Rep. Rodriguez Prepares for Senate Run. On Thursday, Representative Eddie Rodriguez (D-Austin) formed an exploratory committee for a potential run to fill the unexpired term of State Senator Kirk Watson (D-Austin). Sen. Watson, who has represented the Austin-area District 19 since 2007, recently announced that he would leave the Senate in April. Democratic State Representatives Donna Howard, Celia Israel, and Gina Hinojosa, who were rumored to be considering their own runs, will co-chair the exploratory committee. Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt is also rumored to be considering a run.
Early Voting Period Ends. Early voting in Texas ends on Friday, February 28th. So far, voting in both party primaries has already exceeded 2018 totals, with about 358,985 voting in the Democratic Primary and 255,366 in the Republican primary, outpacing totals of 242,891 and 195,021 in 2018, respectively. In total, 26 Texas House members will face primary challengers in March and 86 will face general election challengers in November; 12 will face both. In the Senate, 13 members will have general election challengers, 3 of whom will have both general election and primary challengers. Election Day is Tuesday, March 3rd.
Below are 8-day pre-election fundraising results for candidates in some competitive elections around the state. Fundraising numbers for all candidates are available at the Texas Ethics Commission.
- In House District 45, between San Antonio and Austin, Democratic incumbent Erin Zwiener raised $20,000 and had $83,000 cash on hand while her primary opponent, Liliana Posada, did not report any contributions or cash on hand. Three Republicans will run in the primary to challenge the Democrat: Bud Wymore, who raised $25,000 and has $36,000 cash on hand; Carrie Isaac, who raised $59,000 and has $51,000 cash on hand, and Austin Tally, who raised $2,000 and has $1,000 cash on hand.
- In House District 108, in the Dallas area, 3 Democrats seeking to win their party’s nomination to challenge incumbent Republican Morgan Meyer in November. Democrat Shawn Terry raised $16,000 and has $21,000 cash on hand; Democrat Joanna Cattanach, who narrowly lost to Meyer in 2018, raised $29,000 and has $11,000 cash on hand; Democrat Tom Ervin raised $7,000 and has $33,000 cash on hand. Meyer did not file an 8-day report, but reported raising $320,177 in contributions and $119,050 cash on hand in an earlier 30-day report.
- In House District 132, in the Houston area, two Republicans are vying to challenge incumbent Democrat Calanni in the general election: Angelica Garcia, (who has been endorsed by Governor Abbott) raised $136,000 and has $11,000 cash on hand, and Mike Schofield, who raised $34,000 and has $132,000 cash on hand. Callani reported $82,002 in contributions and $24,571 in cash on hand in her last report.
- In House District 135, in the Houston area, incumbent Democrat Jon Rosenthal has not yet filed a 30-day campaign finance report. Republican Justin Ray reported raising $6,400 and $44,229 cash on hand; his opponent in the Republican primary, Merilee Beazley, did not report any contributions or cash on hand.
- In House District 138, an open seat in the Houston area following the retirement of Republican Dwayne Bohac, three Republicans and two Democrats have filed to run. Of the Republicans in the race, Lacey Hull reported raising $116,272 and $47,923 cash on hand; Claver Kamau-Imani reported $4,562 in contributions and $7,903 cash on hand; Josh Flynn, who has been ruled ineligible to run by the Harris County Republican Party but will appear on the ballot, reported $3,170 in contributions and $13,889 cash on hand. For the Democrats, Josh Wallenstein reported the $ 6,518.96 in contributions and $5,521.74 cash on hand; Akilah Bacy has not yet filed an 8-day fundraising report.
- In Senate District 27, incumbent Democrat Eddie Lucio Jr. raised $446,000 and has $64,000 cash on hand. Two Democrats have filed to run against him: Ruben Cortez, who raised $31,000 and has $13,000 cash on hand; and Sara Stapleton-Barrera, who reported $220 cash on hand and did not report any contributions.
Interim Committee Hearings. House Committees will meet for the following upcoming interim hearings:
- Pensions, Investments, and Financial Services: March 9 in Austin
- Redistricting: March 24 in Laredo
- Higher Education: March 25 in Austin
- Health & Human Services Transition, Oversight: March 24 in Austin
Senate Committees will meet for the following upcoming interim hearings:
- Mass Violence Prevention and Community Safety: March 10 in Austin
- Education: March 11 in Austin
- Finance: March 25 in Austin
- Redistricting: March 26 in San Antonio
- Health & Human Services: March 30 & 31 in Austin