband access, transportation, airports, and more.”

Conservative Legislator to File Bill Allowing Neighboring County DAs to Prosecute Voter Fraud

Rep. Briscoe Cain (R-Deer Park) announced Thursday that he will file a bill allowing district attorneys to prosecute election fraud in adjacent counties. The statement comes after an appeals court ruled that the Office of the Attorney General cannot “unilaterally prosecute” cases of voter fraud.

“If and when the [Texas legislature] assembles in Austin again, I will be filling legislation to allow prosecutors from neighboring counties to prosecute election violations,” Cain announced on Twitter.

“If the attorney general can’t, and a county won’t, then prosecutors from an adjacent county should be able to do it.”

Cain’s biggest focus in the legislature has been on election law and he has served as the House Elections Committee chair during the 87th Legislature.

He also said the legislature should amend the constitution to put the directive beyond doubt — a difficult undertaking because it requires a 100-vote support base in the House. Republicans currently have 85 members in the House, 15 shy of the two-thirds majority necessary.

Cain also advocated the establishment of civil causes of action for election fraud. The civil cause of action allows any individual to sue the alleged offender — a notable feature of the Texas Heartbeat Act, which allowed the public to sue anyone involved in an abortion except the mother.

The civil cause of action provision was part of Senate Bill (SB) 7 during the regular session, which perished at a midnight deadline after Democrats broke quorum, but it was not kept in the second special session’s SB 1 that is now law.

Right now, the next time the legislature will convene is in 2023 after next year’s midterm elections. But the governor reserves the right to call a special session, which Abbott said “could come at any time.”

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to include Sen. Charles Perry (R-Lubbock) in the list of incumbents without challengers.

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Brad Johnson

Brad Johnson is an Ohio native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2017. He is an avid sports fan who most enjoys watching his favorite teams continue their title drought throughout his cognizant lifetime. In his free time, you may find Brad quoting Monty Python productions and trying to calculate the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow.