With Governor signing legislative redistricting into law, party primary elections set for 2022, with interesting races in Montgomery County

Texas’ Congressional Districts beginning with the 2022 election. Source: Texas Legislative Council.

The Golden Hammer Staff Reports

Austin, October 28 – Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed into law yesterday all three bills, which the 87th Legislature’s third special session passed, to redistrict Texas’ U.S. House, State Senate, and State House districts, based upon the 2020 United States Census. All three laws protect current Republican seats and will likely result in a 2-seat GOP gain in the United States House of Representatives, a 1-seat gain in the Texas Senate, and a 3-seat gain in the Texas House of Representatives from redistricting alone.

The two new U.S. House districts are District 37 and 38. District 37 is a strong Democratic district which will shore up Republican strength in surrounding rural districts west of the City of Austin. The 38th Congressional District is a Houston seat which is strongly Republican and approximately 60% Anglo.

In order to strengthen certain Texas Senate and U.S. House seats becoming a bit more marginally Republican in the Houston area, the laws split suburban Montgomery County into two Congressional Districts: the current 8th Congressional District from which Congressman Kevin Brady, Republican of The Woodlands, is retiring, and the 2nd Congressional District of incumbent Dan Crenshaw, which will encompass The Woodlands and southeast Montgomery County.

Similarly, Montgomery County will now have three State Senators: Senator Paul Bettencourt of Houston will also represent the Magnolia area; Senator Lois Kolkhorst of Brenham will also represent far west Montgomery County; and Senator Brandon Creighton of Conroe will represent the remainder of Montgomery County.

The Primary Elections in Texas are now set for March 1, 2022, since the Texas Legislature’s fourth special session was able to get its work done before the November 15 deadline.

The problem, however, could come with lawsuits which might challenge the redistricting under the federal Voting Rights Act. The state NAACP has already indicated it plans to file one or more lawsuits.

Meanwhile, all 254 counties in Texas must redistrict their Commissioner Precinct, Constable Precinct, and Justice of the Peace Precinct boundaries as well, all based upon the 2020 United States Census. It’s usually legislative boundaries which end up in litigation, but any legislation which significantly impacts politics statewide could hold up the primary elections across Texas.

Under the current schedule the primary runoff elections would be May 24, 2022. Filing deadlines for candidates wanting to run for office in the Republican Primary or the Democrat Primary will likely be December 13, 2021.

In Montgomery County, Montgomery Mayor Sara Countryman has already begun a strong Republican Primary challenge to incumbent Mark Keough, who has had a very rough first term, including (1) a major hit-and-run car accident which he immediately followed with a second car accident in which the County Judge plowed into a parked police vehicle while he was on Ambien and methamphetamine on September 10, 2020, (2) forcing Montgomery County taxpayers to pay for him to enjoy the services of a government driver and vehicle after he lost his driver’s license, (3) issuing an illegal church and business closure order on March 27, 2020, based upon his panic over false data projections from the Montgomery County Public Health District, which Keough himself oversees, (4) allowing in 2020 and 2021 the Montgomery County Public Health District to bully local physicians in an effort to try to force narrow treatment protocols for COVID-19, (5) implementing numerous measures of secrecy to prevent Montgomery County citizens from overseeing the work of the Montgomery County government, and (6) failing to take any action to get County government spending under control.

There are already contested Precinct 2 and Precinct 4 County Commissioner races in the Republican Primary, as well as a large field of Republican candidates running to replace retiring 8th District Congressman Kevin Brady, who is retiring at the end of 2022. If State Representative Steve Toth enters that race, then there will likely be a large field to seek to replace Toth in the Texas House of Representatives as well.

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