January 17 , 2020

Inside this edition of Capitol Roundup:


January special runoff elections will decide three open House seats

March 3 Primary Elections

Remember: February 3 is the last day to register to vote in the March 3 Primary Elections! 

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AGC Texas Chapters

Quote of the Week:

"Texans feel strongly about voting for their judges. The commission will need to make a compelling argument to the people and legislators to change the current system. I do not believe that support exists today."

-Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick made the comment as  a new commission met to study the judicial selection process in Texas, which is one of six states that elect all of their judges on a partisan ballot. Changing the way judges are elected would likely require a constitutional amendment - needing approval from two-thirds of both the House and Senate along with ballot approval from voters. 
Texas House becomes focus for 2020 elections as primary races approach
Special elections this month will decide three open seats in House
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. 

In 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.

In House District 100Lorraine 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.


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.

Click here for a complete list of 2020 primary election races.


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.


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 challengerIn 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  Pete Flores (R - Pleasanton).  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.
31 - Board of Directors Meeting (Pflugerville)
3 - Last day to register to vote in March 3  primary election
21 - Outstanding Construction Award submission deadline
3 - Primary Election Day

24 - Board of Directors Meeting (Austin)
27 -  Last day to register to vote in May 26 runoff primary election

26 - Runoff Primary Election Day

15-17 - 2020 AGC-TBB Convention (Gloucester, MA)

TBD - Outstanding Construction Awards
TBD - Board of Directors Meeting

3 - General Election Day
20 - Board of Directors Meeting (Austin)