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.
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.
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.
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.