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Analysis And Endorsements: Will Democrats Flip The Texas House In 2022? (Part 2)

Analysis And Endorsements: Will Democrats Flip The Texas House In 2022? (Part 2)

Part Two: Collin County and Denton County.

In part one of this series, we discussed the races with Democrats and Republicans running for their seats in East Texas, Dallas County, and Tarrant County. In addition, we gave our first round of House endorsements, although more will follow. The point of the exercise is to see which seats are closest to flipping, which ones we have to out-organize gerrymandering in, and which districts might benefit from the “Beto-effect.”

(This is only covering contested races. The races with only Democrats or only Republicans running, we’ll get to later in this series.)

Collin County – HD33, HD61, HD66, HD67, and HD70.

HD33.

HD33 lies mainly in Rockwall County, but a piece of it smashes into Collin County. During both the 2018 and 2020 elections, this district went 65% (R) and 35% (D). Republicans figured it was a safe district for the GOP, so they drew it less white than it previously was from redistricting. The incumbent, Justin Holland (R), has been a moderate, fly-under-the-radar-type.

Holland is facing two primary challengers, Scott Lamarca and Dennis London. Both are far-right, much further to the right of Holland. Lamarca is a disabled veteran with PTSD who is on a crusade to tell everyone that he’s a target because he has PTSD and an AR15. A mark of who? It’s unclear, but if you look him up on Facebook, you will see hundreds of unhinged public posts from him about his PTSD and AR15.

London is a bland run-of-the-mill middle-aged white guy who thinks LGBTQ children should be banned and a wall on the border should be built. There’s no question in my mind that Holland will win the primary. Rockwall is an affluent area. Wealthy Republicans will vote for the safe choice; that will be Holland.

Graeson Lynskey (D) and Peter Haase (D) are the Democrats challenging Holland. I met with Lynskey a few weeks ago for the Meet the Candidate series. He’s a sharp and enthusiastic candidate, passionate about his community, and looking to make a change. We, unfortunately, haven’t seen anything from Peter Haase’s campaign yet.

With redistricting, HD33 will become bluer. However, we think it’s still a probably Republican seat.

HD61.

The incumbent of HD61, Phil King (R), has left this seat to run for the Texas Senate. Three Republicans are his replacement, Frederick Frazier, Paul Chabot, and James Herblin.

Frederick Frazier is a city councilman in McKinney and someone Living Blue in Texas has written about before. See: McKinney Tables Decision To Remove Racist Statue During Black History Month. Frazier was in favor of keeping a racist statue representing slavery in McKinney’s town square. Ideology like Frazier’s has no place in McKinney or the Texas House.

Chabot is a proud Christian Conservative looking to secure the border… of Texas/Mexico… from Collin County. This means he has no clue about what’s going on at the border. He’s just touting this month’s most popular dog whistle. James Herblin’s big hot-button issue is stopping the “liberal-agenda in schools,” AKA critical race theory.

Every Republican running for HD61 has made public statements or acted in a way that most people would consider racist.

The only Democrat running for HD61 is Sheena King. Not only is King a Black woman facing down these three hateful white men, but she’s also a fourth-generation Texan, a business owner, and a mother. Her priorities are everything her opponents are against; access to healthcare, the right to vote, and a focus on climate change. This is why Living Blue in Texas is endorsingSheena King for HD61.

While we think this seat is probably Republican, we also believe it can be flipped with an exceptional campaign.

HD66.

HD66 is another Collin County seat, which is probably Republican. The incumbent, Matt Shaheen (R), doesn’t have any Republican challengers. Based on the rapidly changing demographics in Collin County, it’s a personal opinion that Collin County is a lot closer to flipping than some analysts want to give it credit for. In the 2022 election, Collin County could flip if Republicans have a low turnout and Democrats turn out in record numbers. If not, then Collin County will flip by 2026.

The Democrat challenging Shaheen is Jesse Ringness. Since there won’t be a primary challenge in this race, Ringness has 11 months to run a fantastic campaign. We’ll revisit this race before November.

HD67.

The incumbent, Jeff Leach (R), is running for re-election. Leach has one primary challenger, Julia Schmocker. She has ten Facebook likes three months before the election. Like other North Texas Republicans, her number one priority is border security. Leach will win this primary.

Kevin Morris is the only Democrat running for HD67, and he’s a former Democratic precinct chair and political activist. Just like the rest of us, he’s tired of Republicans’ crap.

HD67 is also probably Republican. However, we’ll watch this race intently and may update its status as November gets closer.

HD70.

HD70is the newly drawn seat in Collin County, which Republicans meant to be a Democratic seat. This is a likely Democrat race, but several Republicans threw their hats into this race, anyway. We will be endorsing this race before the primaries, but we aren’t ready for that yet. The three Democrats running are Lorenzo Sanchez, Mihaela Plesa, and Cassandra Garcia Hernandez. We met with both Sanchez and Plesa in our Meet the Candidate series. We suggest Collin County voters watch each; both are strong candidates who would be a good fit for the Texas House. We’ve reached out to Hernandez for an interview and will hopefully have one to share with you soon.

The Republicans running for this seat are Eric Bowlin, Hayden Padgett, Ladale Buggs, Daniel Chandler, and Jamee Jolly.

Bowlin is a veteran who brags on Facebook about being deplorable. Padgett is a Republican activist from California. Buggs is a Black Republican. Chandler is barely 21-years old. And according to her website, Jolly learned her values from her father.

In the Republican primary, I’m predicting that either Bowlin or Padgett will win.

Denton County – HD63 and HD65.

HD63.

This seat is probably Republican and is being fought for by four Republicans and one Democrat. Tan Parker (R) is not running for this seat again but running for the State Senate instead.

The four Republicans running are Ben Bumgarner, Jake Collier, Nick Sanders, and Jeff Younger.

Let’s talk about the elephant in the room first. Jeff Younger is a bigot who led the charge this last legislative session against LGBTQ children. Younger made national news a few years back in this child custody case because his daughter, Luna, is transgender. However, Younger is anti-LGBTQ and started a religious and political crusade, something about “not my son.”

HD2’s Bryan Slaton’s disturbing obsession with what’s in children’s pants stemmed from his friendship with Younger. Younger winning this race would be a worst-case scenario situation.

Bumgarner sits on the Flower Mound city council, Collier is a landscaper, and Sanders is the former Trophy Club mayor. It’s hard for me to predict the Republican primary race. Unfortunately, it looks like Younger may have the best shot because he’s become a celebrity-type in hate, alt-right circles. We’ll have to see what happens.

The lone Democrat running for this seat is Denise Wooten. While Democrats could get as much as a 10-point boost from the Beto-effect, they still need to work hard from now until November. It’s still ten months away, but so haven’t seen a lot of noise from the Wooten campaign. Hopefully, she’ll pick up the pace soon.

HD65.

Michelle Beckley (D) was drawn out of this district and is now running for Lt. Governor. The way that Republicans redrew this district, it’s now probably Republican.

The Republicans running for this seat are Kronda Thimesch, Robert Cooksey, and Peyton Inge. Thimesch ran against Beckley in 2020 and only lost by 3-points. She’s like a nice-old grandma-type, except she doesn’t believe in the right for everyone to vote, and women shouldn’t make decisions on their bodies. Neither Cooksey nor Inge has the name recognition or campaign effort to win this race, and I’m predicting Thimesch will win this primary.

The only Democrat running for this seat is Brittney Verdell. Verdell is a licensed master social worker with progressive values. She’s passionate about women’s rights, mental health, and child welfare. She’s also in favor of legalizing cannabis. For all of these reasons, Living Blue in Texas is endorsingBrittney Verdell for HD65.

More House races to cover.

San Antonio, Austin, South Texas, and West Texas, there are still 42 more contested races that I will analyze and predict in the coming weeks. Stay tuned for those.

If you’re following along with my predicted balance of the House in the 88th Legislature, here is where we are: 41 safe (R) seats, 26 safe (D) seats.

My predictions in Part 1: 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.

My predictions for the Harris County House races were: Likely Republican: 129. Probably Republican: 133, 149. Tossup Race: 128, 132, 138. Likely Democrat: 131, 134, 135, 142, 145, 147, 148, 149.

In Part 2, with Collin and Denton County, here are my predictions: Probably Republican: 33, 61, 66, 67, 63, 65. Likely Democrat: 70.

Here’s a visualization (so far):

Check back in a few days for part 3, when we’ll go through the San Antonio and South Texas Races.

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