This week we cover three General Election races for seats in the House Chamber of the Texas Legislature. As we previously noted, there are few true swing districts in Texas. Even so, Texas Republicans are intent on not losing any Republican held seats in light of the so-called “Blue Wave” Democrats have recently rallied around. Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick emphasized this in a tweet ahead of the 2018 Texas GOP Convention saying, “[O]ur party will unite to keep Texas red and win elections up and down the ballot this November! #KeepTexasRed.” Below is a breakdown of three competitive General Election races in Central Texas.
Texas House District 47:
Incumbent State Rep. Paul Workman (R-Austin) will face Democrat Vikki Goodwin (Austin) this November. Although House District 47 covers Republican areas like Bee Cave and Lakeway, parts of the district reach into historically Democratic areas of Austin. In the 2016 Presidential Election, Hillary Clinton lost by only .2% to President Trump in House District 47. That signals the district is more purple than red or blue. Also, primary turnout this past March was higher for the Democratic Party in House District 47, drawing out 700 more voters than the Republican Party. Despite these figures, Rep. Workman is well known in the district and political consultants rank House District 47 as slightly Republican leaning. In the coming weeks, new campaign finance figures will be released, adding color to which candidate has more momentum heading into November. Rep. Workman works very hard, is well thought of, and should win.
Texas House District 52:
Following his announcement to not seek re-election and subsequent retirement from the Texas House, former Republican State Rep. Larry Gonzales (Round Rock) is replaced by Cynthia Flores (Round Rock) as the Republican Party nominee for House District 52. Flores will face Democrat James Talarico (Round Rock) in the General Election. Situated just north of Austin and extending west of Round Rock, House District 52 covers a fast-growing sector of the I-35 corridor with many new residents that work in Austin. President Trump carried the district with a margin of only 1.4% over Hillary Clinton, but unlike the other districts discussed, Republican Party primary vote totals outnumbered Democratic Party primary numbers by 2,500. As a Republican leaning district and with the endorsement of Governor Abbott (who carried the district by 15% in his 2014 Gubernatorial race against Democrat Wendy Davis), Flores likely faces the least resistance out of these three races.
Texas House District 136:
Incumbent State Rep. Tony Dale (R-Cedar Park) draws Democrat John H. Bucy III (Austin) this November. House District 136 is just northwest of Austin and Round Rock, near several large technology firms in an area known as Tech Ridge. This may be why Hillary Clinton carried House District 136 by nearly 2% over President Trump in 2016. Also, primary vote totals for the Democratic Party in March outpaced Republican Party primary numbers by about 1,300 voters. However, like House District 47, political consultants still rank House District 136 as slightly Republican leaning. Rep. Dale, a former active service member, has held this seat since 2012 while challenger Bucy previously served as Chairman for the Williamson County Democratic Party. Expect this race to be one of the most competitive in Central Texas come November. Rep. Dale is regarded as an excellent legislator, has won against this same opponent previously, and should win again.