The Political Parties of Texas

We know that Texas has one of the most complicated political systems in the country and is now dominated by two parties. While recent talk has emerged about the

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Feeling bad about the limited history of Texas that we’ve put out so far, and our message statement about the importance of history, we thought it would be a good idea to walk through the political parties of Texas and the makeup of the current representatives. We’ll also include some Texas history and fun/relevant facts at the bottom of the page. A history that particular recent bills have attempted to augment.

Current Political Parties of Texas

As of 2021, there are only four officially recognized political parties in Texas. Contrary to popular belief, one cannot simply start a political party and expect it to be officially recognized. Different states have different rules and regulations for becoming an officially recognized party. The rules for Texas can be found here, but note that each state is responsible for how they want to recognize parties.

For example, some states require that a politician win an election, running as a candidate for the new party, before that party becomes officially recognized. Some states allow candidates to identify as “independent” from their affiliated party, Texas however does not. The four official state party’s of Texas with links to their respective websites:

Democratic Party of Texas
Green Party of Texas (their website is listed as under construction).
Libertarian Party of Texas
Republican Party of Texas

Current Breakdown

We’ll keep this updated after every election. Remember Texas elections occur every two years with regular sessions every two years. Occasionally there will be a representative or senator that is no longer able or willing to continue to fulfill their duties and.

House of Representatives

Following the 2020 elections, the Texas house is made up of 83 republicans and 67 democrats (there are 150 seats in total). That lead stayed consistent as they held 83 seats prior to the election and exactly 83 after the election. However there was a noticeable change in the popular vote as, in terms of percentages, more people voted for Republicans in 2020 than the previous election (roughly 2.45% more).

The next house election will be held on November 3rd, 2022.

Senate

In the Senate, the Republicans also control the Senate though that lead has slimmed. During the 2020 elections, the Republican party gave up one seat to the Democrats as Republican Pete Flores of District 19 (Lubbock) lost to Roland Guiterrez. A tight race from the outset, Guiterrez bested Flores with 158,726 votes compared to Flores’ 148,213 votes. We mention this because there was one other person on the ballet by the name of Jo-Anne Vlavdivia. Representing the Libertarian Party of Texas she received 11,465 votes.

Nevertheless these are small gains for the Democrats as the Republicans continue to have a fairly firm hold on both the House and the Senate (as well as the governor’s office). Currently the Senate contains 31 seats. As of the most recent election (November, 2020), Republicans control 18 of those 31 seats with Democrats controlling the other 13.

History

One may be surprised to hear that, in terms of party affiliation, there have been more Democrats elected to be Governor of Texas than Republicans. In fact, way more. Of the 45 Governors that have been elected to serve Texas, spanning 87 legislative periods, only 6 of the 45 have been Republicans. A whopping 39 have been democrats. Including a 100 year period that ran from 1857, with the election of Hardin Runnels, to 1979. This run of democrats was broken when William Clements took office on January 16th, 1979. Since then, four of the last six governors of Texas have been Republicans, including the last three (covering ten legislative periods).

Last Democratic Governor of Texas

On January 15th, 1991 Texas elected Ann Richards from Lakeview, Texas. Her tenure as governor ran until January 17th, 1995 when she was succeeded by the younger Bush, George W. As of 2021 (thirty years later) she remains the last democrat to be elected governor of Texas.

The First Governor of Texas

The first Governor of Texas was James Pinckney Henderson who assumed office on February 19th, 1846. Prior to becoming Texas’ first governor he served as the minister to England and France representing the then sovereign state of known as the Republic of Texas. In service of the Republic, he represented Texas during the delicate annexation of Texas into the United States.

Before all of that, he served in the North Carolina militia ultimately rising to the rank of Colonel. However life would change as his attention was dramatically altered when he became entranced in the Texas-Mexico war.

The Only Governor Who Was Not Republican Or Democrat

During the entire timeline of Texas, there has been only one person (who was elected twice) who was neither a Republican nor a Democrat. His party was the Republican Unionist and his name was Elisha Pease. First being elected and subsequently taking office on December 21st, 1853, he returned after the Civil War. Winning the election again, he would take office on August 8th, 1867 and serve just two years until September 30th, 1869.

List of All Texas Governors

Below is a list of all Texas Governor’s beginning with the most recent (and current) Governor Greg Abbott whose current tenure runs until January of 2023. Barring his resignation or removal from office in some fashion, this list will not be updated until then.

GovernorPartyTenure
Greg AbbottRepublicanJanuary 20, 2015 – January 17, 2023
Rick PerryRepublicanDecember 21, 2000 – January 20, 2015
George W. BushRepublicanJanuary 17, 1995 – December 21, 2000
Ann W. RichardsDemocratJanuary 15, 1991 – January 17, 1995
Mark W. White, Jr.DemocratJanuary 18, 1983 – January 20, 1987
William P. ClementsRepublicanJanuary 20, 1987 – January 15, 1991
January 16, 1979 – January 18, 1983
Dolph BriscoeDemocratJanuary 16, 1973 – January 16, 1979
Preston SmithDemocratJanuary 21, 1969 – January 16, 1973
John B. Connally, Jr.DemocratJanuary 15, 1963 – January 21, 1969
Price Daniel, Sr.DemocratJanuary 15, 1957 – January 15, 1963
Robert Allan ShiversDemocratJuly 11, 1949 – January 15, 1957
Beauford H. JesterDemocratJanuary 21, 1947 – July 11, 1949
Coke R. StevensonDemocratAugust 4, 1941 – January 21, 1947
W. Lee O’DanielDemocratJanuary 17, 1939 – August 4, 1941
James V AllredDemocratJanuary 15, 1935 – January 17, 1939
Ross S. SterlingDemocratJanuary 20, 1931 – January 17, 1933
Daniel J. Moody, Jr.DemocratJanuary 17, 1927 – January 20, 1931
Miriam FergusonDemocratJanuary 17, 1933 – January 15, 1935
January 20, 1925 – January 17, 1927
Pat M. NeffDemocratJanuary 18, 1921 – January 20, 1925
William P. HobbyDemocratSeptember 25, 1917 – January 18, 1921
James E. FergusonDemocratJanuary 19, 1915 – September 24, 1917
Oscar Branch ColquittDemocratJanuary 17, 1911 – January 19, 1915
Thomas Mitchell CampbellDemocratJanuary 15, 1907 – January 17, 1911
S.W.T. LanhamDemocratJanuary 20, 1903 – January 15, 1907
Joseph D. SayersDemocratJanuary 17, 1899 – January 20, 1903
Charles A. CulbersonDemocratJanuary 15, 1895 – January 17, 1899
James Stephen HoggDemocratJanuary 20, 1891 – January 15, 1895
Lawrence Sullivan RossDemocratJanuary 18, 1887 – January 20, 1891
John IrelandDemocratJanuary 16, 1883 – January 18, 1887
Oran M. RobertsDemocratJanuary 21, 1879 – January 16, 1883
Richard B. HubbardDemocratDecember 1, 1876 – January 21, 1879
Richard CokeDemocratJanuary 15, 1874 – December 1, 1876
Edmund J. DavisRepublicanJanuary 8, 1870 – January 15, 1874
James W. ThrockmortonDemocratAugust 9, 1866 – August 8, 1867
Andrew J. HamiltonDemocratJune 17, 1865 – August 9, 1866
Pendleton MurrahDemocratNovember 5, 1863 – June 17, 1865
Francis R. LubbockDemocratNovember 7, 1861 – November 5, 1863
Edward ClarkDemocratMarch 16, 1861 – November 7, 1861
Sam HoustonDemocratDecember 21, 1859 – March 16, 1861
Hardin R. RunnelsDemocratDecember 21, 1857 – December 21, 1859
Elisha M. PeaseRepublican
Unionist
August 8, 1867 – September 30, 1869
December 21, 1853 – December 21, 1857
James W. HendersonDemocratNovember 23, 1853 – December 21, 1853
Peter Hansbrough BellDemocratDecember 21, 1849 – November 23, 1853
George T. WoodDemocratDecember 21, 1847 – December 21, 1849
J. Pinckney HendersonDemocratFebruary 19, 1846 – December 21, 1847