Now that the dust has settled from last night’s election, we know what the make-up of the Texas Legislature will be in 2013. While there are many new names to learn in the large freshman class, the balance of power is essentially the same. Republicans still hold a commanding majority of the seats, though last night’s election cost them the super-majority enjoyed in the House last session.
All but one state senate race were believed to be decided prior to election night. That race was won by incumbent Senator Wendy Davis, of Fort Worth, who defeated her Republican opponent Rep. Mark Shelton. In doing so, Davis assured that Senate Democrats maintain one-third of the seats and therefore have enough votes to block issues they oppose under the Senate’s “two-thirds rule.” Last session, the balance of power in the Senate was a 19-12 Republican majority, and while that number will be 19-11 until a special election can be called to fill the seat of the late Senator Mario Gallegos, who passed away last month, it is not expected that the balance between parties will change once his successor is elected.
Once that election takes place, there will be 6 new faces in the Texas Senate. For now, five brand new senators were elected last night (though only one of them is new to the Legislature):
- Rep. Charles Schwertner (R-Georgetown) was elected to fill the seat vacated by retiring Senate Finance Chair Steve Ogden.
- Rep. Ken Paxton (R- McKinney) was elected to serve in the open seat due to the retirement of Senate Education Chair Florence Shapiro
- Rep. Kelly Hancock (R-North Richland Hills) was elected in the position held by retiring Senator Chris Harris.
- Rep. Larry Taylor (R-Friendswood) won the race to replace Senator Mike Jackson who ran for Congress.
- Dr. Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels) defeated Senator Jeff Wentworth in the primary and won her general election race as well.
Democrats picked up 7 seats in the Texas House, taking the composition from 102 Republicans and 48 Democrats in 2011 to 95 Republicans and 55 Democrats in 2013. Almost one-third of the 150 members of the House will be serving for the first time.
Based on Tuesday’s results, insiders believe that Speaker Joe Straus will probably be re-elected as Speaker once the legislative session begins.
Three incumbents were defeated Tuesday night, including Rep. Connie Scott (R-Corpus Christi), who lost her election to former Rep. Abel Herrero (D-Portland) who will return to the House. In El Paso, another former representative, Democrat Joe Moody, defeated incumbent Republican Dee Margo. In the San Antonio area, Republican Rep. John Garza lost to Democrat Philip Cortez, who is currently pursuing his doctoral degree in education.
Here is a list of the newly-elected members of the House:
- District 3 – Cecil Bell, Jr. (R) Magnolia
- District 6 – Matt Schaefer (R) Tyler
- District 9 – Chris Paddie (R) Marshall
- District 11 – Travis Clardy (R) Nacogdoches
- District 12 – Kyle Kacal (R) College Station
- District 14 – John Raney (R) College Station
- District 15 – Steve Toth (R) The Woodlands
- District 20 – Marsha Farney (R) Georgetown
- District 24 – Greg Bonnen (R) Friendswood
- District 26 – Rick Miller (R) Sugar Land
- District 29 – Ed Thompson (R) Pearland
- District 33 – Scott Turner (R) Frisco
- District 34 – Abel Herrero (D) Robstown
- District 35 – Oscar Longoria (D) Mission
- District 40 – Terry Canales (D) Edinburg
- District 41 – Bobby Guerra (D) Mission
- District 57 – Trent Ashby (R) Lufkin
- District 59 – J.D. Sheffield (R) Gatesville
- District 65 – Ron Simmons (R) Carrollton
- District 67 – Jeff Leach (R) Plano
- District 68 – Drew Springer (R) Muenster
- District 69 – James Frank (R) Wichita Falls
- District 70 – Scott Sanford (R) McKinney
- District 74 – Poncho Nevarez (D) Eagle Pass
- District 75 – Mary Edna Gonzalez (D) Clint
- District 78- Joe Moody (D) El Paso
- District 85 – Phil Stephenson (R) Wharton
- District 88 – Ken King (R) Canadian
- District 91 – Stephanie Klick (R) Fort Worth
- District 92 – Jonathan Stickland (R) Bedford
- District 93 – Matt Krause (R) Fort Worth
- District 95 – Nicole Collier (D) Fort Worth
- District 97 – Craig Goldman (R) Fort Worth
- District 98 – Giovanni Capriglione (R) Southlake
- District 101 – Chris Turner (D) Arlington
- District 106 – Pat Fallon (R) Frisco
- District 110 – Toni Rose (D) Dallas
- District 114 – Jason Villalba (R) Dallas
- District 115 – Bennett Ratliff (R) Coppell
- District 117 – Philip Cortez (D) San Antonio
- District 125 – Justin Rodriguez (D) San Antonio
- District 136 – Tony Dale (R) Cedar Park
- District 137 – Gene Wu (D) Houston
- District 144 – Mary Ann Perez (D) Houston
State Board of Education
Eight of the 15 seats on the State Board of Education will be occupied by new officeholders. Some turnover is based on retirement and other on defeats that occurred in the primary election.
The Republican incumbent in SBOE District 1, Charlie Garza, was defeated by Democrat Martha Dominguez, an administrator with Ysleta ISD in El Paso. This election changed the balance of power, but only slightly, with now 10 Republicans and 5 Democrats, rather than the 11-4 balance following the last election.
For more thorough elections analysis and results, you may want to visit the Texas Tribune scoreboard.