Nonpartisan Texas Elections Are Being Sucked Into The World Of Party Politics

State party organizations are making concerted efforts to influence traditionally nonpartisan local elections.

By Jill AmentJuly 6, 2017 1:28 pm, ,

Fasten your seat belts, Texas, because the spirit of partisanship is coming soon to a city hall near you.

Gromer Jeffers, political writer for the Dallas Morning News, says traditionally nonpartisan races for mayor, school board and city council are increasingly battles between the red and the blue.

Jeffers says the Texas Democratic Party’s Project Lift seeks to influence local elections. The party recently endorsed 15 local candidates running in Collin County. Texas Republicans took note.

“The Texas Republican Party took the extraordinary effort…directing their folks to study getting involved in nonpartisan races,” Jeffers says.

But Jeffers says it’s unlikely that local governments will experience the kind of stalematesthat animates national politics, mainly because leaders are geographically closer to their constituents on a daily basis.

“Trash pickup, basic services, the delivery of basic services….[t]he residents won’t stand for gridlock in that situation,” he says.

Republican efforts to influence local elections stems from fear, after a series of successful progressive initiatives in cities like Austin and Dallas, Jeffers says.

“It’s the policy that’s getting to Austin that’s worrying folks like [Gov.] Abbott with the tree situation in Dallas, with Uber in Austin. There’s this continuous fight between local control and Republicans in the legislature,” he says.

Written by Caroline Covington.