With the slate of candidates competing for seats in the Texas Legislature finalized, the Texas House looks to be the primary battleground for 2020, especially as next year's legislative makeup will dictate the redistricting process.
While just two sitting Texas senators - both Democrats - will face primary challengers next month, 30 members of the House - will need to defeat a member of their own party before heading to a general election.
Likewise, about half of the 150 members of the House will see a general election opponent, only about a third of the state's 31 senators will face a general election contender this election cycle.
Even still, just one of the 10 general election races in the Senate is considered to be competitive. But in the House, roughly 30 of the 150 seats could be tight for both Democrats and Republicans.
Meanwhile, three open house seats will be decided this month in special elections taking place on Jan. 28, 2020. Those races will fill the seats vacated by Reps. John Zerwas (R-Richmond), Eric Johnson (D-Dallas), and Jessica Farrar (D-Houston).
SPECIAL ELECTIONS - January, 28, 2020
Although the 2020 primary season does not officially kick off until March, three seats in the Texas House will be filled this month, as candidates form both parties square off to fill positions vacated by Democrats. Early voting for the Jan. 28 elections begins on January 21.
House District 28, Republican Gary Gates of Rosenberg will face Democrat Elizabeth Markowitz of Katy to fill the seat vacated by John Zerwas (R-Richmond). In the November election, Markowitz received 39 percent of the vote to Gates' 28 percent.
House District 100,
Lorraine Birabil will face James Armstrong III, both Democrats from Dallas to replace Eric Johnson (D-Dallas). In the November election, Birabil outmatched Armstrong by a 33.2 - 20.8 percent margin.
In House District 148, Democrat Ann Eastman faces Republican Luis LaRotta, both of Houston, to take the seat vacated by Jessica Farrar (D-Houston). In the last matchup, Eastman received 20.3 percent of the vote, compared to LaRotta's 15.8 percent.
PRIMARY ELECTIONS - March 3, 2020
Just two sitting senators will face primary opponents this year, and both of them are Democrats. In District 13, Sen. Borris Miles of Houston will face two challengers, and in District 27, Sen. Eddie Lucio of Brownsville faces two challengers.
In the House, many more incumbents will see 2020 battles in March. Among House Republicans, ten sitting members will have primary races. Among Democrats, that figure rises to twenty primary races against incumbents.
Meanwhile, twelve primary legislative districts will see races involving no incumbent whatsoever. In these "open" districts, eight House seats were formerly occupied by a Republican, while three House seats were held by Democrats. In the Senate, there is just one "open" race in a district formerly held by a Democrat.
for a complete list of 2020 primary election races.
TEXAS HOUSE ELECTIONS
After flipping 12 seats last year in the lower chamber, Democrats look to unseat at least nine Republicans this cycle in order to gain a majority. The current makeup of the House favors Republicans by a 83-67 majority.
As recent as 2017, the GOP in Texas held a 95-seat majority, and Democrats have not controlled the House since 2001.
The number of competitive races this election cycle seem to mirror the political landscape in 2018 when 31 Texas House districts were decided by fewer than 10 percentage points.
Among those districts, 18 seats are held by Republicans and 13 by Democrats.
Fewer than 10 percent of all House races - a mere 13 districts - saw a separation between winners and losers by 5 percentage points or fewer. Republicans hold seven of those seats, and Democrats hold six.
TEXAS SENATE ELECTIONS
By all metrics, the 2020 elections appear unlikely to have a significant impact on the Texas Senate's makeup,
where not a single member of the body will see a primary challenger.
In the current landscape, Republicans under Lt. Dan Patrick control the Senate by a 19-12 margin over Democrats. The minority party would need to flip four seats there to exit 2020 with a majority in the upper chamber. That scenario seems unlikely.
Just one seat - District 19 - in the Senate appears to be truly competitive. That seat is held by Republican
Flores won a special election a little over a year ago in a district made up of 17 counties, including a large portion of Bexar County and San Antonio. That chunk makes up more than half of the district's population.