Why should anything be simple in this year of uncertainty? The year 2020 has been anything but normal, and election night was no different. At the time of writing, the Presidential election is still too close to call in five key states. Former Vice President Joe Biden holds the lead over incumbent President Donald Trump. Vote counting continues and this is likely heading to court before it is all said and done.
Congress appears to be a little more closely split down party lines with the Republicans picking up an additional 10 seats. However, it is also clear that they will not unseat the Democrat’s hold on the House and Speaker Pelosi is all but certain to retain that position.
Texas congressional make up remained as it was previously with the Republicans holding roughly two-thirds of the seats to the one-third held by the Democrats. Final total in Texas Congressional seats are 23 Republicans to 13 Democrats with all incumbents being reelected and the open seats did not change parties.
Senator John Cornyn of Texas easily won reelection over challenger MJ Hegar, even with the millions of dollars outside interests funneled to Hegar in the final weeks of the election. The Senate appears to remain in the hands of the Republican majority. Best guess is a 52-48 final total, but it could be as close as 51-49. The two Independents are included in the Democratic total since the caucus with and normally vote with the Democrats. Based on the possible outcome of a Biden victory, it was critical that the Republicans hold the Senate, and it appears that they did.
Texas Election Results
The Texas Supreme Court is looked upon nationally as one of the most respected courts in the land and it remains so, post-election. Chief Justice Nathan Hecht and Justices Jeff Boyd, Brett Busby and Jane Bland all won reelection easily.
The Texas Senate control was never in doubt as there was only one “strongly contested” race to watch. Senate District 19, stretching from San Antonio to near El Paso, was held by a Republican, Sen. Pete Flores. This has been a historically Democratic seat which flipped the last election. Sen. Flores was defeated by Rep. Roland Gutierrez of San Antonio. The significance of the race is that the Texas Senate is no longer controlled by a 3/5th “super majority” with the split being 18 Republicans – 13 Democrats. This means that there will need to be bipartisan cooperation to move legislation in the Texas Senate for the first time in several years.
If you listened to the media and the pollsters, the Texas Hose of Representatives was supposed to be turned upside down with a “blue wave” of Democratic hopefuls. Millions of dollars were spent in Texas trying to reverse the dominance the Republicans have held over the past decade. Not only did the “blue wave” fail to occur, but it appears the split will remain as last session. With the 83 Republican - 67 Democrat makeup, a Republican Speaker will be assured.
So, What Does This All Mean?
What is often lost in all the numbers is the fact that this legislature will be charged with redrawing the maps for the U.S. Congressional districts, as well as the Texas House and Texas Senate districts. Every 10 years the state legislature redraws these seats and this redistricting will be one of the key pieces of legislation that will be addressed.
As was stated at the beginning, why should anything be simple in 2020. This upcoming legislative session appears to the same way. Access to the Capitol is still uncertain due to the pandemic and it is unclear how this session will proceed. Virtual Interim hearings have been held and it is possible that hearings may be held the same way during the 140-day session.
Regardless of how or where, IIAT’s Legislative team will be working to protect agent’s livelihood and push for improvements in our industry for you and your clients. As the only independent agents’ group in the Capitol, we will work with our friends to keep Texas a great state to be an Independent Agent.