This week’s election news continues with another special election added to the November 5, 2019, ballot. For most Texans, this November’s election will be about voting on one of 10 proposed constitutional amendments. However voters in a handful of districts will be deciding who represents them for the rest of the current legislative term, which ends January 2021.
The governor ordered a November 5 special election to fill the unexpired term of state Rep. Jessica Farrar (D-Houston), who plans to resign at the end of September. House District (HD) 148 is a reliably Democratic district that elected Farrar by a 36-point margin in 2018. Beto O’Rourke won the district by nearly 39 percentage points. Other special elections on the November 2019 ballot include races to finish the unexpired terms of state Reps. John Zerwas (R-Richmond) and Eric Johnson (D-Dallas), who was elected mayor of Dallas recently.
Alongside retirement announcements, a number of legislators have gone out of their way to announce they plan on returning next session. Most notably, state Rep. Dustin Burrows (R-Lubbock) announced plans to run for reelection in 2020 with the endorsement of Gov. Greg Abbott. Burrows was chair of the House Republican Caucus until he resigned in the wake of the ongoing scandal over an alleged “hit list” of fellow Republicans and a recorded conversation between Burrows, Speaker Dennis Bonnen (R-Angleton), and Empower Texans provocateur Michael Quinn Sullivan.
State Reps. Lynn Stucky (R-Sanger), Garnet Coleman (D-Houston), and James Talarico (D-Hutto) also announced they intend to run for reelection. Stucky won reelection to HD 64 by eight percentage points, but O’Rourke narrowly edged Sen. Ted Cruz in that district by less than a percent. Gov. Abbott also issued his endorsement of Stucky’s reelection bid. Coleman’s HD 147 is a Democratic safe seat, but Talarico’s HD 52 was a recent flip. Talarico edged out his Republican opponent by just over three points in order to succeed Republican Rep. Larry Gonzales. Talarico underperformed O’Rourke, who posted a 12-point margin in the district.
As always, it is critical that educators stay engaged. Election season begins with November’s constitutional election and special elections, then party primaries begin in March 2020. Most of the races in the November 2020 general election will be decided in the primaries. Now is a good time to check if you’re registered to vote, which you can do by using resources put together by the Texas Educators Vote coalition, of which ATPE is a member. Check out the coalition’s new website at TexasEducatorsVote.com.