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Busy May for Political Broadcasting Ahead

May was already shaping up to be a busy time for station sales and news departments with the Saturday, May 4, uniform election date utilized by cities and school boards to conduct elections.

Gov. Greg Abbott also has added a special election to the other offices up for election across Texas that day.

The special election will fill the unexpired term of SD 15, the Houston-area Texas Senate seat recently vacated by newly elected Houston Mayor John Whitmire who served in that seat for four decades.

Five candidates filed for the SD 15 special election, including the two candidates involved in the SD 15 Democratic primary runoff election later in May, HD 139 St. Rep. Jarvis Johnson, D-Houston, and emergency room nurse Molly Cook.

The FCC political window for those elections is already open.

Early voting in the May 4 uniform election contests and the SD 15 special election begins Monday, April 22 and ends Tuesday, April 30.

Primary Runoff Elections May 28

While the Republican and Democratic Parties have yet to canvass last week’s primary election results, it appears a combined 30 GOP and Democratic Party races are headed to primary runoff elections on Tuesday, May 28.

The FCC political window for those races will open on Saturday, April 13.

Early voting opens Monday, May 20 and close Friday, May 24.

Most of the activity is occurring in the GOP primary runoff election.

Republicans have 20 offices up in their runoff election, the most watched being HD 21, the seat held by current Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan, R-Beaumont. 

Phelan came in second in the three-candidate race and now faces the biggest fight of his political life.

Orange County Republican Party chairman David Covey, who has never held public office, garnered the most votes in the contest.

Phelan and a handful of other Texas House GOP incumbents are being targeted by the extreme Far-Right faction of the Texas Republican Party for not being “faithful” to GOP issues and principles, as well as initiating impeachment proceedings against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, R-McKinney.

Among the GOP primary runoff election races are:

  • Six GOP congressional seats (TX 7, 12, 23, 28, 29, 32)
  • One Texas Senate seat (SD 30)
  • Eleven Texas House seats (HD 21, 29, 30, 33, 44, 58, 61, 64, 76, 91, 97)
  • Two State Board of Education seats (SBE Districts 10, 12)

Democrats have 10 offices up in their runoff election:

  • One congressional seat (TX 31)
  • Two Texas Senate seats (SD 15, 30)
  • Six Texas house seats (HD 37, 77, 80, 97, 139, 146)
  • One seat on the 3rd Court of Appeals, Place 2

TAB Member Station Resources for the Election Year

TAB has created a special page in the Members-Only portion of the TAB website to provide a full suite of resources to assist stations with the FCC’s political broadcast obligations. 

It’s called the TAB Political Toolkit and you can access it here.   

The TAB Political Toolkit includes:

  • A recording of TAB’s January FCC Political Broadcast Rules webinar featuring attorney Scott Flick of TAB’s FCC legal counsel Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman
  • TAB’s legal guide to the FCC’s Political Broadcast Rules
  • TAB’s Political Forms
  • TAB’s 2024 Political Dates and Offices Up for Election Primer 

If you have not used the Members section of the TAB website before, you will be prompted to set up your account to access these resources.

Additionally, the TAB legal hotline is available for Texas broadcasters’ routine questions on compliance with the FCC’s political broadcast regulations.

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

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