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Texas Press Association State Capital Highlights
Republicans enjoy swath of victories on Election Day
Wednesday, November 10, 2010 • Posted November 9, 2010

AUSTIN — Republican candidates in the Nov. 2 election picked up 21 seats in the Texas House of Representatives and voters “rehired” incumbent Gov. Rick Perry for a third consecutive four-year term.

Perry outpaced former Houston Mayor Bill White, a Democrat, with a 13-point margin of victory, claiming 55 percent of the nearly 5 million ballots cast to White’s 42 percent.

Now, the GOP claims 99 seats in the 150-seat Texas House to the Democrats’ 51. No incumbent Republican House member lost their seat. Here is the list of incumbent Democrats who lost theirs to Republican challengers, as follows:

Stephen Frost of New Boston, to George Lavender; Mark Homer of Paris, to Erwin Cain; Jim McReynolds of Lufkin, to James White; Solomon Ortiz Jr. of Corpus Christi, to Raul Torres; Abel Herrero of Robstown, to Connie Scott; Yvonne Gonzalez-Toureilles of Alice, to Jose Aliseda; Patrick Rose of Dripping Springs, to Jason Isaac; Valinda Bolton of Austin, to Paul Workman; Donna Howard of Austin, to Dan Neil; Diana Maldonado of Round Rock, to Larry Gonzales; Jim Dunnam of Waco, to Marva Beck; Joe Moody of El Paso, to Dee Margo; Joe Heflin of Hale Center, to Jim Landtroop; Paula Pierson of Arlington, to Barbara Nash; Chris Turner of Arlington, to Bill Zedler; Robert Miklos of Mesquite, to Cindy Burkett; Carol Kent of Dallas, to Stephani Carter; Kirk England of Grand Prairie, to Rodney E. Anderson; Allen Vaught of Dallas, to Kenneth Sheets; David McQuade Leibowitz of San Antonio, to John V. Garza; Kristi Thibaut of Galveston, to Jim Murphy; and Ellen Cohen of Houston, to Sarah Davis.

In the 31-seat Texas Senate, the GOP’s edge over Democrats in the Senate remains at 19-12. No incumbent lost to a challenger, and Democrat Jose R. Rodriguez of El Paso won the Senate District 29 race to succeed a retiring Democrat, Sen. Eliot Shapleigh.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, Attorney General Greg Abbott, Comptroller of Public Accounts Susan Combs and Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples – all Republicans – were reelected. Each outdistanced their Democratic rivals by comfortable margins.

In State Board of Education races, Dist. 1 incumbent Democrat Rene Nunez lost to Republican Carlos “Charlie” Garza. Elected to other SBOE seats were Dist. 3 Democrat Michael Soto; Dist. 9 Republican Thomas Ratliff; Dist. 10 Republican Marsha Farney; and Dist. 11 Republican George M. Clayton.

In the U.S. Congressional District contests, Republican challengers unseated three Democratic incumbents: U.S. Rep. Chet Edwards, D-Waco, lost to Republican Bill Flores; U.S. Rep. Ciro Rodriguez, D-San Antonio, lost to Republican Francisco “Quico” Canseco; Solomon Ortiz, D-Corpus Christi, lost to Republican Blake Farenthold.

Republican candidates also enjoyed a sweep of the Texas Supreme Court and Courts of Criminal Appeals races.

Speaker receives enough pledges

State Rep. Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, who was first elected speaker of the Texas House in January 2009, has been collecting pledges in support of his candidacy to serve a second term as speaker. So far, he said, he’s received pledges from all but about 20 members.

State Reps. Leo Berman, R-Tyler, and Warren Chisum, R-Pampa have been working to relieve Straus of the speakership. They’ve indicated that Straus, who enjoyed ample support from Democrats in the 2009 legislative session, did not push the Republican agenda hard enough to suit them or a number of conservative interest groups.

AGs file against health care law

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and 19 other state attorneys general and governors on Nov, 5 filed a legal brief urging the federal district court in Pensacola, Fla., to strike down the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

The brief alleges the act violates the U.S. Constitution on several grounds because it forces all Americans to obtain and maintain federally approved health insurance coverage or pay a penalty.

Seguin lawmaker dies in Austin

Rep. Edmund Kuempel. R-Seguin, died of a heart attack in Austin on Nov. 4. He was 67.

The popular lawmaker had served in the Texas House since 1983. He suffered an earlier heart attack while working at the Capitol during the 2009 legislative session.

Burial was in the Texas State Cemetery on Nov. 9.

Lawmakers now can file legislation

Nov. 8 marked the first day legislators could file bills in advance of the 82nd session of the Texas Legislature, which opens Jan. 11.

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