With so much attention focused on the presidential election, it is understandable that many have not caught up on the results of our state elections.

Across the state there were a few upsets, surprises, and nail-biting races that came down to just a few votes.

In what is considered the only “swing” congressional seat, Congressman Will Hurd (R-San Antonio) was able to fend off second time challenger Democrat Pete Gallego, 48% to 47%, respectively.

On November 8th, all 150 seats of the Texas House of Representatives and – half of the 31 seats of the Texas Senate were on the ballots.  By November 9th, there were a few changes to the overall composition of the Texas legislature.

Four incumbent Republican House members fell to challengers:

  • Rep. Kenneth Sheets (R-Mesquite) lost to Democrat Victoria Neave by 828 votes.  
  • Rep. Rick Galindo (R-San Antonio) was ousted by former state representative Philip Cortez 48% to 51%.  
  • Rep. Gilbert Peña (R-Pasadena) suffered a heavy loss to former state representative Mary Ann Perez, with Perez claiming 60% of the vote.  
  • Finally, special election winner Rep. John Lujan (R-San Antonio) lost to Democratic challenger Tomas Uresti, 45% to 55%.

In other close races, the incumbents were able to hang on.  Although most of the local Harris County races fell to Democrats, Rep. Sarah Davis (R-Houston) was able to prevail with 54% of the vote.  In the Dallas area, Rep. Rodney Anderson (R-Grand Prairie), Rep. Linda Koop (R-Dallas), Rep. Cindy Burkett (R-Sunnyvale) and Rep. Matt Rinaldi (R-Irving), were all able to hang on to their seats in hotly contested, close races.

Dr. Dawn Buckingham was able to secure former Sen. Troy Fraser's seat with 72% of the vote. Dr. Buckingham will join Rep. Bryan Hughes and Sen. Boris Miles as the newest members of the Texas Senate.

The Texas House will have 26 new freshman members.  Additionally, there will still be a special election triggered by the resignation of Rep. Dawnna Dukes (D-Austin) who declared she will resign before the 85th Legislature.  

Now that the last chips have fallen into place this election cycle, 20 Republicans and 11 Democrats will enter the Texas Senate, and 95 Republicans will meet 55 Democrats in the Texas House, securing a Republican majority for each chamber.  Even so, not everything will remain at the status quo: the Texas Senate has lost 2 committee chairs, and the Texas House has lost 9 committee chairs.

Texas Hotel & Lodging Association’s Legislative Agenda

THLA’s Legislative and Regulatory Affairs Committee will have its last meeting for 2016 on November 28th, where the Committee will finalize and approve our legislative agenda for the 2017 Texas Legislative Session.  

The Committee will take up finalizing THLA’s strategy on important issues such as state preemption of local residential short-term rental regulation, funding for tourism promotion, opposition to regulations, employment law legislation, the publication of hotel tax data, and more.

Look for your December issue of Industry Update to get a summary of THLA’s 2017 Legislative Agenda.

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