The Trib takes a look at the legislative races that could end with a seat changing parties.
• HD-23. Freshman state Rep. Wayne Faircloth, R-Dickinson, against former state Rep. Lloyd Criss, R-La Marque.
• HD-43. State Rep. J.M. Lozano, R-Kingsville, will face Democratic challenger Marisa Yvette Garcia-Utley.
• HD-54. State Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock, R-Killeen, decided not to seek reelection in a district where Republicans have only a narrow advantage over Democrats in presidential election years like this one. Killeen Mayor Scott Cosper apparently won the Republican runoff, but his 43-vote margin over Austin Ruiz has prompted a recount. The winner will face Democrat Sandra Blankenship in November.
• HD-78. State Rep. Joe Moody, D-El Paso, will contend with Jeffrey Lane, a Republican in a district where Democrats have demonstrated a slight advantage.
• HD-102. Freshman Rep. Linda Koop, R-Dallas, will face Democrat Laura Irvin.
• HD-105. State Rep. Rodney Anderson, R-Grand Prairie, currently holds this swing district. He’ll battle Democrat Terry Meza in November.
• HD-107. State Rep. Ken Sheets, R-Dallas, has fended off a series of challenges in his narrowly Republican district; this time, the chief opponent is Democrat Victoria Neave.
• HD-113. Like Sheets in the district next door, state Rep. Cindy Burkett, R-Sunnyvale, has a district where the incumbent is always under attack. Her Democratic opponent this time is Rhetta Andrews Bowers.
• HD-117. State Rep. Rick Galindo, R-San Antonio, is one of two House Republicans defending a district where Democrats generally win statewide races. He’ll face the guy he beat, former Rep. Philip Cortez, a Democrat, in November.
• HD-118. The other of those Republicans is John Luhan, also of San Antonio, who won a special election earlier this year to replace Democrat Joe Farias, who retired. He’ll face Democrat Tomás Uresti — the loser of that special election — in a November rematch.
• HD-144. State Rep. Gilbert Peña, R-Pasadena, represents a district that has gone for Republicans in some years and Democrats in others. And it’s another rematch: He will face former Rep. Mary Ann Perez, the Democrat who lost in 2014 by 152 votes out of 11,878 cast.
Several incumbents got free passes in districts where an able opponent might have been dangerous. In HD-34, state Rep. Abel Herrero, D-Robstown, drew no Republican challenger. In HD-45, Republican Jason Isaac didn’t draw a Democratic opponent.
That’s a pretty comprehensive list. Because I like numbers, I went and dug up the 2012 district results so you can get some idea of how steep a hill these are to climb for the Democrats:
Dist Romney Obama Romney% Obama% Diff Boost =========================================================== 023 31,282 25,365 54.56% 44.24% 5,917 23.3% 043 25,017 22,554 52.05% 46.92% 2,463 10.9% 054 25,343 21,909 52.90% 45.73% 3,434 15.7% 102 29,198 24,958 53.01% 45.31% 4,240 17.0% 105 23,228 20,710 52.11% 46.46% 2,518 12.2% 107 27,185 24,593 51.81% 46.87% 2,592 10.5% 112 28,221 22,308 55.01% 43.48% 5,913 26.5% 113 27,098 23,893 52.51% 46.30% 3,205 13.4% 114 35,975 28,182 55.21% 43.47% 7,793 27.7% 115 29,861 23,353 55.26% 43.22% 6,508 27.9% 136 35,296 26,423 55.06% 41.22% 8,873 33.6%
“Diff” is just the difference between the Romney and Obama totals. “Boost” is my way of quantifying how wide that gap really is. It’s the ratio of the Diff to the Obama total, which put another way is how big a turnout boost Democrats would need in 2016 over 2012 to match the Republican total. That doesn’t take into account any other factors, of course, it’s just intended as a bit of context. Note that for HDs 78 (where Obama won by more than ten points in 2012), 117, 118, and 144, Democrats already had a majority of the vote in 2012, so in theory all that is needed is to hold serve. Individual candidates matter as well, of course, though in 2012 there was literally only on State House race in which the winner was not from the party whose Presidential candidate carried the district, that being then-Rep. Craig Eiland in HD23. Point being, you can swim against the tide but it’s a lot more challenging to do so these days. I went and added a couple more races to the list that the Trib put together just for completeness and a sense of how big the difference is between the top tier and the next tier. I don’t have a point to make beyond this, I’m just noting all this for the record.