Texas has 38 seats in the U.S. House up for election next year. Incumbents should carry almost all of them.

Many incumbents didn’t draw a primary challenger, and several drew no opponent in the general election either.

By Sarah AschDecember 14, 2023 10:29 am,

Texas has 38 seats in the U.S. House. Nearly all will be filled by the same people after the next election.

Of 35 incumbents seeking reelection, 16 drew no challenger in the March 5 primary. For that matter, five of that group have no opponent from another party, either, so they’re already assured reelection before a single ballot is cast.

This doesn’t mean there aren’t races and districts to watch, though. 

Todd Gillman, who covers D.C. for the Dallas Morning News, said it is not unusual for incumbents to win reelection. However, he said Texas has an unusually high number of uncontested races next year. 

“It is not at all uncommon for incumbents to pretty much coast to reelection, even if they are challenged in the primary or the general election. Incumbents have an enormous advantage in name I.D. and ability to fundraise, connections and networks within the district,” Gillman said. “So in that sense, it’s not all that uncommon. … We have three retirements, which we can talk about also, but of the 35 (incumbents) all but one probably are going to coast to reelection one way or another.”

Gillman said all the representatives leaving their seats open are in North Texas.

“We have Colin Allred, a Dallas Democrat who is trying to run against Sen. Ted Cruz. He’s seeking the nomination for the Senate seat. All of these seats are safe in the hands of one party or the other. So a Democrat is going to replace Colin Allred,” he said. “Dr. Michael Burgess has been in Congress since he was elected in 2002 and he is retiring. His district is based in Denton. And Kay Granger, the former mayor of Fort Worth, currently the chair of the very, very, very powerful Appropriations Committee… she’s retiring.”

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Gillman said there are a lot of people in the Republican party throwing their hat in the ring for the two seats left open in reliably red districts. 

“In Granger’s district, there’s one candidate who is backed by Gov. Abbott, and another who’s backed by Ken Paxton. In the Burgess district. It’s really kind of a scramble. There’s ten candidates… It’s really a struggle for the heart and soul and direction of the Republican Party,” Gillman said.

“Brandon Gill is running, he’s new to the district. He is a conservative publisher. His father-in-law is Dinesh D’Souza, who would be very familiar to anybody who really has entered the conservative punditry. Gill is also endorsed by Donald Trump, and a lot of money and energy from that part of the party are going to be poured in.”

There are also several more mainstream Republicans running for the seat, Gillman said, including Scott Armey, whose father, Dick Armey, held the seat before Burgess.

“Scott ran against Burgess and lost in 2002. He’s a former Denton County judge. So there’s quite a lot,” he said. “There’s a mayor of Northlake who’s also a very conservative, a former trial judge. That one’s going to be one to watch.”

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Another race to watch is in McAllen where incumbent Vicente Gonzalez is facing a rematch against Mayra Flores.

“The redistricting left Gonzalez in kind of an odd situation last time around… He’s in a different district than the one that he had previously represented,” Gillman said.

“There was a special election. It’s kind of a long, complicated story, but there was a woman named Mayra Flores who won a special election to fill a vacancy in the next door neighbor district. She served in Congress for about five months last year and ran against Gonzalez for the seat that he currently holds, lost to him, and is seeking a rematch. And she’s been running ever since she lost the election a year ago. I don’t know, you know, whether she has any better shot this year than she did a year ago in that district. But she is really giving it a try.”

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