After GOP Family Fight, 2018 Elections Will Show If Democrats Can Close Gap

The 2018 elections will test whether Democrats can break the Republican stronghold on statewide offices and the Legislature.But first, Republicans are going through their biennial family fight, with numerous primary contests for Texas House and critical races for North Texas Senate seats.Filing for the party primaries closed at 6 p.m. Monday, but the full picture of some races may not be known immediately because it could take a day or two for the Texas secretary of state to update the list of official candidates. This much is certain: The Dallas area will see at least three new members of Congress as contenders battle to fill the seats of retiring Republicans Sam Johnson, Jeb Hensarling and Joe Barton."At the end of 2018, the state will look very similar to how it does now. We'll still be a red state where Republicans are dominant," said Rice University political scientist Mark Jones.But Jones said the state's congressional races against Republican incumbents Pete Sessions in the Dallas-area 32nd District, John Culberson in Houston's 7th District and Will Hurd in South Texas' 23rd District proves Democrats can field credible challengers."The optimism for Democrats will be in some of these congressional races," Jones said.Nearly all of the statewide Republican office holders have little or no opposition in the GOP primary. The exception is incumbent Land Commissioner George P. Bush, who faces a significant challenge from the man he succeeded on the job, Jerry Patterson.  Continue reading...

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