With the filing deadline behind us, we can immediately declare some winners based solely on a lack of challengers. At the top of the heap are the A-rated House members on the Fiscal Responsibility Index; only three of 19 even drew a challenger. Of the 19 worst-rated GOP legislators, six drew opponents in addition to the four who aren’t even seeking re-election.

The only three A-rated legislators drawing opponents are Jonathan Stickland, Matt Schaefer and Stefani Carter.

On the other hand, the state reps in the bottom 19 being challenged include: J.D. Sheffield, Kyle Kacal, Jim Keffer, John Otto, Diane Patrick and Drew Darby.

The retirees from the bottom 19 included: John Davis, Jim Pitts, Allan Ritter and Bill Callegari.

While none of the A-rate House members are retiring, State Rep. Van Taylor is automatically moving up to the Texas Senate; he is unopposed in his filing. By contrast, no one from the bottom 19 in the GOP is seeking higher office.

Of course, it must be stated that not all challenges are equal. The challenges to Reps. Stickland and Schaefer are creations of the lobby and will no doubt be heavily funded by rent-seekers and government-growers. On the other hand, Reps. Darby and Otto probably have little to fear from their challengers.

Over in the Senate, none of the top-rated members are being challenged. At the same time, A-listers Ken Paxton and Dan Patrick won’t be returning to the Senate because they are vying for higher office (attorney general and lieutenant governor, respectively)—but both are positioned to be replaced by good guys. (Mr. Taylor is walking into the Paxton slot, while former Harris County Tax Assessor Paul Bettencourt is the odds-on favorite to replace Patrick.)

Meanwhile, the most liberal Republicans: John Carona, Kel Seliger and Bob Deuell all have challengers.

In the first test of the 2014 elections—drawing a challenger—the legislators at the top of the TFR list have won overwhelmingly. Now, on to the races!

Michael Quinn Sullivan

Michael Quinn Sullivan is the publisher of Texas Scorecard. He is a native Texan, a graduate of Texas A&M, and an Eagle Scout. Previously, he has worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine contributor, Capitol Hill staffer, and think tank vice president. Michael and his wife have three adult children, a son-in-law, and a dog. Michael is the author of three books, including "Reflections on Life and Liberty."


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