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2022 Texas Political Candidate Filing Window Opens Nov. 13

- March 1 Primary Election Date Now Expected to Hold

The 2022 election year begins in earnest when the candidate filling window opens on Saturday, Nov. 13. The window will close on Monday, Dec. 13.

This is the period when Texas’ “legally qualified candidates” for statewide, congressional, statehouse and county offices become known.

It is an important distinction because most of the FCC’s political broadcast regulations do not kick in until one has crossed the threshold of becoming a legally qualified candidate. That means filing the necessary paperwork and paying the fees to secure a place on a party’s primary ballot. For municipal and school board candidates, the process does not involve parties and instead uses the city clerk’s office and other election apparatus.

Broadcasters should understand that the March 1, 2022, primary election is essentially a party election that utilizes county-owned equipment and staff to compile the results.

A week ago, Gov. Greg Abbott, R-Austin, signed into law the elective Texas district maps for Congress, Texas Senate, Texas House of Representatives, and the State Board of Education. Two federal lawsuits have been filed contesting them, but for now these are the maps Texas will use in the primary election.

TAB and others have had about two weeks to study the new districts and the issues that the two federal courts are reviewing. It now appears more than likely that the March 1 primary election will happen on schedule, rather than be delayed as it was in 2012.

Why the reassessment?

Texas political scientists and veteran Capitol watchers say this year’s GOP-led redistricting effort was far less aggressive than that of 2011. There is just not as much for the courts to decide as there was 10 years ago. While the districts may be contested well into 2022, the March primary will probably happen as scheduled using the districts as currently drawn.

Those new districts are so tightly drawn to favor one party over another that there will be far fewer competitive races in the general election. Unlike the 2011 district maps, there is potential for only limited GOP gains in the U.S. House, Texas Senate and Texas House, while preserving as many current GOP districts as possible.

One well-respected Texas political scientists said it would be “charitable” to think there are 11 competitive congressional or statehouse races in the general election. That differs from the 30+ competitive races broadcasters saw in the 2018 and 2020 elections.

Therefore, Texas broadcasters should not anticipate 2022 political advertisement spending to mirror that of 2018 and 2020. Most of the 2022 political ad spending by candidates or third-party groups will transpire in a handful of statewide offices up for election, either in the primary or in the general election, along with two congressional races. To a lesser degree, certain statehouse races could see more than normal political advertising spending.

TAB member station staff can keep abreast of the current thinking on which 2022 races might be competitive in March or November by signing up for TAB’s Political Update emails.

TAB sends these dispatches containing Texas political race news and background information on a regular basis up to the November general election next year. These are emailed to TAB member station GMs, GSMs, LSMs and NDs.

If there are specific individuals at your station handling political advertising or news coverage who should be on the distribution list, please forward their name and emails to TAB and TAB will add them to the distribution list.

Questions? Contact TAB’s Michael Schneider or call (512) 322-9944.

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