Now that Election Day 2017 has passed, it’s time to start thinking about Election Day 2018. Texas Standard Host David Brown asked a couple of Texas political observers what they expect to happen next year.
Gilbert Garcia, a columnist for the San Antonio Express-News, says Democrats could potentially flip the U.S. House of Representatives in 2018, but in Texas, the party doesn’t have strong candidates lined up for the major statewide offices.
Houston Chronicle columnist Erica Grieder says Democrats in Texas are still struggling to recruit a full slate of candidates for state office, so that’s why there will be more activity on the congressional and possibly the legislative maps next year.
Four Texas Republican congressmen have announced they’re not running for reelection – Jeb Hensarling, Lamar Smith, Ted Poe and Sam Johnson.
“Lamar Smith’s seat I think will be in play,” Grieder says. “Hensarling’s could be in play. Johnson’s probably is not. I mean you have Van Taylor, who’s a Republican state senator, declared right away and I think sort of cleared the field on the Republican side and I think is well-regarded.”
Garcia says the four open congressional seats are all in relatively safe Republican districts. “Although the Democrats will be emboldened because they won’t be dealing with incumbents,” Garcia says.
Garcia says the Indivisible movement, a progressive grassroots Democratic movement, is very similar to what the Tea Party did about seven or eight years ago, except from a different point of view. Although Democrats may not have as much of an impact as the Tea Party did in the 2010 election, Garcia says he’s curious to see the result of energizing Democratic voters.
Grieder says she’ll be watching west Texas voters who have become increasingly frustrated with some of the trends in state policy lately.
“These are communities that are isolated, they’re far away,” she says. “They have real concerns about things like infrastructure, public schools that are generally not as focused on ‘culture war’ issues, like bathroom bills, as perhaps some of their peers elsewhere are.”
Written by Dani Matias.