Welcome to our first weekly round up of election news in the state of Texas! It has been a big week, with the launch of our candidate trackers. Burnt Orange Report is currently watching 223 of the partisan races that will appear on the November 2014 general election ballots throughout the state of Texas. Every Monday morning, this column will recap all the changes made to our elections charts and other significant elections news we covered in the previous week.
The big news last week: Sen. Wendy Davis announced October 3rd will be the date when we find out what office she will seek in 2014. Previously, Sen. Davis had said she had limited her options to Governor or re-election to the Texas Senate. In ten short days, we will finally know!
On Friday afternoon, State Rep. Tryon Lewis (R-Odessa)announced he would retire from the Texas House at the end of his current term. Rep. Lewis will have only served three terms in the Texas House and currently serves as the Chair of the House Committee on Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence. Before his election in 2008, Rep. Lewis was a State District Judge for over twenty years. This means, House District 81, where President Obama got 24.18% in 2014, will be open in next year's general election.
Click after the jump to see the 44 other changes made on the ratings charts this week, including the 23 lawmakers Burnt Orange Report confirmed are seeking re-election in 2014.
Texas Democratic Party Chairman Boyd Richie released this statement last night:
"I congratulate Chris Bell on running a great campaign in a tough district drawn by Republicans to elect Republicans. In district after district, Democrats have taken on Republicans on their turf and it's never easy - even for a top-notch candidate like Chris who never backs down from a challenge.
Hard-working Texas families are demanding real leadership and an end to cronyism and corruption, and Republicans are running scared. Despite running in a Republican district, Joan Huffman and her fellow partisans had to use every trick in the book to hold this seat. From propping up a bogus candidate, to limiting early voting hours and providing no early voting locations in Democratic parts of the district, to scheduling the election during the busy holiday season, Republicans used every tool available to suppress turnout to their advantage.
Each election cycle, more Texas voters are casting a ballot against failed Republican politics of the past to elect more Texas Democrats because we are ready and willing to reach across party lines to solve important problems. We expect that Democratic trend to continue in 2010, both in SD 17 and across our state.
Chris Bell's statement can be found here and Michael's initial reaction can be found here. Not to become too much of a broken record, but this loss stings. We aren't talking about a huge raw vote loss, we are talking about a small raw vote loss that became a large percentage.
I truly feel like we, the voters and activists of this state, let Chris Bell down. It was absolutely not the other way around.
To echo so many of my friends and colleagues thank you for running and thank you for being such a great Democrat.
This is a sad loss tonight tempered only by the fact that we gave the GOP one hell of a scare at further eating into their Senate margin. We'll have to make do with a net +1 gain by Wendy Davis for a 19-12 Texas Senate.
Chris Bell's official statement.
"I entered this race because I truly believe it is vital for us to change the overall direction of our state. Though we came up short tonight, I am very proud of the campaign we have run - a campaign that focused on the issues that matter to the people of Texas and Senate District 17.
I traveled across this district and visited with so many of its residents about the concerns they face. It only reinforced my belief that in order to create a brighter future for our kids, we must act now to implement real education and health care reform.
I want to thank all of my supporters and campaign volunteers who worked tirelessly to bring real reform to the Texas Senate. We could not have made it without your time, energy and commitment to this campaign and to the future of Texas."
Today is Election Day in SD-17 where the special election between Chris Bell and Joan Huffman will finish up in 6 hours. We'll be back here tonight to cover the election returns but for right now, here's what you can do in the remaining time.
Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Click on your county to find a list of polling places, by precinct and by Zip Code:
(All right folks! You passed the first match and are only $625 away from taking advantage of the full second match by Commissioner Garcia. So if we can scare up the remaining $625 will hit the total $5000 raised for Chris Bell this year via BOR! Last push for dollars for E-Day GOTV! - promoted by Karl-Thomas Musselman)
I've just recorded the video below to share some great news with you. As Matt announced this morning, we have received two matches for our Chris Bell fundraising effort for a total match of $2000! Roland Garcia of Houston and County Commissioner Sylvia Garcia of Houston have upped the ante and that means it's really time for you (yes, YOU) to step up for Bell.
There is one more election in 2008. Chris Bell is running for State Senate in District 17, and you can help.
Over the past week we have been raising money for the Congressman. Now Roland Garcia of Houston has made a generous offer, he will match our efforts and donate an additional $1,000 if we can raise $1,000.
Over the past week we have already raised over $600 for Congressman Bell. We are almost there. Now we need your help to maximize our efforts and take advantage of Roland Garcia's generous offer.
UPDATE: Harris County Commissioner Sylvia Garcia is adding to the generosity. She will add another $1,000 to the matching fund. That means if we raise $2,000 Roland Garcia and Sylvia Garcia will match it dollar for dollar. We need to raise $1,300 more take full effect of these generous matches. You will see we changed the goal. In fact, I am donating to Chris again as my holiday present to Texas. Now we need your help, donate today!
Sadly, I'm going to be back in Washington, DC this weekend for Rootscamp otherwise I'd be on this bus in an instant. Austin readers- time to get on the bus for Bell! It's a one day commitment only. -kt
The Travis County Democratic Party and Education Austin are proud to help Congressman Chris Bell by providing a blockwalking bus from Austin to Houston this Saturday December 13.
The free Bus trip leaves at 6:15am at AFL-CIO at 11th and Lavaca this Saturday December 13. Breakfast, coffee and a movie will be provided on the bus. Once in Chris Bell's district outside of Houston, we will meet with Congressman Bell and then blockwalk his district. We'll return to Austin by 7pm, enjoying dinner on the way back. Chris Bell's victory in the Texas Senate will help our fight for issues that matter to us--public schools, choice, clean air and clean water, and even the simple right to vote in Texas.
Call 477-7500 to reserve your spot on the bus today. Or click here to give us your phone and email and we'll follow up with you.