Few But Important State Races To Watch

With only days remaining until the election, few competitive state races exist in Texas. But while few in number, they do have significant implications for the 83rd Legislature.

Arguably the most watched state-level race resides in Tarrant County. State Rep. Mark Shelton is challenging incumbent Democratic State Senator Wendy Davis in SD 10. With near-certain prospects of a significantly more conservative senate in 2013, a Wendy Davis loss would be even bigger for conservatives than usual.

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With near-certain prospects of a significantly more conservative senate in 2013, a Wendy Davis loss would be even bigger for conservatives than usual.

As of now, Texans are looking at 19 Republicans and 12 Democrats in the state’s higher chamber. If Davis were to lose, Republicans would then have 20 members, only one shy of having a 2/3 majority.

Based on current senate rules, a 2/3 vote is needed to bring most every bill up for consideration, meaning at least two Democrats have to agree. A Davis loss would mean only one Democrat is needed to move big legislation.

It’s possible, although unlikely, Republicans could get to a 2/3 majority if State Rep. Raul Torres upsets Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa in SD 20. An even less likely scenario would be for Republican R.W. Bray to win against the late Senator Mario Gallegos Jr., or a Republican to prevail in a special election assuming Gallegos wins.

But besides political implications on the senate at large, Texans (especially those in the Metroplex) have a chance to end the career of a politician with questionable legal and ethical behavior during her time in office.

You can decide if Wendy Davis’ behavior is illegal, unethical, or just plain wrong by vising www.wendydavis.org.

There are a few state house races that should garner taxpayers’ attention as well.

One of which is House District 45 in central Texas, featuring Taxpayer Champion State Rep. Jason Isaac against liberal Democrat and former Dripping Springs ISD board member John Adams.

Rep. Isaac is a principled conservative who stood firm in opposing the re-election of Joe Straus as Speaker of the House in his freshman session. Rep. Isaac has also signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge and earned an A+ on our Fiscal Responsibility Index.

John Adams on the other hand, is an ally of public school administrator’s and bureaucrats. As the former secretary of the Dripping Springs ISD school board, Adams voted to spend $1.3 million on renovations for the district’s baseball field at the same time DSISD was preparing to sue to the state for more education funding! He’s also voted more than once to raise taxes in the district, and even made the motion to raise M&O rates to the highest allowed by state law.

And then there’s House District 107 in Dallas County, where former tax-and-spend Democrat Robert Miklos is looking to get his old job back by challenging incumbent Republican Ken Sheets.

Rep. Sheets is also a Taxpayer Champion – having scored an A+ on our fiscal index.

Obama Democrat Miklos spent his one session in Austin voting for new taxes, wasteful spending, and less transparency. You can learn more about why his rhetoric doesn’t match his record at www.robertmiklos.org.

State Rep. John Garza is another solid conservative in a hotly contested race in HD 117 (outside San Antonio). Garza, also a Taxpayer Pledge signer, earned a B+ on our index in his freshman session.

His challenger, Philip Cortez, is a former San Antonio city councilman supported by San Antonio’s liberal Democrat Mayor Julian Castro, labor and teacher’s unions, and the deceptively named Parent PAC. 

And in Williamson County, Republican Tony Dale is being challenged for an open seat in HD 136 by both a Democrat and a Libertarian who want to raise the gas tax.

Dale, whom we endorsed, opposes any increase to the gas tax, has signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, and endorses the Texas Budget Compact.

But just because you may not live in a competitive state-level district doesn’t mean there aren’t equally important county, city and other local races to engage. Be sure to get out to vote this Tuesday, and bring a friend along with you!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dustin Matocha is the Executive Director of Empower Texans. Dustin graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a BBA in Management, a BA in Government, and a minor in Marketing. He’s a self-described Corvette enthusiast, baseball purist, tech geek and growing connoisseur of local craft beer.

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