5 things to know before election season

Midterms are Nov. 6

The Capitol building in Austin, Texas lights up the night.

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The Capitol building in Austin, Texas lights up the night.

Jackson Posey, Staff Writer

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Midterms 2018 are here, and they could shape the foundations of America for years to come. Students turning 18 before Nov. 6 have the ability to make their voice heard by voting. Here is everything you need to know before then.

1. How to Register

Texas makes registering especially easy for first-time voters. In order to register, a citizen can fill out a form, either at the Voter Registrar’s office or by filling out and printing this form and mailing it to the Voter Registrar’s office. The last day to register is Oct. 9. The early voting period spans from Oct. 22 to Nov. 2. General elections run on Nov. 6.


2. Candidates

Local voters have the opportunity to vote in National Senate and House elections as well as  state wide and local elections.


United States Senate

Incumbent: Ted Cruz (R) (Running)

Challengers: Beto O’Rourke (D), Neal Dikeman (LB)

House of Representatives

Incumbent: Lloyd Doggett II (D) (Running)

Challengers: David Smalling (R), Clark Patterson (LB)


Incumbent: Greg Abbott (R) (Running)

Challengers: Lupe Valdez (D), Mark Tippetts (LB)

Lieutenant Governor

Incumbent: Dan Patrick (R) (Running)

Challengers: Mike Collier (D), Michael Harris (LB)

State Representative

Incumbent: Kyle Biedermann (R) (Running)

Challenger: Stephanie Phillips (D)

State Senate

Incumbent: Donna Campbell (R) (Running)

Challengers: Steven Kling (D), Roxanne Alvarez (NF)

Justice of the Supreme Court (Seat 2)

Incumbent: Justice Jimmy Blacklock (R)

Challenger: Steven Kirkland (D)

Justice of the Supreme Court (Seat 4)

Incumbent: Justice John Devine (R)

Challenger: Ravi Sandill (D)

Justice of the Supreme Court (Seat 6)

Incumbent: Justice Jeff Brown (NF) (Running)

Challenger: Kathy Cheng (D)

Attorney General

Incumbent: Ken Paxton, Jr. (R) (Running)

Challengers: Justin Nelson (D), Michael Harris (LB)

Comptroller of Public Accounts

Incumbent: Glenn Hegar, Jr. (R) (Running)

Challengers: Joi Chevalier (D), Ben Sanders (LB)


3. What’s at stake?

In the Senate, the Grand Old Party (GOP) currently occupies 51/100 senate seats. A win by Beto O’Rourke over Senator Ted Cruz could be a big blow to Republican, and would potentially tip the scales back to the left. Republicans failed to advantage of having a majority in both houses and the lead man in the Oval Office, and with a Democratic-majority Senate there would be an even larger obstacle in passing legislation. Luckily for Republicans, they are defending just nine seats, while the Democrats have 26 seats up for re-election. This gives Republicans a big advantage going into midterms. Democrats, on the other hand, must win nearly three times as many seats as Republicans just to maintain the current situation and avoid a bigger deficit.

In the House of Representatives, the GOP currently occupies 240 of a possible 435 senate seats. Only 218 seats are needed for a majority, so if the Democrats want to retake the house, they will need a net gain of 24 seats. David Smalling (R) or Clark Patterson (LB) upsetting District 35 incumbent Lloyd Doggett II (D) would be a big blow to a Democratic party that already struggles to maintain strongholds in Texas. The 24-seat gain necessary for the Dems to regain a majority has only been accomplished in five times; the last time the Democrats pulled it off was 2006. Republicans accomplished the feat three times in total, most recently in 2010.

Governor is pretty self-explanatory. A governor functions as a sort of semi-president, fulfilling the same roles but on a state level. Abbott’s re-election seems like a given, but the unexpected has happened before. A Democratic victory in the governor race would certainly energize an already fired-up liberal voter base. A Republican win would simply mean maintaining the status quo.


4. Why You Need to Vote

As the 2016 presidential election showed us, underdogs can win at all levels of politics. Don’t be confident that a candidate is going to win. Go out there, vote, campaign, get involved.


5. What Now?

Decisions, decisions. No pressure or anything, but it is possible a single ballot may shape the future the United States.

Different belief systems have fundamentally different views on government. Minarchists and other libertarians may view the Constitution as a document that is to be stringently interpreted, whereas socialists and other liberals may see it as a document implying the government’s floor, as opposed to it’s ceiling. An individual’s views on religion, economics, and social issues are vital when determining which candidate to vote for. And it’s a decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Choose wisely.

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