Labor Day is the traditional starting date for the fall and spring campaign season. The vast majority of the statewide candidates on the Republican side appear to be declared and out on the hustings. Democratic statewide candidates will fall in place after Sen. Davis officially declares for Governor, although I do not expect to see any Democratic legislators going “up or out” other than Sen. Davis.
Incumbent legislators running for higher office cause a domino effect down ballot bringing new members into the legislature.
So far, two Senators and seven House members are not seeking reelection to the 84th Texas Legislature.
- Sen. Dan Patrick (SD 7) is running for Lt. Governor, and he will be replaced in the Senate by former Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector Paul Bettencourt.
- Sen. Ken Paxton (SD 8) is running for Attorney General.
- Rep. Brandon Creighton (HD 16) is running for Agriculture Commissioner.
- Rep. Craig Eiland (HD 23) has announced his retirement from the legislature.
- Rep. Mark Strama (HD 50) has resigned from the legislature to head up Google Fiber in Austin, and a special election to fill is seat will be held November 4.
- Rep. Harvey Hilderbran (HD 53) has announced he is not seeking reelection to the House and is expected to declare next week for Comptroller.
- Rep. Van Taylor (HD 66) is running for SD 8 (Paxton) and is the likely winner.
- Rep. Stefani Carter (HD 102) is running for the Railroad Commission seat being vacated by Chairman Barry Smitherman, who is running for Attorney General.
- Rep. Dan Branch (HD 108) is running for Attorney General.
Additionally, I expect Sen. Wendy Davis (SD 10) to officially announce for Governor after Labor Day.
Retirements being seriously contemplated include Rep. Allan Ritter (HD 21) and Rep. John Davis (HD 129).
What is clear is that the freshman Class of 2015 will be much smaller than the Class of 2013 when 44 new House members (including Rep. John Raney) and six new Senators joined the 83rd Texas Legislature.