State Lege: Same, Same, but Different
We could have told you in advance, not much change happening at state level
Reviewed by Richard Whittaker, Fri., Nov. 11, 2016
Don't bother with a crystal ball: The 85th Texas Legislature will look almost exactly identical to the 84th.
Blame gerrymandering, turnout, voter suppression, and the disemboweling of the Voting Rights Act. Next session, the GOP will hold the Senate under Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick by a 20-11 margin, making a conservative agenda seemingly inevitable.
For the last few sessions, the House has been the firewall to cool the increasingly radical agenda coming out of the upper chamber. There seemed a little bright news on that side of the Dome, with Democrats actually gaining five seats – though two of those were seats that the Dems had lost in interim special elections, and simply flipped back.
Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa still praised the gains and made a not-so-subtle gesture to potential Republican fractures: "I know the outstanding Democratic leaders elected tonight will get the job done, and I know they are ready to work with any Republican who is serious about moving our state forward."
There are new faces in the Travis County delegation, but no real change. On the Senate side, Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, didn't have a challenger, while Dawn Buckingham kept Senate District 24 Republican, defeating Democrat Virginia "Jennie Lou" Leeder to replace retiring incumbent Sen. Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay.
The House remains a five-one split, Democrat to Republican. Incumbent Dems Eddie Rodriguez, Donna Howard, Celia Israel, and Dawnna Dukes all held their seats (although Dukes will step down in January, triggering a special election), and are joined by outgoing AISD trustee Gina Hinojosa, who replaces veteran legislator Elliott Naishtat. Meanwhile, sole Republican Paul Workman saw off Dem challenger Ana Jordan by 12 points.