The last decade has pretty much sucked for Dems in the Texas House. That’s changing.

by | Apr 15, 2019 | 2020 Elections, Texas Legislature

After the 2008 election, the blue team had narrowed the Republican advantage in the 150-member House of Representatives to just a two-seat 76-74 margin. With near parity between the parties and a moderate Speaker – San Antonio Republican Joe Straus — the House was a reasonable, functioning chamber. Then came the 2010 election.

The first midterm of the Obama presidency gave rise to the Tea Party movement and produced a red political tsunami in the Lone Star State. In November 2010, Republicans gained 24 seats in the House, producing a super-majority after a couple of party switches, and relegated Democrats to near irrelevance in the Legislature.

Redistricting in 2011 produced a masterful Republican gerrymander cementing Republican control in Austin for the decade. Only Straus’ moderate speakership prevented the House descending into total and complete far-right lunacy.

Over the course of this decade, Democrats averaged gains of a few House seats each cycle, but Republicans remained firmly in control. When Straus announced he would not seek re-election, many feared the right wing would finally seize control of the Texas House, joining Lt. Governor Dan Patrick and the Senate.

Instead, led by Beto O’Rourke’s shockingly close run for the U.S. Senate in 2018, Democrats picked up 12 seats in the Texas House, and narrowed GOP control to an 83-67 seat margin for the 86th legislative session now underway. And, tellingly, new Speaker Dennis Bonnen (R-Angleton) promised a pragmatic approach rather than a rightward lurch.

There are a bunch of districts O’Rourke won, or nearly won, where the GOP House member survived in 2018. Here are 20 seats Democrats have targeted for pick-up next year:

  • HD 14 Brazos County (John Raney). O’Rourke: 48.4%
  • HD 26 Ft. Bend County (Rick Miller). O’Rourke: 50.5%
  • HD 28 Ft. Bend County (John Zerwas). O’Rourke: 48.1%
  • HD 32 Nueces County (Todd Hunter). O’Rourke: 47%
  • HD 54 Bell & Lampasas County (Brad Buckley). O’Rourke: 49%
  • HD 64 Denton County (Lynn Stuckey). O’Rourke: 49.8%
  • HD 66 Collin County (Matt Shaheen). O’Rourke: 52.5%
  • HD 67 Collin County (Jeff Leach). O’Rourke: 52.3%
  • HD 92 Tarrant County (Jonathan Stickland). O’Rourke: 48.3%
  • HD 93 Tarrant County (Matt Krause). O’Rourke: 48.2%
  • HD 94 Tarrant County (Tony Tinderholt). O’Rourke: 47.9%
  • HD 96 Tarrant County (Bill Zedler). O’Rourke: 49.5%
  • HD 97 Tarrant County (Craig Goldman). O’Rourke: 48.6%
  • HD 108 Dallas County (Morgan Meyer). O’Rourke: 57.1%
  • HD 112 Dallas County (Angie Chen-Button). O’Rourke: 54.4%
  • HD 121 Bexar County (Steve Allison). O’Rourke: 49.7%
  • HD 126 Harris County (Sam Harless). O’Rourke: 47.8%
  • HD 129 Harris County (Dennis Paul). O’Rourke: 45.2%
  • HD 134 Harris County (Sarah Davis). O’Rourke: 60.3%
  • HD 138 Harris County (Dwayne Bohac). O’Rourke: 52.7%

Emboldened by big gains in the House last year, despite underfunded campaigns, Democrats now see a path to seizing control of the Texas House in 2020, just in time for another round of decennial redistricting. Team Blue would need to gain nine seats to win a majority of seats in the House, and the path to doing so runs through the suburbs of metro Texas.

Are you tired of Texas Republicans pushing big lies and trying to steal your vote? So are we, that’s why we’re fighting back against the right-wing lie machine. Our commitment to ethical, fact-based journalism is vital to our democracy, and we can’t do it without you. Consider donating today to help us stay in this fight.

Continue Reading

Royce Brooks talks Annie’s List and 2022

Royce Brooks talks Annie’s List and 2022

The Signal recently caught up with Royce Brooks, the executive director of Annie's List, an organization that recruits, trains and helps elect progressive women to office.  Brooks spoke about the 2022 midterms, women in Texas, as well as the ongoing work at...

Greg Abbott’s sad, stammering Sunday show appearance

Greg Abbott’s sad, stammering Sunday show appearance

On Sunday, Governor Greg Abbott appeared on the show “Fox News Sunday” with host Chris Wallace. The resulting interview was a blundering mess for the Texas governor, who is up for re-election next year. Though Abbott teed up his Fox appearance as an opportunity to...

Five takeaways from Texas GOP’s congressional maps

Five takeaways from Texas GOP’s congressional maps

Texas lawmakers on Monday released their first proposed draft of the state’s new congressional maps. Here’s a quick look at all the major changes around the state. Austin and Houston get new congressional districts  The state’s capital and its largest city will...