Gov. Greg Abbott signed new political maps into law reshaping 234 new legislative districts after the Republican-controlled legislature redrew district lines during the third special legislative session. They include 38 Congressional districts, 150 House districts, 31 Senate districts, and 15 State Board of Education districts.
Redistricting occurs every 10 years corresponding to newly released U.S. Census Bureau data. This year, redistricting was delayed due to states waiting months to receive information from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Texas Democrats sued to stop the redistricting process from being implemented, arguing the Texas constitution requires redistricting to only be conducted during regular legislative sessions.
Because Abbott directed the legislature to redraw district maps during a third special legislative session, they argue this was unconstitutional. Instead, redistricting should not take place until the legislature meets during its next regular session in January 2023.
While the lawsuit played out in court, the legislature continued to push ahead with redistricting, and Abbott approved the new maps.
With redistricting finalized, unless a court rules otherwise, the date for the primary election for next year has now been set for March 1, 2022.
If any of the redistricting lawsuits were to be successful, the primary election date would likely change.
In the meantime, the Secretary of State’s Office has published election deadlines for the 2022 Election. Candidates running for office next year have a Dec. 13 filing deadline; Independent candidates must also file a declaration of intent by this date as well.
The first day voters can apply for a ballot by mail is Jan. 1, and the last day to register to vote is Jan. 31, according to the guidelines.
Early in-person voting for the primary election begins Feb. 14.
A primary runoff is scheduled for May 24, with the general election scheduled for Nov. 8.
Abbott, a Republican, is facing the most challengers he’s faced in his gubernatorial career. Running for his third and what would be his final term, his primary challengers include “Independent Republican” businessman Daniel Harrison, former state legislator and businessman Don Huffines, entertainer Chad Prather, and Lt. Col. Ret. Allen West.
Candidates that have declared their intent to run for governor in the Democratic Primary are largely political unknowns: Larry Baggett, Michael Cooper, and Deirdre Dickson-Gilbert. Bigger names have yet to officially announce their candidacy.
Other candidates running for governor who will not be on primary ballots because they are neither Republican nor Democrat include Green Party candidate Delilah Barrios and Reform Party candidate Patrick Wynne.