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.
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.)
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!