Almost 22 percent of open House seats in the U.S. will come from Texas
How will the announced retirement of Rep. Lamar Smith (R) in Texas impact politics? According to one poll, GOP candidate Francisco “Qucio” Canseco is leading the field of candidates running for Texas’ 21 Congressional District.
The poll, commissioned by Fight for Tomorrow, an Austin-based PAC, and conducted by Cygnal shows Canseco currently has 22.4 percent support. Former state Rep. Harvey Hilderbran (R) came in second with 14.1 percent, and businessman and Republican Matt McCall placed third with 10.6 percent. The seat is open for the first time since 1987, when Smith was first elected.
Texas elections for 2018 are beginning to draw national attention because eight of the state’s congressional seats are open in 2018 (22.2 percent). Comparatively, in 2016 and 2012 there were two open seats in Texas, and in 2014 there was only one.
There are currently 37 open U.S. House seats in the country, meaning that Texas makes up 21.6 percent of open seats in the country while only accounting for 8.3 percent of the total number of congressional districts. In 2016, 40 members of the U.S. House did not seek re-election (9.2 percent). There are also fewer uncontested races than in recent history.
At least one Democratic candidate filed in all 36 districts in 2018, while the Democratic Party fielded candidates in 28 districts in 2016. The Republican Party fielded a candidate in 33 districts in 2018, down from the 34 in 2016.
The deadline passed for Texas candidates to file for the 2018 elections. However, official candidate lists are still unavailable in most races. In Texas, candidates file with party chairs, not with the secretary of state’s office directly. The party chairs then have five days to review filings before they are required to pass those on to the secretary of state.
Parties are later required to submit their final ballot order for each race to the secretary of state by December 21, 2017. The final primary candidate list is then populated using that information.
The candidate filing process varies from state to state. This can result in shorter or longer delays between the passage of the filing deadline and the release of an official candidate list. In some states, candidates file directly with local or state elections offices in order to run for office. In other states, such as Texas, candidates file with political party officials or campaign finance regulatory agencies instead.