TCTA - Texas Classroom Teachers Association

11/09/2018 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 11/09/2018 13:18

Elections bring new faces to Texas Legislature

Republicans continue to dominate state politics as Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, and other statewide officeholders all won re-election Tuesday, but Democrats made gains in the Texas Legislature.

When lawmakers convene in January, 12 more Democrats will have seats in the Texas House of Representatives, reducing the GOP majority from the current 95-55 to 83-67. In the Texas Senate, Democrats flipped two seats, but Republicans will hold a 19-12 majority.

By the numbers alone, the Republican majority in the Senate remains strong enough that Republicans can bring a bill to the floor without the need for support from any Democrats. However, Lt. Gov. Patrick may face a tougher road to quick passage of his legislative priorities than in 2017, when Republicans held a stronger majority and voted out most of his favored proposals in the early weeks of the session. There are several issues - including vouchers - on which votes do not fall strictly along party lines, and a difference of one or two votes will be significant.

In the House, the increased Democratic numbers are expected to have an effect on the election of the House speaker. If Democrats stick together in support of a candidate, they would need only nine Republicans to reach the 76 votes needed to elect a speaker and thus are now positioned to have a stronger voice in the decision.

More than 8.3 million Texans voted in the 2018 midterms this year. It is estimated, although official numbers are not available, that teachers and other education supporters voted in greater numbers this year with a focus on education issues, and had a notable impact on election results in Texas and nationwide.