A blue wave swept across parts of the country Tuesday, when elections in New Jersey and Virginia saw Democrats take control of the state governors’ offices, and progressive candidates elsewhere saw notable wins against candidates aligned with President Donald Trump‘s policies.

It appears unlikely, however, that Galveston County will be caught up in the same in next year’s elections for state representative.

State Rep. Wayne Faircloth already has one declared challenger, fellow Republican Mayes Middleton, for Texas House District 23. All indications are that Middleton will try to run to the right of Faircloth. He’s already criticized Faircloth’s connection to (now retiring) Speaker of the House Joe Straus, and is connected closely to the far-right group Empower Texans.

But so far, no Democrats have declared candidacy for the District 23 position. If no Democrat declares for the position, it will mark the first time — perhaps ever — that Republicans take the state house seat that represents Galveston without a challenger.

House District 24 Rep. Greg Bonnen does not have any declared challengers so far.

John Young, chairman of the Galveston County Democratic Party confirmed Wednesday that no one had declared candidacy so far for the statehouse races. Some people have talked about entering the race, he said, but he declined to name them without having an official announcement in hand.

A GOP-only race in District 23 would mark another step in Galveston County’s red shift.

Faircloth defeated former State Rep. Lloyd Criss in 2016. He first won his seat in 2014 by defeating former District Court Judge Susan Criss, Lloyd Criss’ daughter.

Faircloth was the first Republican to represent Galveston in Austin since Reconstruction.

Bonnen was first elected in 2012. He ran unopposed in 2014 and 2016.

The last Democratic Representative for Galveston County was Craig Eiland, who retired after the 2013 special session. Eiland was one of the last local Democrats in higher office, after a surge in Republican candidates were elected starting in 2010.

The first day to file for a place on the March 2018 primary ballot is Saturday. Ballot applications are open for one month.

GUN CONTROL

Sunday’s shooting massacre in Sutherland Springs drew the now-expected reactions of horror from state leaders.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued a statement offering his “sincerest thoughts and prayers.”

Sen. Ted Cruz called the shooting “unspeakable evil.” Sen. John Cornyn offered his condolences and his “unequivocal and complete support.”

U.S. Rep. Randy Weber called the shooting “absolutely devastating.”

None of them immediately called for law changes to address mass shootings.

However, since Sunday, details of the shooting have emerged revealing that shooter Devin Kelley had been court-martialed because of a domestic violence charge, which should have disqualified him from buying a weapon. That charge was not entered into the FBI’s background check database, however.

The oversight could mean that, for once, Congress could move to pass some sort of legislation in reaction to a mass shooting.

Cornyn is working with U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, whose district included Sutherland Springs, to improve the national background check system, according to The Dallas Morning News.

He told The Hill, a Washington D.C. newspaper, that other proposals that would restrict gun ownership likely would lead to another stalemate.

LOYALTY PLEDGES

The Texas Republican Party on Wednesday published a form that is being sent to every house candidate, asking for a pledge to support a single Speaker of the House candidate that would be chosen by the House Republican Caucus.

Who that speaker will be isn’t clear. Speaker Joe Straus, the subject of much division among Texas Republicans, is retiring, and several people have expressed interest in being his replacement.

Earlier this week, one of those people, State Rep. John Zerwas, of Richmond, told The Texas Tribune he wouldn’t commit to supporting the caucus’ choice — and said there should be bipartisan support behind the next speaker.

The Republican Party plans to meet before the 2019 legislative session to decided on its preferred candidate, according to the party’s resolution.

NOTEBOOK

Sen. John Cornyn said the Senate would not use the House of Representatives’ version of the GOP tax cut bill as its starting point for a similar measure. There could be significant differences between the two documents. ... One of the things I love about Galveston County elections: the fact that a ballot box has to cross Bolivar Roads on the ferry to be counted. What would happen if the boat sank with the ballots on board? A potential election contest.

John Wayne Ferguson: 409-683-5226; john.ferguson@galvnews.com or on Twitter @johnwferguson.

(16) comments

Ron Shelby

No matter what, each party should ensure that at least one name is in every race. Give voters a choice. That's what democracy is about, and tides change direction. Makes no sense not to.

Mark Aaron

That blue wave is likely to encourage many more Democrats to run for office.

Carlos Ponce

Run Little Marky, Run.

Jean Casanave

This sounded like an advertisement for eligible Democrat candidates to raise their hand. On a separate note, why wasn't there as much talk about the illegal immigrant going on a shooting rampage on I35 outside Austin Sat night? It certainly got overshadowed by the shooting in the church.

Jim Forsythe

4 Injured In I-35 Shooting In North Austin: Police. It was in the Austin papers.
https://patch.com/texas/north-austin/police-id-charge-north-austin-shooting-rampage-suspect

Carlos Ponce

Another shooting by an Illegal Alien. This one should have been deported in 2015 after assaulting a public servant. Why wasn't he? Oh right. It happened in 2015 when illegals committing crimes weren't sent back. And it happened in Liberal TRAVIS County, a SANCTUARY COUNTY. He plead GUILTY in 2016.
"Police charge suspect with 4 assault counts after North Austin rampage"
Police are linking several incidents of gun violence to Rolando Martinez, 25.
Martinez is being held in the Travis County Jail in lieu of $1 million bail and is under an ICE detainer.
Records show that Martinez has one prior criminal charge in the United States. He pleaded guilty in 2016 to assaulting a public servant in Travis County. It was not immediately clear what his immigration status was at that time or whether ICE was involved in that criminal proceeding.
http://www.mystatesman.com/news/crime--law/police-charge-suspect-with-assault-counts-after-north-austin-rampage/iz9MTrnhr5KNOyMfq4iBjL/
Now how did an illegal alien found guilty in 2016 of assault on a Travis County public servant obtain an AR-15? The laws on the books in Texas say he isn't supposed to own one. Will Travis County (a SANCTUARY COUNTY) now allow ICE to do the right thing?

Carlos Ponce

There is no "blue wave". Christie (R) was a fluke winning a blue state in the past but it still remains blue. Christie replace Jon Corzine (D) who replaced Richard Codey(D) who replaced Jim McGreevey (D) who replaced Richard Codey (D) . And now he is being replaced by Phil Murphy(D). No wave here, just going back to the status quo.
Virginia has voted Democratic in the last three Presidential elections including 2016. The northern counties of Virginia are populated by DC workers who want to continue on the government Gravy Train. No wave here, just another Blue state selecting a Democrat to replace a Democrat Governor.
Instead of a wave you have a stagnant pool.

Gary Scoggin

Actually most of those DC government workers are hard working folks that go to work each day and do their jobs and are not on a "gravy train" at all.

Carlos Ponce

Government Bureaucrats in redundant or unnecessary positions. Swamp dwellers.

Mark Aaron

Carlos: [Government Bureaucrats in redundant or unnecessary positions. Swamp dwellers.]

Who taught you to hate our government and what was their motive Carlos?

Carlos Ponce

Government within Constitutional bounds is good.
Excessive government that goes beyond what our founding fathers set up is bad.
A lot of government bureaucracy is redundant with different agencies doing exactly the same thing. Just "make work". And keeping Democrats in office keeps them employed. Your tax money and my tax money can be better spent.. But being a Liberal, you don't care as long as the "rich" pay for it. And they do pay most of the taxes.

Mark Aaron

Carlos: [Instead of a wave you have a stagnant pool.]

Yes, keep rooting for Trump as you whistle past the graveyard Carlos.

Gary Miller

The "blue wave' is very faint. Democrats defeated a anti trump candidate in VA. In NJ it was considered a fluke for Christy to have been elected in a historicaly Blue state. Over all Republicans lost one Gov. Only 31 left. Bet on that being 32 or 33 after 2018 midterms. The best news is 20 anti trump RINO Republicans have said they are retiring. They will be replaced with Trump supporters in 2018 mid terms. So far this year Conservatives have added more seats than they lost. Good bye and good ridance.

Gary Scoggin

It's actually the Freedom Caucus and the rabid Trump Republicans that are the RINOs. They've turned their back on everything the GOP has stood for over the last 100 years.

Mark Aaron

Gary: [It's actually the Freedom Caucus and the rabid Trump Republicans that are the RINOs. They've turned their back on everything the GOP has stood for over the last 100 years.]

I agree.

Mark Aaron

Gary: [ So far this year Conservatives have added more seats than they lost. ]

Do you have a credible link for that assertion?

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