Balance of power: The races that could flip the Texas House and why you should care

Texas Politics
State leaders react to Austin City Council budget vote

Texas Capitol (Nexstar Photo/Andrew Choat)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Democrats in Texas only need nine more seats to take control of the Texas House, shifting the balance of power in government.

Right now, Republicans control the Texas House 83-67. Their goal is to maintain that lead and gain back seats lost in the 2018 election. Before that election, they controlled the House by a much wider margin of 93-55.

Why does it matter if Republicans maintain their hold on the house or if Democrats take control?

It all has to do with how easily the parties can pursue their own goals.

Right now, Texas has a “trifecta” control of the state government, a term BallotPedia uses to describe when one party controls the House, Senate and governor’s office. Having a trifecta makes it easier for Republicans to pass laws they care about.

But if Democrats can take back the House, it would help them further legislative goals, such as Medicaid expansion. It would also give Democrats a seat at the table when it comes to redistricting, a process of redrawing the state’s Congressional districts that happens after the U.S. Census is completed.

Even though Republicans lost some House seats in the 2018 election, they still maintained that trifecta control. Republicans previously had trifecta control from 2003 to 2017. Democrats last held trifecta control in Texas from 1992 to 1994. In between those times, different parties controlled different parts of state government.

Balance of power in U.S. House

We’re also seeing this shift in the balance of power play out on a national level, with a chance that Texas could have an impact.

Right now there are 197 Republicans, 232 Democrats, one Libertarian and five vacancies in Congress, according to its official tally.

Texas has 36 representatives in Congress and a number of races (outlined in purple below) that are considered “battleground” races. These have a closer margin between the candidates than some considered “safely” Republican or Democrat.

Early voting is happening now in Texas and election day is Nov. 3. KXAN has resources and coverage to help inform your vote.

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