With the 2022 general election behind us, let’s take a look at how this midterm election shaped up. As always, TDA has been very active and involved in the statewide and state legislative races, as the Texas Legislature controls much of what dentists do in their practices every day. The lawmakers in the Texas House and Texas Senate make decisions that directly impact dentists and dental patients, so TDA and DENPAC work daily to elect candidates who support organized dentistry.
There were no upsets in any of the Republican-held statewide offices, which have not been held by a Democrat since 1995. Governor Greg Abbott, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, and Attorney General Ken Paxton all maintained their top spots after navigating numerous challenges this term, including the Covid-19 pandemic, the extreme winter storm and electric grid failure, new restrictions on voting and abortion, and the Uvalde school shooting. Of Texas’ 17.7 million registered voters, only 31.2% cast their ballot during early voting this year, compared with 57.3% in 2020 and 37.6% in 2018. With Election Day turnout factored in, 8.1 million people voted in the midterm - 45.7% of the state’s registered voters.
In the Texas Senate, the 31-member body will be made up of 19 Republicans and 12 Democrats, 5 of which will be freshman members. Republicans retained control of the upper chamber, and by gaining an additional seat they once again have a three-fifths majority. Historically, Senate rules dictated that a two-thirds (21 members) threshold was required to bring legislation to the floor. Lt. Gov. Patrick lowered that threshold to three-fifths (19 members) during his first session as lieutenant governor in 2015. When Republicans lost their supermajority after the 2020 election, Lt. Gov. Patrick again lowered the threshold to five-ninths (18 members).
In the Texas House, the 150-member body will be made up of 86 Republicans and 64 Democrats, 27 of which will be freshman members. Republicans in the House also maintained their majority and picked up a couple additional seats. The biggest flip was HD 37, a historically Democratic district vacated by longtime Rep. Eddie Lucio III (D), which Janie Lopez (R) won with almost 52% of the vote. This victory speaks to a larger shift we are seeing in South Texas as Republicans continue to win more races there. Speaker of the House Dade Phelan (R) is likely to retain his position as presiding officer. The House will vote when the 88th Legislature convenes on January 10, 2023.
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