2020 Primary Election Results: Statewide Races

Mar 3, 2020

These are the statewide races we're watching as primary election results roll in Tuesday.

Texas Supreme Court | Railroad Commission | State Board of Education | Texas Court of Criminal Appeals

Texas Supreme Court

The Texas Supreme Court is the court of last resort for civil cases involving state law. Those are cases that deal with lawsuits between people, businesses and organizations – as opposed to criminal cases. Legal decisions made by the state Supreme Court are final and binding under state law.

The court is made up of eight justices and one chief justice, who are elected to six-year terms in partisan statewide elections. Four places on the court are up for election this year. 

Railroad Commission

Don’t let the name confuse you, the Railroad Commission of Texas has nothing to do with railroads. The name is just a throwback to a time when it did.

Nowadays the Railroad Commission regulates the powerful oil, gas and mining industries in Texas. It is responsible for ensuring pipeline safety, enforcing rules over drilling and production, and overseeing natural gas utilities, among other things. As such, it is often at the center of battles over public safety and the environment.

The commission is overseen by a three-member Board of Railroad Commissioners who are elected statewide. One of those seats is on the 2020 ballot. 

State Board of Education

The State Board of Education oversees education policy and standards for public schools. The board’s tasks include overseeing state funding, establishing graduation requirements for high schools, choosing instructional materials and adopting curriculum standards.

The 15 members of the board are elected by district — each representing about 1.8 million people — to four-year terms. 

Background: District 5 includes Blanco, Caldwell, Comal, Gillespie, Guadalupe, Hays, Kendall, Kerr, Llano, Mason, San Saba and parts of Bexar and Travis counties.

District 10 includes Williamson and Bell counties, as well as parts of Travis, Freestone, Waller and Burnet counties.

Texas Court of Criminal Appeals

This is the highest criminal court in Texas, with ultimate say over criminal appeals, including death penalty cases. Judges on the nine-judge panel are elected statewide to six-year terms.

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