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Analysis And Endorsements: Will Democrats Flip The Texas House In 2022? (Part 1)

Part One: East Texas, Dallas County, and Tarrant County.

Between the Republican’s gerrymandering and voter suppression, Conservatives are expecting to hold on to the Texas House, but they aren’t considering the “Beto effect.” Like we saw in 2018, we will see a huge turnout on the Democratic side that will trickle-down to every race on the ballot. Conservatives are also counting on the lawsuits regarding their voter suppression efforts won’t be decided on before the election. There are more than a dozen lawsuits facing the Lone Star State if any one of them rules in favor of the Constitution and the people of Texas, it could change things drastically.

The 87th Legislature was 82 (R) and 67 (D), so was the 86th Legislature. In 2020, we didn’t gain or lose seats. But, we picked up 11 seats in 2018, the last time Beto ran, because of the Beto-effect.

The current make up of the Texas House is 85 (R) and 65 (D), because of special elections and party-switchers.

In order to flip the Texas House, Democrats would have to pick up 11 seats.

It’s ironic that we need 11 seats and the last time Beto ran, we picked up 11 seats. Could this be a sign?

Let’s talk about it.

For the 2022 elections, there are 41 safe (R) seats, meaning there aren’t even Democrats running for these seats. Those Districts are:

01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 07, 08, 10, 11, 12, 14, 16, 18, 21, 25, 29, 30, 32, 43, 57, 58, 59, 60, 62, 64, 68, 72, 81, 82, 83, 84, 86, 87, 88, 89, 91, 96, 106, 126, 127, and 130.

Then there are 26 safe (D) seats. Those are:

36, 40, 48, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 90, 100, 101, 103, 104, 107, 109, 110, 113, 116, 119, 137, 137, 140, 141, 143, 144, and 146.

There are other seats held by one side or the other that are long-shots, but have challengers from the opposing party. I’d prefer we call them long-shots because we have take the Beto-effect into consideration, as well the possibility of getting voting rights (either restored from lawsuit or the US Senate) before the election.

East Texas, HD06, HD09, and HD13.

HD06.

East Texas is the region were the least Democrats are running for office. It’s a little surprising because the Democratic platform most aligns with blue-collar workers in East Texas, but it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

Currently TX06 is being held by Matt Schaefer (R). Schafer has been the rep in this district for nearly a decade, but he’s been fairly unpopular in his district. He’s a member of the far-right Texas Freedom Caucus and supported every extreme piece of legislation the 87th Legislature pushed. Schafer is facing a primary challenger, an elderly gentleman with 27 Facebook followers named Charles Turner.

Charles Turner is even further to the right of Matt Schafer and embraces the neo-Confederate ideology of Texit. While the idea of a treasonous secession has infiltrator the Republican Party of Texas, there are still plenty of Texas Republicans who aren’t ready to abandon America. Schaefer will win this primary.

Cody Grace is the (D) challenging Schaefer in HD06. Living Blue in Texas interviewed Grace a few months ago. His ideas and positions are on par with what we want to see from a Texas Democrat. He wants to see better infrastructure and economic development in East Texas, something that has been missing under the incumbent, Matt Schaefer. He believes in access to healthcare and a well-funded public education system. Grace is a business leader in Tyler and well known in the business community. He recently won an award for the top 40 under 40 in East Texas.

Can Cody Grace win HD06?

This race is going to be a long-shot for a Democrat, because of the way that HD06 was gerrymandered. However, it’s not impossible, and may boil down to who Republicans pick in the Republican primary for governor. Because Matt Schafer is unpopular, we should expect to see a lower turn-out on the right in HD06. However, Republicans may turn out or stay home based on who’s running on the Republican ticket. While, it’s likely to be Greg Abbott, it’s important to note that Abbott is not popular with the Republican base, especially the far-right, which predominates East Texas politics.

In 2018, the Democratic candidate in HD06 only got 25% of the vote, and in 2020 the Democratic candidate got 32% of the vote. While the Beto-effect may help push the Dem vote out in record numbers, maybe even getting us up to 40%, the way we’re going to win HD06 is a low Republican turnout. That’s a hard thing to bet on, but if the Smith County Democratic Party and Cody Grace Campaign busts their asses, and can pull off a 75% Democratic turnout (almost unheard of in East Texas), they can win. It’s going to take a lot of hard work and a lot of money, although know we think it’s likely Republican.

Living Blue in Texas is endorsingCody Grace for HD06. We believe in the principles that he stands for and think if in the Texas House he would stand for the rights of all Texans.

HD09.

The Republican running for HD09 is Trent Ashby. Ashby was the incumbent of HD57 before redistricting. Last year, Jason Rogers (D) challenged Ashby for HD57. This year Rogers is challenging Ashby again for HD09. Ashby won by 60 points.

Jason Rogers is a former English teacher and an Army vet. While we like him as a candidate and think he has great ideas, we haven’t seen the effort from his campaign that it would take to overcome a 60-point deficit. The election is still eleven months away, so there is plenty of time to turn it around, but as of right now, HD09 will be likely Republican.

HD13.

The HD13 incumbent, Ben Leman (R) is not seeking re-election. In 2020, a Democrat did not run for this seat, but someone did in 2018 and got 21% of the vote. However, historically HD13 has had a low voter turnout rate, only 50% in 2018 and 25% in the mid-terms before that (2014).

The Republicans running for HD13 are Angelia Orr and Dennis Wilson. Neither one of these candidates are Conservative superstars or particularly notable. However, Wilson is more tapped in to the community and appears to have connections with more of the establishment than Orr. Both of them have been doing campaign events in the district and already have received endorsements. I haven’t seen any polling on these two, yet, but based on community involvement and endorsements, we think the Republican primary will likely be won by Dennis Wilson.

The Democrats running for HD13 are Cedrick Davis Sr. and Cuevas Sean Peacock. Cedrick Davis Sr. is the former mayor of Balch Springs and the current city manager of Marlin. He’s heavily involved in the community and is well-known. Cuevas Peacock is from Waco and we don’t know a lot about him, yet. We’ve reached out to both men to interview for our Meet the Candidate series. We aren’t ready to endorse anyone in this race, yet.

Because this district has historically low turnout, not many Democrats have ran here in the last several elections, and we don’t know enough about the Democratic campaigns in HD13, we’re going to say this district will be probably Republican, but we’ll revisit it again in a few months.

Dallas County, HD102, HD105, HD108, HD111, HD112, HD114, HD115.

HD102.

Ana-Maria Ramos (D) is the current incumbent of HD102. After Democrats broke quorum this year, Ramos is one of the members who stayed in DC, when her colleagues returned to Texas and caved on voting rights.

When the new Texas House Progressive Caucus formed as the fallout from the ended quorum break, Ramos joined and became the Caucus Whip. Ramos has stood for every progressive principal Living Blue in Texas believes in, which is why we are endorsingher for HD102.

Ana-Maria Ramos unseated Republican Linda Koop in this district in 2018 and won against Koop again in 2020 by 7-points. This year, her Republican challenger is Susan Fischer. Who is Susan Fischer? We don’t know. She doesn’t appear to have a website or any social media pages. She’s unknown in a district where the incumbent is already popular. We believe that HD102 will go likely Democrat and re-elect Ramos.

HD105.

Terry Meza (D) is the incumbent of HD105. While the new redistricting maps appear to be safe-Democrat in HD105, the Republican challengers are well-known and active in the community. Allan Meagher (R) is a current Irving City Council member and Gerson Hernandez (R) is a first generation American and community activist.

Hernandez is young, charismatic, and Hispanic in a predominately Hispanic community. We believe that Hernandez will beat Meagher in the Republican primary and may even give Meza a run for her money.

Republicans have been trying to get us to believe over this last year that the Hispanic vote is increasingly becoming a tossup vote, we think they are basing that on the voting anomalies we saw at the border counties in 2020.HD105 is an urban district and their needs are nothing like we’ve seen in South Texas. Right now, we’re calling this races as probably Democrat. However, it is a race we will be watching closely.

HD108.

Before redistricting, HD108 was expected to flip from (R) to (D). After redistricting, it’s almost 10% more white and remains mostly affluent as the district that contains University Park and Highland Park. The one thing that’s clear is there will likely be a lot of money poured into this race. In 2020, the incumbent, Morgan Meyers (R) only won by 1 point. Meyers is running for re-election.

The two democrats who are challenging him are Elizabeth Ginsberg and Freda Heald. The Democratic primary in HD108 will be one to watch. Although we aren’t ready to endorse anyone in this race yet, both Democratic candidates are strong contenders against Meyers and active in the Dallas Democratic Party. Both ladies are precinct chairs. Ginsberg, a Dallas attorney, is active with the Preston Hollow Democrats. Heald, a Highland Park preschool teacher grew up and lives in Highland Park, and is active with the Funky East Dallas Democrats.

This is a tossup race, one that Democrats could flip with the Beto-effect.

HD111.

Yvonne Davis (D) is the current incumbent of HD111. A Republican hasn’t ran for this seat in a long time. Benny Flores Yrigollen (R) is the Republican precinct chair challenging Davis. Davis has represented this district for almost 30 years and Yrigollen is relatively unknown. It would take a Conservative superstar to unseat Davis, and Yrigollen isn’t it. This race is likely Democrat.

HD112.

HD112 is going to be another tossup race. The current incumbent, Angie Button (R), only won this seat in 2020 by 0.3 points. She barely won. While all district have been drawn to favor Republicans, Button is a moderate-Republican, which is no longer appealing to the rank-and-file post-Trump Republican. Elva Curl is the Democrat challenging Button.

Curl is someone we were already familiar with as she ran for the Dallas City Council earlier this year and has been active with local Democrats. HD112 is a district that is ready to flip and if her campaign and local Democrats work hard enough, we could see this district turn blue.

HD114.

HD114 is an open seat after John Turner’s (D) retirement. There are 5 Democrats running for this seat, John Bryant, Charles Gearing, Kendall Scudder, Alexandra Guio, and Christopher Leal. We will be endorsing someone in this race before the primary, but not yet. In 2020 a Republican ran for this seat and lost by 7 points, but even with redistricting, we believe this race is likely Democrat.

The Republican running for this seat is Mark Hajdu, a far-right Conservative, who’s ideology is probably more aligned with Conservatives in rural Texas than in the heart of Dallas.

HD115.

Julie Johnson (D) is the incumbent of HD115. Johnson is a popular Democrat, who has always stood up for what’s right, and who has spent her time in the Texas House fighting for Democratic principles. That’s why Living Blue in Texas is endorsingJulie Johnson for HD115.

This race is likely Democrat. Not only did Johnson win by 13-points in 2020, her Republican challenger, Melisa Denis is missing a lot more than a few s’s in her name. As far as we can tell, Denis doesn’t have a website or a social media presence, nor could we find pictures or mentions of her in local Republican clubs.

Tarrant County, HD92, HD93, HD94, HD95, HD97, HD98, and HD99.

HD92.

HD92 is the newly drawn district in Arlington. The incumbent, Jeff Cason (R) decided not to run again because the because this district now is likely Democrat. We agree, it’s unlikely a Republican could win this seat again. Yet, a Republican named Joe Livingston is giving it a go.

There are three Democrats running for this seat, Salman Bhojani, Tracy Scott, and Dinesh Sharma.

Bhojani is the mayor pro-tem in Euless and is well-known with Tarrant County Democrats. However, the question as it pertains to Bhhojani is while he is known in Euless, and with the Tarrant County Democratic club, how he’s a new face to many Arlington voters.

Scott, the only woman running for this seat, is the founder and president of the Black Women’s PAC in Texas, as well as an executive committee member of the Tarrant County Black Caucus, and an active member in various other community organizations.

Sharma is the founding membert of the Himalayan Democratic Club and has a history working on Democratic campaigns in Tarrant County. His positions are progressive and he’s well-known in the community.

We will be endorsing someone in this race before the primary, but we aren’t ready to do so, yet. All three Democratic candidates are strong candidates and would serve Arlington well.

HD93.

HD93 is an open seat, abandoned by Matt Krause (R). In 2020 HD93 went to Krause by 9-points, over hopeful Lydia Bean. In 2018, Krause won this seat by 8-points. However, Republicans have drawn this district to be more favorable for the GOP in 2022.

The three Republicans running for this seat are Laura Hill, Cary Moon, and Nate Schatzline.

Hill is the owner of Downey Publishing, which she brags about. Downey Publishing is a well-known employer in Tarrant County as a company who pays poverty-wages and has a high-turnover of their staff. Currently, Glassdoor lists their average starting salary as $20,000.

Moon is Fort Worth City Councilman District 4. He is a well-known party guy who owns a few bars and has an arrest record that includes DWIs. I know a few people in Moon’s friend circle and it’s bizarre that anyone took him seriously for city council, but even more bizarre that anyone would take him serious for the Texas House. His party-boy reputation is well known.

Schatzline, who is Nate Shatzline? He’s a young, charismatic, former pastor, who gives to the homeless and in his spare times goes to school boards and speaks against diversity and equity. A complete oxymoron.

The Republican primary for HD93 will be interesting and we can only hope a local Republican club livestreams a debate between the three.

The only Democrat running for HD93 is KC Chowdhury. Chowdhury is an active Tarrant County Democrat who is friends with Terry Meza (D). This district is likely Republican, even with the Beto-effect, Chowdhury would have to have an exceptional campaign and get a high voter turnout to flip this seat. It can be done, but we don’t see that kind of effort from his campaign, yet.

HD94.

This is a race we are really looking forward to. Current incumbent, Tony Tinderholt (R), has been the thorn in Arlington Democrat’s side for years.

This year, he is being challenged by Dennis Sherrard, long time Democrat, and an active member of his community.

KC Chowdhury and Terry Meza

We met Sherrard a few months ago, before redistricting happened, he’s educated on the issues, and stands for Democratic principles. Living Blue in Texas is endorsingDennis Sherrard for HD94 because we believe that Sherrard would bring a refreshing change to Arlington and other communities in the district.

HD95.

The current incumbent of HD95 is the amazing Nicole Collier. It probably goes without saying that Living Blue in Texas endorsesNicole Collier for HD95. Collier is the chair of the Texas Legislative Black Caucus and has been instrumental in the Texas House fighting for the rights of all Texans.

The Republican challenging Collier is Taylor Mondick, a young and unknown candidate, who has seemingly appeared out of nowhere. The last time HD95 had a Republican challenger was 2018, and he lost by 60 points. This district is likely Democrat.

HD97.

Incumbent Craig Goldman (R) is running for re-election. Goldman is the person who wrote the bill to punish cities who invested in their communities under the guise of an anti-defund the police bill. The bill was racist, it’s now a law. Which is likely something that Republicans considered when they redrew this district.

In 2020, Goldman won against Elizabeth Beck by 7-points. Beck was not only popular, but also well-funded. Goldman won in 2018 by 8-points. While I think that with the Beto-effect, this district could be flipped with a strong candidates, as of right now, Democrats don’t have one.

The two Democrats running for this seat are Chris Rector and Laurin McLaurin. As far as we’ve been able to see, McLaurin has no presence on social media or in the community, she doesn’t have a website yet, so as far as we can tell, her campaign at this point is invisible.

Chris Rector is a Republican. Well, he was a Republican when he ran for Congressional District 12, then after redistricting, he withdrew and then declared he’d run for HD97 as a Democrat. He also ran for the Fort Worth mayoral seat earlier this year, during which time he made some damming statements about Black Lives Matter, which were screenshot, and can be found in most Fort Worth activist’s Facebook groups.

This race is likely Republican and Goldman is probably headed back to Austin.

HD98.

The HD98 Republican primary will at least an entertaining race to watch. Incumbent Giovanni Capriglione (R) is being challenged by local school board activist Mitchell Ryan (R). Ryan has been a familiar face in the Grapevine/Colleyville ISD saga as someone who frequents the school board meetings calling diversity “Marxism” and fretting over a “communist takeover” of his kid’s school. Undoubtedly his campaign will focus on how the Holocaust must be taught with opposing perspectives and how Fredrick Douglas shouldn’t be taught in schools.

The winner of this race will tell us how radicalized this district has become, while we know there has been a well-funded surge of white supremacy in this area, it’s hard to tell how prevalent it is, because it’s so well-funded by the millionaires and billionaires that live in this community. Or is the rest of this district ready to reject the rule of the nobles sitting high on their hills.

The Democrat running for HD98 is Shannon Elkins. She’s a progressive from Grapevine. That’s all we know at this point. It’s still 11 months until her election, so hopefully her campaign will start making some noise soon. HD98 will be likely Republican.

HD99.

Charles Geren (R) is the incumbent of HD99. He’s 73-years old and has been in office over 20 years. While Geren graduated before schools were desegregated, he is less out of touch than most Republicans. This isn’t a compliment, because he’s still a Republican, he just happens to be one of the few that isn’t batshit crazy.

Mimi Coffey is the Democrat running against him. A Dem challenged Geren in 2018 and lost by 40-points. However Geren didn’t have a challenger in 2020 or for many years before 2018. Coffey is relatively unknown Fort Worth attorney, but wrote a fantastic essay recently where she put her principles on display. She’s also on TikTok, and even though she’s only uploaded a few videos, you really get a good sense from her character.

HD99 is probably Republican, but we think with a lot of hard work, Coffey may have a shot at flipping this seat. We’ll keep an eye on this campaign and hope that we see a lot more from her campaign.

Will the Texas House Flip in 2022?

Here’s where we are, if you’re keeping score:

Likely Republican: 06, 09, 97, 98. Probably Republican: 13. Tossup Race: 108, 112. Probably Democrat: 93, 105. Likely Democrat: 92, 95, 102, 111, 114, 115.

Here’s a visualization (so far):

We still have 68 more races to go over for the Texas House. Check back in a few days for part 2, when we’ll go over Collin County, Denton County, and the rest of North Texas.

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