Democrats make gains in the Texas Legislature

- Democrats took some seats from Republicans in the Texas Legislature.

Republicans still hold the power but Texas Democrats feel good about making some gains. Most of the House seats they picked up came from races here in North Texas.

Experts believe the demographics are changing in this part of the state and there was a lot of Democrat enthusiasm for their candidates on the top of the ticket.

In the Texas House of Representatives, the Republican majority now stands at 83 to 67. Before the midterm election, Republicans held 95 seats.

Another interesting trend puts more Democratic women in the House. Women picked up five seats in North Texas.

Republican State Rep. Matt Rinaldi, whose District 115 includes Irving, Carrollton and Coppell, lost his bid for re-election to Democrat Julie Johnson.

Also in North Texas, Democrat Michelle Beckley defeated Republican incumbent Ron Simmons in the race for State House District 65, which includes Carrollton. Simmons had authored a version of the “Bathroom Bill.”

In the State House District 102 race for Dallas and Richardson, Democrat Ana Marie Ramos defeated Republican incumbent Linda Koop.

Meanwhile, the Republican majority in the Texas Senate stands at 19 to 12. The Democrats did manage to pick up two seats, though.

In North Texas, incumbent Republican State Sen. Don Huffines was defeated in his re-election bid for the District 16 seat. Democratic challenger Nathan Johnson will take over in the district that includes Carrollton, Farmers Branch and Garland.

Also, Republican State Sen. Konni Burton was unseated by Democrat Beverly Powell. Their District 10 includes part of Tarrant County.

Good Day talked to Texas Tribune reporter Alana Rocha about the changes in the makeup of the legislature.

“You know, the Senate has been… they pursued a lot of very conservative proposals last session and I think these results and the turnout will keep them in check,” Rocha said. “And I think that closer split will weigh on the speaker’s race and a lot of the issues we see come before the chamber.”

State lawmakers will gather in Austin in January for the 86th session of the Texas Legislature.

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