Texas election boot camp: What to know for Nov. 8

Erin Shank, Beto O'Rourke and Greg Abbott are candidates on the Texas ballot this Election Day. Left photo courtesy of Erin Shank. Middle photo courtesy of Katy Mae Turner | Photographer. Right photo courtesy of Baylor University.

By Caitlyn Meisner | Staff Writer

If you’re voting in Texas on Election Day, it is important to know the basics about key races on the ballot.

Midterms are just as important as presidential elections in determining several county positions as well as state representatives, state senators, governor and state attorney general.

Primary elections in Texas happened in March 2022 to determine who would be on the ballot in the general election this coming Tuesday.

Here is a comprehensive “who’s who” for the Texas ballot.

U.S. House of Representatives District 17

Mary Jo Woods (D) and Pete Sessions (R-incumbent) are competing for the District 17 U.S. House spot.

Sessions was elected to the U.S. House in 2020 and has served in the seat since. According to Sessions’ website, the congressman supports the “America First” movement, is pro-life and pro-family and wants to protect religious liberty.

While Woods’ campaign website can no longer be accessed, Ballotpedia published information from her campaign website and posted her responses to its Candidate Connection survey from 2022. According to the website, Woods said she is passionate about rural America because of her upbringing in that part of the state.

“We are a different part of the state, but we are no less sophisticated or important than our sister cities,” Woods said. “I want to invest in rural communities and bring new opportunities to the area, including better access to health care, especially for veterans.”


Beto O’Rourke (D), Greg Abbott (R-incumbent), Mark Tippetts (Libertarian Party) and Delilah Barrios (Green Party) are running for the governor seat.

The role of a governor is to implement state laws and advance or pursue new policies through budgets, executive orders and/or legislative proposals.

Abbott was initially elected to the governor seat in 2015 and has been reelected since. He is seeking a third term in this position. If reelected, Abbott plans to grow the economy by cutting taxes, defend the Second Amendment and religious liberty and secure the border, according to his campaign website.

In a debate with O’Rourke on Oct. 1, Abbott said he wants to maintain Texas’ status.

“I’m running for reelection to keep Texas No. 1,” Abbott said. “Together, we will keep Texas No. 1.”

O’Rourke represented El Paso in the U.S. House from 2013 to 2019 and has run unsuccessful campaigns for the U.S. Senate and the presidency in 2018 and 2020, respectively. According to his campaign website and last month’s rally in Waco, O’Rourke said he supports the legalization of marijuana, reproductive freedom and legal immigration.

Tippetts has run unsuccessful campaigns in the past for Travis County court and governor in the Libertarian Party. In a previous interview with The Baylor Lariat, Tippetts said he wants comprehensive immigration reform, the legalization of marijuana and school choice.

Barrios is the Green Party candidate. According to her campaign website, Barrios’ top concern is broadening health care. She said she hopes to raise the Texas minimum wage to $20 per hour and maintain the Second Amendment.

Lieutenant Governor

The candidates for lieutenant governor are Mike Collier (D), Dan Patrick (R-incumbent) and Shanna Steele (Libertarian Party).

Dr. Pat Flavin, Bob Bullock professor of political science, said the role of a lieutenant governor is unique.

“Lieutenant governors are independently elected,” Flavin said. “[Patrick] will not be on the same ticket as Greg Abbott. They are the head of the Texas Senate, so they have legislative power.”

Patrick has held the lieutenant governor position since 2014. Patrick said he is a principled conservative who stands up for the people of Texas. On his website, Patrick said he wants to secure the border, reduce property and business taxes and address Texas’ infrastructure challenges.

Collier ran for the same position in 2018 but lost to Patrick in a 51.3% to 46.5% vote split, as reported by Ballotpedia. According to his campaign website, Collier wants to stand up to both parties in the legislature, fully fund public schools, protect women’s rights and “fix the damn grid.”

Steele is the Libertarian candidate for lieutenant governor. This is her first time running for this office, and there is no information on her policy stances.

Attorney General

Rochelle Garza (D), Ken Paxton (R-incumbent) and Mark Ash (Libertarian Party) are running for the attorney general seat.

According to Flavin, the role of the attorney general is to be the state’s top lawyer.

“They are responsible for suing the federal government,” Flavin said.

Paxton is the incumbent Republican candidate. He initially won the position in 2015 and is seeking a third term. Paxton said on his campaign website that his main priorities are protecting the sanctity of life, guarding religious freedom, standing with law enforcement and protecting taxpayers.

According to Garza’s campaign website, her main priorities include legalizing marijuana, fighting issues at the border and advocating for civil rights.

Ash ran for Texas Supreme Court Place 1 in 2020 but lost to Republican Nathan Hecht. He also ran unsuccessful campaigns in 2014 and 2016 in judicial elections. His campaign issues for attorney general were not listed on his website.

TX State Senate District 22

Brian Birdwell (R-incumbent) and Jeremy Schroppel (Libertarian Party) are competing for the District 22 State Senate seat.

Birdwell has held the seat since 2010. Birdwell’s main issues — according to his campaign website — are border security, honoring the sanctity of life, preserving Second Amendment freedoms and supporting Texas values.

Schroppel is the Libertarian candidate. This is his first time running for State Senate. While his campaign website does not list specific campaign priorities, he said he is passionate about individual freedoms in the Ballotpedia Candidate Connection survey.

TX State House District 56

Erin Shank (D) and Charles “Doc” Anderson (R-incumbent) are competing for the Texas House District 56 seat.

This is Shank’s first time running for this seat, but she said in a previous interview with The Baylor Lariat that she has lobbied for change in the state legislature.

Shank’s main campaign priorities — according to her campaign website — include fixing the electrical grid, advocating for disability rights and supporting Texas public schools.

Anderson is running for his 10th term as state representative for District 56. In a previous interview with The Baylor Lariat, Anderson said that he has been honored to serve McLennan County.

According to his campaign website, Anderson’s main campaign priorities include defending the sanctity of life, strengthening the economy and preserving traditional values.

Railroad Commissioner

Luke Warford (D), Wayne Christian (R-incumbent), Hunter Crow (Green Party) and Jaime Diez (Libertarian Party) are running for railroad commissioner.

Flavin said the role of a railroad commissioner is unique in Texas.

“They have jurisdiction over oil and gas policy, which is a major part of Texas’ economy,” Flavin said.

Christian is seeking reelection, as he has been in the position since 2016.

Warford said on his campaign website that he is running because of the grid failure that happened in 2021.

Crow, the Green Party candidate, said on his campaign website that his main priorities are to keep gas prices under $2 per gallon, protect nature and create jobs in renewable energy.

Diez, the Libertarian Party candidate, said on his campaign website that his main platform positions include a polluter-pays principle and repealing tax exemptions.

Show up to the polls on Nov. 8 to vote for your statewide elected officials.