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2012 elections preview: Texas voters to select winners in congressional, legislative primaries

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May 29, 2012

By Ballotpedia's Congressional and State legislative teams

The fast-moving primary season of May and June continues today with elections in Texas.

Here's what to watch for in Texas, where polling places will be open from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm.[1]

Contested Primaries in Texas -- May 29, 2012
U.S. House
(36 seats)
State Legislature
(181 seats)
Total Democratic Contested Primaries 16 (44.44%) 20 (11%)
Total Republican Contested Primaries 24 (66.67%) 68 (37.6%)


U.S. Senate

Incumbent U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison is not running for re-election in 2012, which led to 25 candidates filing to seek election to the seat.

Four candidates -- Addie Dainell Allen, Sean Hubbard, Paul Sadler, and Grady Yarbrough are seeking the nomination on the Democratic ticket. Nine candidates filed for the Republican nomination, and thus far the most heated battle has been between current Lieutenant Governor of Texas David Dewhurst and tea-party-backed Ted Cruz. The seat is consider Solid Republican according to the most recent Cook Political Report.

U.S. House

Texas has a total of 36 seats on the ballot in 2012. A total of 269 candidates have filed to run, made up of 69 Democratic challengers, 84 Republican challengers, 86 third party challengers, and 30 incumbents. Including Texas, a total of 153 U.S. House seats have held primaries. Thus far, 56.86% of possible primaries have been contested nationally. Texas's contested figure of 52.63% (40 of 72 possible party primaries) is slightly less competitive than the national average.

In the 36 congressional districts, there are 16 Democratic races contested, with two or more candidates running, and 24 Republican contested races.

There are six open seats, Districts 14, 20, 25, 33, 34, and 36. Each of these districts has a list of candidates numbering in the double-digits, with the exception of District 20, which only has four candidates.

Two Democratic incumbents have been targeted for removal by the Super PAC Campaign for Primary Accountability. They are incumbent Silvestre Reyes of District 16 and incumbent Eddie Bernice Johnson of District 30.

Members of the U.S. House from Texas -- Partisan Breakdown
Party As of November 2012 After the 2012 Election
     Democratic Party 9 12
     Republican Party 23 24
Total 32 36

State legislature

Texas State Senate elections, 2012 and Texas House of Representatives elections, 2012

There are 181 total legislative seats with elections in 2012 -- 31 Senate seats and 150 House seats.

There are 20 (11%) contested Democratic primaries, 68 (37.6%) contested Republican primaries, and one contested Green Party primary. Thus, there will be 89 races tomorrow with at least two candidates on the ballot. The 88 major party primaries represents 24.6% of possible primaries tomorrow. This figure is slightly higher the current national contested average of 24.18% for states that have had filing deadlines.


In the Senate, there are a total of 6 incumbents facing a primary challenge - all Republicans. Four of the 7 incumbents are facing a challenge from a current member of the State House.

Republican Party District 3: Incumbent Robert Nichols is running against Tammy Blair.
Republican Party District 4: Incumbent Tommy Williams faces Michael Galloway.
Republican Party District 25: Incumbent Jeff Wentworth is challenged by Donna Campbell and Elizabeth Ames Jones.
Republican Party District 28: Incumbent Robert Duncan faces E.M. Garza.
Republican Party District 30: Incumbent Craig Estes is challenged by Jim Herblin.
Republican Party District 31: Incumbent Kel Seliger is running against Randy Rives.


In the House, there are a total of 45 incumbents facing a primary challenge - 8 Democrats and 37 Republicans.

Republican Party District 7: Republican incumbent David Simpson is challenged by former representative Tommy Merritt.
Republican Party District 19: Incumbent Mike Hamilton (R) is running against District 12 incumbent James White.
Green Party District 124: Green party candidates Herb Gonzales, Jr. and Yvonne Valdez both seek to challenge incumbent Jose Menendez (D) in the general election.
Democratic Party District 146: Incumbent Borris Miles (D) is challenged by former representative Al Edwards.

Texas State Senate
Party As of November 5, 2012 After the 2012 Election
     Democratic Party 12 12
     Republican Party 19 19
Total 31 31

Texas House of Representatives
Party As of November 5, 2012 After the 2012 Election
     Democratic Party 48 55
     Republican Party 100 95
     Vacancy 2 0
Total 150 150

See also

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