Texans will go to the polls to elect hundreds of officials to represent them this year. Up for grabs are the governor’s mansion, a seat in the U.S. Senate and some of the most powerful statewide offices.
All of Texas’ congressmembers are up for election — same, too, for the entire Texas House of Representatives and half of the Texas Senate. And then a bunch of local, county and judicial posts will be on the ballot.
To help you prepare, here are a handful of key dates and numbers to know.
February 5: The last day to register to vote in the Texas primary election.
February 20: The first day of early voting in Texas.
March 6: The primary election to select party nominees.
128: The Dallas County Republican Party filed a lawsuit on Friday to kick 128 Democrats off the primary ballot in the county. The local GOP says Democratic Chair Carol Donovan didn’t sign required forms for 128 of her party's candidates, including stalwarts like State Sen. Royce West and Rep. Eric Johnson, both Democratic candidates for District Attorney, and contenders in state legislative districts that Democrats think they've got a good chance of flipping. Democrats called the lawsuit shenanigans and said Republicans are resorting to dirty tricks because they can't win outright in most Dallas County races.
$43 million: That’s how much money Gov. Greg Abbott had in his war chest at the beginning of the year to fund his campaign for re-election. He had a major head start on potential Democratic challengers, and the sum is orders of magnitude above their fundraising hauls. Andrew White, a Houston businessman and the son of a former governor, raised more than $219,000, including a sizable loan he gave to his campaign. Longtime Dallas County sheriff Lupe Valdez raised just $46,000.
8: Eight congressmen won’t seek re-election this year. Five planned on retiring at the end of their terms. Two aren’t running again after scandals: Republican Reps. Joe Barton of Ennis and Blake Farenthold of Corpus Christi. Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke is stepping down to run for Senate. It’s rare for this many seats to be open in Texas, and lots of people are jockeying to win them.
48: The number of women running for Congress in Texas. Twenty of those women are running for the eight open seats. That ups the chances that Texas will elect a new woman to Congress for the first time in 22 years. Right now, both of our senators are men. Only three of the 36 members of Congress representing Texas are women.
22: The number of Democrats and Republicans running to replace retiring Rep. Lamar Smith. It’s the most crowded contest to replace an outgoing congressman, but others, like the district left empty by Joe Barton’s retirement, aren’t far behind. There are 18 people vying to win that seat, which represents Arlington, as well as Navarro and Ellis Counties.
14: Just 14 percent of registered voters in Texas cast a ballot in the last gubernatorial primary election in 2014. General election turnout that year wasn’t terribly impressive either: 34 percent of registered voters voted. Texas’ anemic turnout is even poorer when factoring in the millions of Texans who are eligible to vote, but not registered.
6: The March primary election is just six weeks away, on March 6. Early voting starts in less than a month. And the deadline to register to vote is two weeks away.