Travis County: 2020 Primary Elections Voter Guide

Feb 13, 2020

If you live in Travis County, here are all the races that might appear on your ballot for either the Democratic or Republican primary. Put your address into the tool below to find out which Congressional, state legislative and State Board of Education districts you're in, then scroll down to find the candidates in those races.

If you don't find your districts listed below, that means they're not up for election in 2020. 

Federal

U.S. Senate

Every state in the U.S. elects two people to represent them in the U.S. Senate, which is the upper chamber of Congress. They are elected statewide for six-year terms. Texas Sen. John Cornyn’s term is up for re-election this year. About a dozen Democrats are vying to challenge him in the November election.

U.S. House of Representatives

Texas has 36 seats in the House of Representatives, which is the lower chamber of Congress. The total number of representatives is currently set at 435; the number of seats a state is given is based on population. The average population in a congressional district, based on the 2010 census, is 710,767. That number will change with the 2020 census. Representatives are elected for two-year terms. 

Texas’ 10th Congressional District covers parts of Northern and East Austin — including parts of Manor — and stretches to parts of Bastrop and all the way to northwestern parts of Houston. 

U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, who has held this seat since 2005, is running for re-election. There are three Democrats vying to challenge him in November.

Texas’ 17th Congressional District stretches from Central Austin to Waco and College Station. 

U.S. Rep. Bill Flores currently holds the seat, but announced plans to retire and will not seek another term. There are 11 Republicans and three Democrats vying to run for the seat in November. 

Texas’ 21st Congressional District runs from Southwest Austin down to through San Marcos and New Braunfels to northern parts of San Antonio. The district also covers the Hill Country, including Boerne, Johnson City and Fredericksburg. 

The seat is currently held by Chip Roy, who was first elected in 2018. Two Democrats are running to challenge him this year, including former gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis.

Texas’ 25th Congressional District includes all or parts of 13 counties. It runs from Tarrant County, which it grabs just a sliver of, all the way down the western halves of Travis and Hays counties.

The incumbent is Republican Roger Williams, a former Texas Secretary of State and car dealer. He won his first election to the office in 2012 and has served four terms.

Texas’ 35th Congressional District includes parts of six counties. Running from the eastern part of Travis County down to the eastern part of Bexar County. 

The incumbent is Democrat Lloyd Doggett. Doggett was first elected to Congress in 1994. Because of redistricting, he’s been shuffled around to three different districts, the 10th, 25th and currently the 35th. He’s seeking a 14th term.

Texas Senate

This is the upper chamber of the state Legislature. It consists of 31 members, each representing about 800,000 Texans. They are elected to four-year terms. Along with the Texas House of Representatives, the state Senate drafts and passes state laws, policies and budgets. The Legislature meets for 140 days during odd-numbered years, though the governor can call special sessions outside that time frame. 

Senate District 24 includes most of the Hill Country and a small slice of western Travis County.

 Senate District 21 runs from the Rio Grande Valley all the way up to the southeastern part of Travis County.

Texas House 

The Texas House is the lower chamber of the state Legislature. It consists of 150 members, who are elected every two years. Along with the state Senate, the House drafts and passes state laws, policies and budgets. The Legislature meets for 140 days during odd-numbered years, though the governor can call special sessions outside that time frame. 

House District 46 includes much of East Austin, most of Manor and part of Pflugerville.

House District 47 represents a large area of Far Western Austin, as well as a tiny slice of the southern part of the city near Manchaca. 

House District 48 includes much of South, Southwest and West Austin, including Sunset Valley, West Lake Hills and Rollingwood.

House District 49 stretches from Sunset Valley and into Northern Austin, covering much of the area west of IH 35. 

  • REPUBLICANS: Charles Allan Meyer, Jenai Aragona-Hales
  • DEMOCRATS: Gina Hinojosa*

House District 50 includes parts of North Austin, much of Pflugerville and parts of northeast Travis County.

House District 51 covers a large swath of Southeast Austin, including ABIA and Circuit of the Americas.

  • REPUBLICANS: Robert Reynolds
  • DEMOCRATS: Eddie Rodriguez*, Joshua Sanchez

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. 

Chief Justice: While the chief justice oversees the court, each member has one equal vote in issuing decisions. The chief justice assigns the other justices administrative duties, like who will run disciplinary proceedings for lawyers and who will be the court’s liaison to the state bar. The chief justice also appoints judges to cases, if lower court judges have to recuse themselves. Every legislative session, the chief justice delivers a “state of the judiciary” address to Texas lawmakers.

Justice, Place 6

While each state Supreme Court justice is assigned a “place,” they are elected statewide. The place designation has no significance beyond where they are listed on the ballot.

Justice, Place 7

While each state Supreme Court justice is assigned a “place,” they are elected statewide. The place designation has no significance beyond where they are listed on the ballot.

Justice, Place 8

While each state Supreme Court justice is assigned a “place,” they are elected statewide. The place designation has no significance beyond where they are listed on the ballot.

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. 

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

SBOE 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.

Place 3

 Place 4

Place 9

Third Court of Appeals

This is, unshockingly, an appeals court – meaning it hears cases after they've been ruled upon and one party thinks the ruling isn't right. This six-justice panel hears both civil and criminal cases from an area that covers 24 counties including Austin and surrounding areas.

The chief justice of this court is up for election this year. 

Travis County

District Civil Courts

District civil court judges preside over cases involving divorce, land titles, election contests and civil matters with money or damages of $200 or more. The court is located at the Herman Marion Sweatt Travis County Courthouse in downtown Austin.

Judges are elected to a four-year term. 

There are six civil court judgeships on the ballot in Travis County this year.

53rd Judicial District

98th Judicial District

  • REPUBLICANS: None
  • DEMOCRATS: Rhonda Hurley*

126th Judicial District

200th Judicial District

345th Judicial District

353rd Judicial District

Travis County District Attorney (District Attorney, 53rd Judicial District)

The responsibilities of the district attorney include prosecuting felony crimes and assisting law enforcement with investigations. 

District Criminal Courts

Criminal district courts preside over felony cases. There are nine district courts and one district magistrate court dedicated to criminal matters in Travis County. The court is located at the Blackwell-Thurman Criminal Justice Center in downtown Austin.

Judges are elected to a four-year term. 

167th Judicial District

390th Judicial District

427th Judicial District

450th Judicial District

460th Judicial District

Criminal Courts at Law

Criminal courts at law preside over class A and class B misdemeanor cases. There are seven such courts in Travis County that deal with criminal cases, but only three are on the primary ballot this year. Criminal courts at law judges serve four-year terms. 

No. 4

No. 8

  • REPUBLICANS: None
  • DEMOCRATS: Carlos Barrera*

No. 9

Travis County Attorney

The county attorney prosecutes misdemeanor crimes, obtains protective orders for domestic violence victims, obtains involuntary commitments for certain mentally ill people and advises Travis County elected officials regarding their official duties. The county attorney serves four-year terms. 

Travis County Sheriff

The Travis County sheriff manages the Travis County jail population, including the Travis County Correctional Complex in Del Valle. The sheriff is a peace officer who is elected every four years.

Travis County Commissioner

A Travis County commissioner drafts and passes policies for the county, much like a city council member does for the city. There are four county commissioners in Travis County, plus the county judge, who is elected countywide. 

Precinct 1 covers the northeastern quadrant of the county, including East Austin, Pflugerville, Manor and Webberville.

Precinct 3 includes much of western Travis County from Lost Creek to the edge of Burnet County.

Travis County Constable

The county constables are the law enforcement arm of Travis County, and handle criminal and civil cases. A constable is a peace officer who is elected every four years. They can issue traffic citations, serve as bailiffs in justice of the peace courts and forcibly evict someone per a court order. 

Precinct 1 covers much of the northeastern quadrant of the county, including East Austin and Manor and Webberville.

Precinct 2 runs from Pflugerville, Wells Branch, Northwest Austin, Lakeway and the northwestern quadrant of the county.

Precinct 3 includes the southwestern portion of the county.

Precinct 4 covers the southeastern part of the county.

Precinct 5 includes Central and West Austin north of the Colorado River.

Travis County Tax Assessor-Collector

The Travis County tax assessor-collector serves a four-year term and handles a variety of things, including issuing retail alcoholic beverage licenses, collecting property taxes and registering voters. The office collects more than $4 billion in annual taxes and fees. 

* incumbent