By Billy Howe
TFB State Legislative Director
On May 29, Republicans and Democrats will go to the polls to elect their party’s nominee for the general election in November. But, in reality, they are electing the person who will win the general election and be your next State Representative, State Senator or Congressman.
Political reality is that every 10 years the Texas Legislature redraws the districts for these offices in a fashion where the outcome of the general election is pre-determined. Congressional and state legislative districts are so weighted either Republican or Democrat that the general election is meaningless.
If you look at the voting history of our newly-drawn districts, this is what you will see. Of the 36 U.S. Congressional districts in Texas, only one district is competitive in the general election. In the Texas Senate, only three of the 31 districts are actually decided in November. And, out of the 150 districts in the Texas House, only nine are up for grabs in November.
What does this mean for you as a voter and member of Texas Farm Bureau? It depends on your political affiliation, but in general it means that if you want to make a difference where you live, you have to vote in the Democratic or Republican primary.
This is especially true if you consider yourself an Independent. Independents who wait for the general election simply aren’t influencing who represents them in the Texas Legislature or Congress.
This political reality means that an organization, such as ours with over 450,000 member-families, can have a big influence. The number of primary election voters in Texas is much less than the number of general election voters.
As a result, when Texas Farm Bureau members go vote in the May 29 primary election, our numbers can have a big impact. So, not only is it important for Texas Farm Bureau members to vote, it is critical that they vote in the primary election to truly make their vote count.
As May 29 approaches, remember that your greatest impact on who represents you in Congress or the Texas Legislature may be now, not in November.