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FCC Political Window Opens for May 28 Primary Runoff Election

The FCC-mandated political window for the May 28 Texas primary runoff election opened this past weekend on April 13.

It is an important date because most of the FCC’s political broadcast rules apply during the political window, including the application of lowest unit charge for political broadcast time as placed by candidates or their authorized representative.

There are 30 GOP and Democratic Party races headed to primary runoff elections in May with most of the activity occurring in the GOP primary runoff election.

Republicans have 20 offices up in that party’s 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.

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

Early voting for the primary runoff election opens Monday, May 20 and will close Friday, May 24.

Other Elections Next Month on May 4

The political widow for the May 4 uniform election date opened back in March.

That is the election date utilized by most, but not all, Texas cities and school boards to conduct elections.

Gov. Greg Abbott also has added a special election to that date to fill the unexpired term of SD 15, the Houston-area Texas Senate seat vacated by newly elected Houston Mayor John Whitmire who served in that seat for four decades.

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

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.

Access TAB Political Toolkit

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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