This Week in Texas: September 29, 2010

Posted September 29, 2010 in The Mignon Memo

The last day to register to vote in the November general election is October 4 with early voting beginning October 18. As far as the Texas Legislature is concerned, 15 of the 31 state senate seats will be on the ballot as well as all 150 state house seats. One of the 15 senate races, Senate District 29 is an open seat. Sen. Eliot Shapleigh (D-El Paso) chose not to run for reelection. Democrat Jose Rodriguez will face Republican Dan Chavez. Seven incumbent senators face no major party opposition. Another seven incumbents face a major party opponent.

In the Texas House, the current partisan balance is 77 Republicans to 73 Democrats. 70 incumbents have no major party opponent. There are 11 races deemed by most observers to be highly competitive. Incumbents fighting to return to Austin in January include Reps. Mark Homer (D-Paris); Valinda Bolton (D-Austin); Diana Maldonado (D-Round Rock); Joe Moody (D-El Paso); Joe Heflin (D-Crosbyton); Chris Turner (D-Arlington); Robert Miklos (D-Mesquite); Carol Kent (D-Dallas); Linda Harper-Brown (R-Irving); Joe Driver (R-Garland); and Kristi Thibaut (D-Houston). There are roughly 15 additional races where the incumbent faces a difficult fight due to the partisan balance of the district or other factors.

Invitations for the Oct. 19 Texas gubernatorial debate, hosted by the state’s largest newspapers, have been extended to all four gubernatorial candidates, including Libertarian Kathie Glass and Green Party nominee Deb Shafto. Governor Rick Perry still says he will not participate in the debate unless Bill White releases tax returns from his years as deputy U.S. energy secretary.