It’s primary season in Texas. Republicans and Democrats across the state will decide who their party’s nominee will be in the November general election. Election Day is Tuesday, March 1, and early voting for the primaries runs from Monday, Feb. 14, through Friday, Feb. 25. Runoff elections can take place between the top candidates if no one reaches a 50% majority of the vote.
Here’s a list of who’s running in the primaries.
By The Texas Newsroom
* Indicates incumbent
The governor is the head of Texas’ executive and legislative branch. Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican who was first elected in 2014, is running for his third term in office. In this primary, Abbott is facing seven Republican challengers — including former state Sen. Don Huffines, former Texas GOP Chairman Allen West, and a man named Rick Perry (who isn’t the state’s former governor). Five people are competing for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, including Beto O’Rourke. The former congressman from El Paso made a notable run for U.S. Senate in 2018 and ran for president in 2020.
- Republicans: Greg Abbott*, Paul Belew, Danny Harrison, Kandy Kaye Horn, Don Huffines, Rick Perry, Chad Prather, Allen B. West
- Democrats: Inocencio (Inno) Barrientez, Michael Cooper, Joy Diaz, Beto O’Rourke, Rich Wakeland
While this is the state’s second-highest executive office, some would argue it’s the most powerful. The lieutenant governor presides over the Texas Senate and is elected every four years. Dan Patrick has held the position since 2015 and is seeking a third term. Five other Republicans are challenging Patrick, who made national headlines at the beginning of the pandemic for suggesting grandparents would be willing to sacrifice themselves to save the economy. There are three candidates on the Democratic side, including Mike Collier. He was also the party’s nominee for lieutenant governor in 2018.
- Republicans: Trayce Bradford, Todd M. Bullis, Daniel Miller, Dan Patrick *, Aaron Sorrells, Zach Vance
- Democrats: Michelle Beckley, Carla Brailey, Mike Collier
Texas’ attorney general is the state’s top lawyer whose office provides legal counsel and representation to the state. Incumbent Republican Ken Paxton is running for a third term. In 2015, Paxton was indicted on three felony charges related to securities fraud violations, but has not yet gone to trial. The AG is also reportedly under investigation by the FBI after former aides accused him of taking bribes. Those issues are being brought up by Paxton’s three challengers in the Republican primary — former land Commissioner George P. Bush, U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert and former Texas Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman. Five Democrats are also vying for a place on the November ballot.
- Republicans: George P. Bush, Louie Gohmert, Eva Guzman, Ken Paxton *
- Democrats: Mike Fields, Rochelle Mercedes Garza, Joe Jaworski, Lee Merritt, S. “T-Bone” Raynor
Comptroller of public accounts:
As Texas’ chief financial officer, the comptroller is in charge of collecting taxes and coming up with the budget estimate for the state. Glenn Hegar has held the office since 2015 and is seeking a third term. Three people are running for the Democratic Party’s nomination.
Commissioner of the general land office:
Texas’ land commissioner is responsible for managing public lands in the state. Current Commissioner George P. Bush is running for attorney general, which has left eight Republicans and four Democrats vying for the position.
- Republicans: Ben Armenta, Victor Avila, Dawn Buckingham, Rufus Lopez, Weston Martinez, Don W. Minton, Jon Spiers, Tim Westley
- Democrats: Jay Kleberg, Michael Lange, Sandragrace Martinez, Jinny Suh
Commissioner of agriculture:
The commissioner is in charge of the Texas Department of Agriculture, which oversees things such as proper pesticide use, organic certification, aid to Texas farmers and ensuring food is weighed properly. Incumbent Sid Miller was elected in 2014 and is seeking his third re-election against two other Republicans; two Democrats are running for the nomination.
Don’t let the name fool you; Texas’ railroad commissioner doesn’t have anything to do with railroads. The three-member commission actually oversees the state’s oil and gas industries. Commissioners hold their positions for six-year terms. These are staggered so there’s an election for at least one spot on the ballot every two years. One seat is up for grabs this year. Republican incumbent Wayne Christian faces several challengers in his fight for a second term. A candidate from Lubbock, Marvin “Sarge” Summers, died in a car crash in early February, but his name will still appear on the ballot. Whoever wins the primary will face Democrat Luke Warford, who is running unopposed.
Democrats: Luke Warford
Texas Supreme Court:
Texas’ Supreme Court is the final resort for civil and juvenile cases in the state. The court includes eight justices and one chief justice. Each is elected to a six-year term. The governor can appoint a new justice if one steps down before their term ends. There are three seats on the court up for election this year, and only one race is competitive in the primary.
Supreme Court Justice, Place 3:
Supreme Court Justice, Place 5:
Supreme Court Justice, Place 9:
Court of Criminal Appeals:
Texas’ Court of Criminal Appeals is the highest court for criminal cases. The court includes nine judges, each elected to six-year terms. There are three races this year, but Place 2 Judge Mary Lou Keel, a Republican, is running unopposed.
Court of Criminal Appeals Place 2 Judge:
- Republicans: Mary Lou Keel*
- Democrats: N/A
Court of Criminal Appeals Place 5 Judge:
Court of Criminal Appeals Place 6 Judge:
State Board of Education:
Members of the State Board of Education are responsible for setting Texas public school curriculum and graduation requirements, along with overseeing Texas’ Permanent School Fund. The 15 board members represent different districts across the state.
State Board of Education Member District 1: District 1 includes several West Texas counties including Brewster, Culberson, Jeff Davis and Presidio, as well as most of the City of Odessa. The district’s incumbent, Democrat Georgina Cecilia Pérez, is not seeking re-election.