November 7, 2012
Though the GOP easily held its majority in both the Texas House and the Senate, Democrats landed major victories to secure their voice will be heard in the upcoming session.
Most notably, Democratic Sen. Wendy Davis held off a vigorous challenge by Republican state Rep. Mark Shelton, a pediatrician from the Fort Worth area. In her first term, the senator made a name for herself by filibustering the budget during the waning hours of last session and forcing Gov. Perry to call a special session to pass the legislation. Her win keeps the Republicans from having a supermajority in the upper chamber and their ability to pass bills without Democrat cooperation.
In addition, Democrats gained nine of the contested House seats previously held by Republicans. With a surprise supermajority squandered last session, the increases should serve as a wake-up call to Republicans as the House will once again face the issue of redistricting come January.
Three outgoing House Democrats merely traded their state seats for a place on the national stage. Reps. Pete Gallego, Mark Veasey and Joaquin Castro are all headed for D.C. as part of the Texas Congressional Delegation. Their former seats were easily won by incoming Democrats.