2014 Election Results
Rain or shine, Texans came out to vote and Republicans not only made a clean sweep of the statewide offices but spun the state Senate to a supermajority in the chamber. As for the House chamber, Republicans gained two unexpected seats in Bexar and Harris counties where the Republicans unseated incumbent Democrats. With the open seat in HD-23, this gave the Republicans three seats giving them a control of 98 seats in the House. A two vote away from a supermajority in that chamber.
2015 brings new leadership in the executive office of the Lone Star state. After Governor Perry’s long tenure as the chief executive, he announced in July 2013 he would not seek re-election. This opened the doors for candidates to run especially since the last time there was an open race for governor was in 1990. Texas has not elected a Democrat to a statewide office since 1994 and last night was no different. General Abbott won the election receiving 59% of the vote while Senator Davis received 39%.
Early voting turnout was not what was expected especially for the Democrats. Democratic statewide candidates had hoped to expand the electorate in their struggle to break a 20-year losing streak. This was also an indicator of whether Battleground Texas and other Democratic organizing groups are making progress in the red state. However, win or lose Democrats concerned themselves on whether Davis could win with more than 42% of the vote. Mayor Bill White lost to Perry four years ago with 42% of the vote. It had been the best showing of a Democrat since Ann Richards drew 46% in her losing re-election bid against George W. Bush in 1994. By surpassing the 42% of the vote, Democrats know they are on the right track. This is a long-term game for the Democrats…the eye on the prize is the presidential race in 2016.
Lt. Governor’s Race:
It is no surprise Senator Patrick won the Lt. Governor’s race with 58.2% of the vote. Although Van de Putte is known as a great campaigner, she didn’t seem to have come across in this election.
Another race we were not surprised, Ken Paxton winning the race with 58.8% of the vote.
Glenn Hegar wins with 58.4% of the vote setting up a vacancy when he resigns the remainder of his 4 year term to be sworn in as Comptroller. This means there will be eight new freshman Senators and the Senate has lost six current committee chairmen.
With 60.7% of the vote, George P. Bush, had an easy win.
We are expecting good things for the newly elected Ryan Sitton as Railroad Commissioner. Sitton won with 58.3% of the votes.
Sid Miller secured his seat with 58.6% of the votes.
All of the incumbents kept their seat on the Texas Supreme Court:
Nathan L. Hecht – 59.6%
Jeff Brown – 60.3%
Jeffrey S. Boyd – 58.9%
Phil Johnson – 78.8%
State Legislature Races:
Many incumbents returned to the state capitol, but many are new faces. A third of the Texas Senate is new, which is unprecedented in this generation. And all new members are much more conservative than those that they replace. With Dan Patrick in the Chair leading this more conservative body, this will make for an interesting shift in the politics of the session. Patrick has already stated his priorities as border security, education and pro-life issues.
About 60 members of the House are either freshman or sophomore members. While the House also had significant turnover, and certainly gained many new conservative faces, it will still be a more moderate body with Speaker Straus and his leadership team still in place.
This election cycle had some rather competitive races in both incumbent seats and open seat races. Many focused on the following races which were considered “hot races:”
SD-10: Currently held by Wendy Davis (D-Fort Worth), is estimated to be 56% Republican. Candidates for that open seat were Konni Burton (R), Libby Willis (D), a Libertarian candidate and a Green Party candidate. Super Trial Lawyer Steve Mostyn contributed over $500,000 to Libby Willis. The outcome of this race had a significant impact on liability issues. This was a very volatile race but Burton pulled through with 52.8 % of the vote.
HD-23: Currently held by Craig Eiland (D-Galveston), is estimated to be about 54% Republican. Candidates for this open seat were Wayne Faircloth (R), and Susan Criss (D). Faircloth is a State Farm agent, and almost beat Eiland in 2012. Susan Criss has been a district judge in Galveston for a number of years, and her court handled TWIA cases. She is closely aligned with the plaintiff bar and received at least $200,000 from Amber and Steve Mostyn. The outcome of this race had significant impact on liability issues. This race was a toss-up but Wayne Faircloth won with 54.6% of the vote. .
HD-43: Currently held by JM Lozano (R-Kingsville). Lozano switched parties in 2012, and has been a target of the Democrats ever since. This district is also a swing district. The challenger, Kimberly Gonzalez (D-Portland) is an assistant district attorney and an attractive candidate. She raised a respectable amount of money, but JM has substantially out-raised her. Neither had a primary opponent. Lozano won with an overwhelmingly 61.4% of the vote.
HD-107: Currently held by Kenneth Sheets (R). This district is lean Republican, and is currently the lowest percentage R district held by an R. (There are only 2 other Republican-majority districts in Texas with a lower R percentage, and both are currently held by Democrats.) Sheets’ opponent, Carol Donovan (D), is an attorney and mediator. This race was considered a priority for the Democrats early on, but Sheets had a great deal of support and ran an excellent race. He won with 55.0% of the vote.
HD-117: Currently held by Philip Cortez (D-San Antonio). Representative Cortez is well-known in the district, and previously served on the city council. His Republican opponent, Rick Galindo, received a great deal of financial help and has outraised the incumbent. This district is at 52% Republican, but with Senator Van de Putte (D-San Antonio) on the ballot for Lt. Governor, San Antonio D turnout was not strong enough to keep Cortez in office. Galindo unseated the incumbent with 52.7% of the vote.
The following races were considered as races to watch.
HD-94: Currently held by Diane Patrick (R-Arlington). Representative Patrick was defeated in the primary by Tony Tinderholt (R-Arlington). Tinderholt faced Cole Ballweg (D-Arlington) in the general. Tinderholt is closely aligned with Open Carry Tarrant County (OCTC), the group that supports carrying weapons in public, and there have been a number of news reports about OCTC group members carrying assault rifles in public, with Tinderholt participating. Ballweg owns a healthcare business and appeared to be very moderate. This is a strong Republican district (64.1%), so Tinderholt definitely had the edge. Tinderholt won with 56.6% of the vote.
HD-105: Currently held by Linda Harper-Brown. She was defeated in the primary by former Rep. Rodney Anderson (R-Grand Prairie). Anderson faced attorney Susan Motley (D-Irving) in the general election. Both raised a lot of money. This district is about 56% Republican, and Anderson won with 55.4% of the vote.
HD-115: Currently held by Bennett Ratliff. Ratliff lost the primary by a half point in an extremely close race, and many agree his loss was more a side effect of the Carona-Huffines senate race than it was of the HD 115 race. The Republican, Matt Rinaldi (R-Irving) is an attorney who represents Dallas multi-millionaire, Monty Bennett, who is a major contributor to Michael Quinn Sullivan. This district is 60% Republican which gave Rinaldi more than enough to beat the Democratic nominee with 57.1% of the vote.
HD-149: Hubert Vo (D-Houston) faced a challenge from Republican Al Hoang (R-Houston), a former city council member and pillar of the Asian community. Vo pulled through with 54.9% of the vote.