The Back MicThe Back Mic: List of New Additions to the Texas Legislature Unopposed in November

This week — six candidates for the Texas legislature face no major party opposition in the general election.
June 10, 2022
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Legislative Candidates with No General Election Opposition

With the November matchups for Texas’ 181 legislative districts finalized, six non-incumbents face no major party opposition in the general election.

Those candidates are:

  • Phil King (R), Senate District (SD) 10
  • Kevin Sparks (R), SD 31
  • Richard Hayes* (R), House District (HD) 57
  • Carl Tepper (R), HD 84
  • Venton Jones* (D), HD 100
  • Charles Cunningham (R), HD 127

*Denotes a third-party opponent in November

No major party opponents mean each of these candidates is all but guaranteed to be part of the 88th Legislative Session.

The Texan Tumbler

State Rep. Phil King (R-Weatherford) is one of the House members set to step across the Capitol rotunda. SD 10 was made heavily Republican during redistricting, and King’s path cleared even more when incumbent Sen. Beverly Powell (D-Burleson) decided to suspend her re-election campaign after an unsuccessful legal attempt to challenge the new district lines.

In a similar position, Kevin Sparks’ ascent was aided by a friendly redistricting maneuver, this one aimed against an incumbent Republican. State Sen. Kel Seliger (R-Amarillo) had sparred frequently with Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, and in the new maps the body removed portions of the panhandle from SD 31 and added Midland. Seliger’s stronghold had been weakened while Sparks’, who lives in Midland, was strengthened. That eventually spurred Seliger to opt for retirement.

Tepper won the expensive and contentious GOP primary for the open Lubbock House seat. A former Lubbock County Republican Party chair, Tepper faces no opposition in November and will succeed retiring Rep. John Frullo (R-Lubbock).

Hayes won the GOP primary for HD 57 outright on March 1, pulling in a serendipitous 57 percent of the vote over two challengers. The district was one of those which jumped to another region of the state, moving from deep East Texas to Denton County.

Cunningham, a former Humble ISD school board member, will replace retiring state Rep. Dan Huberty (R-Houston) in HD 127. He won the March primary overwhelmingly, pulling in 80 percent against challenger Deanna Robertson. In 2019, Huberty was among the central figures in the legislature’s marquee school finance reform as Public Education Committee chairman, but he did not receive the same post when Speaker Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont) took over.

Huberty was not among the initial 83 House members to sign onto Phelan’s list of support.

The only Democrat on this list is Venton Jones, who will replace state Rep. Jasmine Crockett (D-Dallas) in HD 100 after the incumbent decided to run for Congress. Jones finished second in the March 1 primary behind Sandra Crenshaw, but soundly defeated her in the May 24 runoff with 70 percent of the vote.

When the legislature reconvenes in January, each of these candidates will join their respective chambers for a regular session set to cram two years of legislative desires into five months of ordered chaos.

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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.