Let’s predict the 2020 Texas House races.
The Lone Star State is likely to go up from 36 seats in 2022’s redistricting round, so next time we do this, there may be more names to have to learn. For now, Republicans rule the House delegation by a margin of 23 to 13, and you may recall it was 25 to 11 prior to the 2018 elections. Texas as a whole is not trending as blue as Democrats would like it to, but did certain areas get there? Without question. The GOP lost two suburban seats in 2018, one in the DFW area and the other in Houston, while several others were close calls.
Yet, if we’re going to talk about “when Texas will turn blue,” if you even want such a thing to happen, remember it was almost universally blue through the 1970s. When Richard Nixon started his second term, for example, Democrats controlled almost 90 percent of the state legislature and held every office in the state except John Tower’s Senate seat. Outside of a brief period after Reconstruction, Republicans for the first time gained a majority of Texas’s House seats in the 2004 election, meaning Democrats had it for over 130 years uninterrupted. The point of this is that we act like Texas has been red forever; it has not. However, if Texas goes back to being blue, it does not mean that is permanent, either, but demographic changes in the state are helping to make it possible for gains like Democrats saw in 2018.
Where will Texas land when it comes to their House elections this year? We have predicted them all.
TX US House Rating Scale
There are no tossups on Electionarium, but there is this rating scale for the 2020 Texas House races.
2020 Texas House Races Current Prediction Summary: August 10
Current Texas US House Map
Very hard to see Louie Gohmert getting forced out in this very, very red district. Also very hard to believe it was held by Democrats forever and a week before Gohmert was elected during the Bush 43 years.
Perhaps this district is not as Republican as it used to be, but we think our “strong lean” rating to start is very generous – to the Democrats. We do not do in-between ratings but this is somewhere between “strong lean” and “safe” for Dan Crenshaw. His 2018 election run was a bit competitive, and for now, he’s not likely to do a lot worse.
It would be a surprise if the GOP did not hold this seat in November, given how long it has been in their hands. Its longtime former representative, Sam Johnson, passed away in May 2020, but Van Taylor should be able to win another one in his honor.
John Ratcliffe is off to the Trump administration, opening up his seat for the 2020 general election. It will not matter who the GOP nominates as that candidate is very likely to win.
Lance Gooden’s East Texas seat clips Dallas, but has plenty of wide-open spaces to the southeast. One thing that’s not wide-open is this race, which should favor the GOP in strong fashion.
RATINGS CHANGE, JULY 12: R3 TO R2
July 12: Republican poll numbers in Texas has been weaker than usual, and despite it being a fairly GOP district, if they’ve lost ground in Texas like we think they have, the 6th does not deserve to be called “safe” anymore. There is only one poll in this race, a Democratic poll, that has it as a close race. Consider the source in saying this isn’t yet too close to call, but it’s not unreasonable that it’s a race in the single digits. That’s why we’ve demoted this to a “strong lean.”
May 30: Could have been easier last time for Ron Wright in the 6th District, but this southern DFW seat has been Republican for decades. To start the campaign cycle, this is not a Democratic target.
This is one of the more Republican seats in Congress that’s currently held by a Democrat, but we saw what happened to the GOP in the suburbs in 2018. However, Donald Trump did not win this Harris County seat, so the eventual Republican nominee might not be able to count on any coattails in 2020. Lizzie Fletcher probably has the upper hand here to start the campaign, but we consider this as perhaps the closest of the 2020 Texas House races.
Kevin Brady is not going anywhere in this dark red 8th District.
The 9th District is very Democratic in nature, sitting in Houston, and Al Green is not going to have any concerns about whether or not he will win.
Michael McCaul should not feel comfortable when he is a Republican who represents a district touching Austin, but he has done well enough here over the years. This has the ability to hit our radar screens later if there is some movement in the polls, or if Texas is in any way in play federally. The latter is still a big if, given the history.
Mike Conaway is stepping down but this very conservative district will be held by the GOP in 2020 and beyond. This is going to be one of Donald Trump’s strongest districts in the state and whatever Republican comes out of the primary will follow right behind.
Kay Granger has a seat for life, as long as the district lines stay as favorable as they are now in the Fort Worth area. Democrats do not even come close in good years for them.
If this is not the most GOP-friendly seat in America, it’s in the top five. Mac Thornberry is not running again, but he will be replaced by a Republican without a doubt.
It’s looking good for Randy Weber in Ron Paul’s old district. The 14th is red enough that this is not going to make many peoples’ radars.
Texas’s 15th District looks like a Picasso on a map, but what matters is who’s inside it: Democratic voters. In fact, as long as there has been a 15th District, it has never been held by a Republican. Does not seem like 2020 is the year to end that streak.
The El Paso district generally does not elect Republicans on any level, so Veronica Escobar is in good shape.
The 17th is coming open with Bill Flores not running for re-election, and a number of Republicans have lined up for the opportunity. Ex-congressman Pete Sessions has the inside track for the GOP nomination, and this seat should be more favorable to him than the one he lost in 2018.
Sheila Jackson Lee will never lose an election in this district.
This area is quite red, so Jodey Arrington has no worries.
West San Antonio’s seat has been blue as long as anyone can remember. Joaquin Castro will be re-elected without incident.
Chip Roy is going to take a tough challenge from Wendy Davis, who became a favorite of national Democrats in the 2010s. The seat stretches from Austin to San Antonio with a lot of red areas off to the west, which Roy will need in order to win. Were Davis to win, this would unquestionably be one of the most Trump-favorable districts in the nation to flip, but for now, we are not going there. We are not quite convinced, despite the 2018 close race, that this seat is ready to flip just yet
This is not going to be the most difficult open seat for the GOP to hold in Texas, but it’s up there. Democrats made this a close run in 2018 and with Pete Olson stepping down, the Republican nominee will be in for a challenge. Trump is more likely than not to carry Tom DeLay’s old district, but it’s not like Democrats have never won here in modern times. The 22nd will be one to watch.
The 23rd is going to be a problem for the GOP. Will Hurd, a moderate Republican, won this swing seat in 2014. In three runs, Hurd never had an easy one. His stepping down makes it a lot easier for Democrats to flip the seat, and while we call this a “weak lean” now, it could be a “strong lean” later.
RATINGS CHANGE: R1 to D1
August 10: Well, we did it – this seat is on our board as a flip. The poll numbers are not good for the GOP and Texas as a whole is a less-certain proposition than normal. For those reasons, we are no longer confident that the Republicans will hold this DFW seat.
May 30: The GOP is in trouble if they lose this one. Kenny Marchant is skipping town after barely being re-elected in 2018. With what is happening to Republicans in the suburbs, we thought about it for a while before giving this one its initial “weak lean” hold rating. Democrats will be coming at it despite the fact that Donald Trump may carry it, and if he doesn’t, that’s also going to be a big yikes for the GOP.
Roger Williams took a strong shot from the Democrats in 2018 in the 25th, and even at that, he still won by almost 10 points. It does not appear likely that Williams’ challenger will overturn that margin in a presidential year in Texas but it is possible that Williams will run behind Trump.
Michael Burgess has a pretty Republican district and 58 to 60 percent is roughly the floor for a GOP candidate on the federal level. He is not in big trouble at this point in time.
Democrats lost this Corpus Christi district in the 2010 Tea Party wave and haven’t been serious contenders since the boundaries came north from the US-Mexico border.
Do you remember the last time the GOP made a play for this seat? Neither do we. This district and its prior configurations along the border are historically Democratic.
Joe Biden will win the 29th going away, and so will Sylvia Garcia.
Eddie Bernice Johnson is as safe as any incumbent anywhere.
Austin is split into a number of pieces congressionally; we’ll leave it to you to discuss why. This district which clips Austin went for Trump by double-digits, so while we are not crazy about the huge swing against John Carter suffered in 2018, Democrats still have a hill to climb in the 31st District.
RATINGS CHANGE, JULY 12: D1 to D2
July 12: We are not saying Colin Allred is out of danger in 2020, but if there’s even a hint that Texas is competitive at the top of the ticket, the GOP is probably not in line to get this one back yet.
May 30: The bigger Republican names took a pass on this race, and if Biden wins the district like Hillary Clinton did in 2016, Colin Allred most likely gets re-elected. Allred appears to be in better shape for re-election than Lizzie Fletcher, his fellow freshman Democrat.
It’s not the prettiest looking district on a map, but the votes count all the same. Marc Veasey will get a lot of them.
You can’t get any further south in Texas than this district does, and throughout it is fertile Democratic territory. This will be a contested election but Filemon Vila is a solid favorite.
The 35th District was drawn in shall we say a very specific way. It’s jam-packed with Democratic votes, meaning Lloyd Doggett is very safe for re-election.
There are a handful of competitive districts among the 2020 Texas House races. Brian Babin’s is not one of them.