Forget Thanksgiving and Christmas...in Texas, it's already election season. As of this week, candidates can officially file to run for office in 2020, with the deadline to file Dec. 9. After that, things will pick up with the Texas primaries on March 3.
So far, only a handful of candidates have actually filed, but many more will do so in the weeks ahead. Almost as interesting, however, might be to see who doesn't file for office. "Now would be when you would find out if current elected officials choose to retire and not run for re-election, or to run for a different office," says Matt Mackowiak, Travis County GOP Chair and political strategist. "So that's the biggest variable, that you may have people who as an incumbent you just presumed were going to run for re-election, who ultimately decide not to for one reason or another."
Of course, there are already several candidates who have announced they won't seek re-election next year, most of them prominent Republicans. That group includes state House Speaker Dennis Bonnen (R-Angleton), and six GOP Congressmen, among them Pete Olson of Sugar Land. "There may be some unexpected developments," says Mackowiak. "Certainly there are a number of Congressional races where incumbents are not running for re-election and those are open seats, so there will be a lot of activity at the Congressional level."
In the Texas House, Democrats are hoping to flip enough seats to gain control of the chamber for the first time in nearly two decades, after trimming the GOP advantage by several seats in 2018. Many of those races may come down to who wins the primary. "Across the state, I expect there to be five or seven competitive Congressional primaries, and then 20 or 25 competitive state house primaries," says Mackowiak.