There are two weeks until the candidate filing deadline for elected positions up and down the ballot for the 2022 primary elections.
As candidates file with their respective political parties and the Texas Secretary of State, some of the lists of candidates for elected statewide offices are becoming crowded, potentially providing for a compelling primary and general election cycle.
Crowded Fields for Statewide Offices
Perhaps the most high-profile election in Texas is between those vying for governor. The incumbent, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, finds himself running against multiple challengers from his own party, as well as a well-known Democrat in former U.S. Congressman and failed presidential candidate Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke.
Abbott was first elected as governor in the fall of 2014, after having served as the Texas attorney general since 2002 and on the Texas Supreme Court before that.
In 2018, Abbott handily defeated two Republican challengers and went on to defeat the Democrat nominee, Lupe Valdez, by more than 13 percent (or over 1.1 million votes).
In this cycle, Abbott is being challenged from his right by former Texas State Senator Don Huffines, former U.S. Congressman and Texas GOP Chairman Allen West, and conservative humorist Chad Prather. All of these challengers have repeatedly expressed frustration with Abbott’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the surge of illegal immigration at the Texas-Mexico border. Outsider candidates Kandy Kaye Horn and Danny Harrison have filed the necessary paperwork to be on the Republican ballot, as well.
As of this publication, Huffines and Prather have yet to officially file their candidacies for the position.
On Abbott’s left, former U.S. Congressman Beto O’Rourke announced his candidacy on November 15. O’Rourke unsuccessfully challenged Senator Ted Cruz in 2018, coming within fewer than 220,000 votes from winning. Though he lost narrowly, his campaign reinvigorated a stagnant state Democrat Party for a short time. This time, O’Rourke likely hopes to capture the same energy while also appealing to moderate Republicans. Another Democrat vying for the position is Deirdre Gilbert, a Missouri City native and former educator.
As of this publication, O’Rourke has yet to officially file for the position.
Republican incumbent Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick similarly finds himself fending off challenges from the right wing of his own party, as well as others from the left.
Patrick was first elected as lieutenant governor in the fall of 2014, after having previously served as a state senator from Houston since 2007.
In 2018, Patrick handily won his primary challenge against a moderate Republican. In the general election, however, he won by less than 5 percent against then-Democrat challenger Mike Collier.
This cycle, Patrick has three announced Republican challengers in businessman Aaron Sorrells, conservative activist and former president of Texas Eagle Forum Trayce Bradford, and president of the Texas Nationalist Movement Daniel Miller.
So far, Democrats have put up three candidates vying for the position. They include Mike Collier, a previous Democrat nominee and former senior advisor to President Joe Biden; current State Rep. Michelle Beckley (Carrollton), who recently suspended her short-lived campaign for Congress; and Matthew Dowd, former chief strategist for the Bush administration.
The incumbent Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton also finds himself fending off several challengers from both parties.
Paxton was first elected to the position in the fall of 2014, after having previously served in the Texas Senate in 2013 as well as the Texas House of Representatives before that.
Paxton’s tenure in the attorney general’s office has been filled with tumult.
So far, Democrats have put up two candidates: attorneys Joe Jaworski and Mike Fields.
Miller was first elected to the position in the fall of 2014, after having previously served as a House lawmaker between 2001 and 2013.
Republican State Rep. James White (Hillister) announced his challenge to Miller in July. Carey Counsil, a rancher and U.S. Air Force veteran, also filed his candidacy for the position on Monday.
Republican incumbent Railroad Commissioner Wayne Christian finds himself fending off two challengers within his own party.
Christian was first elected to the position in the fall of 2016, after having previously been a candidate for a railroad commission seat in the 2014 election cycle and a Texas House lawmaker from 1997 to 2013.
In 2016, Christian found himself facing six other candidates in the primary election. He went on to face current Republican State Rep. Gary Gates in a primary runoff election, where he won by slightly less than 2 percentage points. He went on to win the general election, defeating Democrat challenger Grady Yarbrough by almost 15 percent.
This cycle, Christian’s primary challengers include offshore risk engineer Dwayne Tipton and oil consultant Tom Slocum. The lone Democrat challenger who has been announced is Luke Warford, a former chief strategist for the Texas Democrat Party.
Key Election Dates
The candidate filing deadline is Monday, December 13. As of right now, the primary election is scheduled for March 1, 2022, and the general election is November 2, 2022.
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