Final tallies in federal races may still be pending, but Texas voters have spoken. Loudly. And their votes will help medicine maintain a strong voice in the Texas Legislature.
Health care concerns including the COVID-19 pandemic helped fuel record turnout nationwide, and final vote counts in the presidential and many senate and congressional races are expected in the coming days.
Meanwhile in Texas, 97% of the candidates supported by TEXPAC – the Texas Medical Association’s non-partisan political arm – won their races. After more than 10 million total votes were cast, Republicans maintained control of the House and Senate, and a new speaker of the House will be elected in January.
TEXPAC’s victories include three physicians who kept their seats in the House and Senate. All told, there are five Texas physician lawmakers, giving medicine a strong, first-hand voice in the future of health care legislation.
“These elected physicians have special insights into the challenges we face,” said TEXPAC Chair Brad Patt, MD. “We look forward to working with them again in the next legislature to ensure our patients have access to the quality care they need.”
The returning physician members in the Texas Legislature are:
- State Sen. Dawn Buckingham, MD (R-Lakeway), an ophthalmologist, who won with nearly 70% of the vote;
- State Sen. Donna Campbell, MD (R-New Braunfels), an emergency medicine physician who is in the middle of her four-year term and was not on the ballot this year;
- State Rep. Greg Bonnen, MD (R-Friendswood), a neurosurgeon, who won with 70% of the vote;
- State Rep. Tom Oliverson, MD (R-Cypress), an anesthesiologist, who won with 69%; and
- State Sen. Charles Schwertner, MD (R-Georgetown), an orthopedic surgeon, who is in the middle of his four-year term and was not on the ballot this year.
Other notable TEXPAC-supported races included:
- Democrat Roland Gutierrez, currently a House member from San Antonio, was elected to the Senate;
- Jacey Jetton, a Republican who won an open House seat in Fort Bend county with nearly 52% of the vote;
- Rep. Brad Buckley (R-Killeen), who was comfortably reelected by a seven-point margin;
- Rep. Lynn Stucky (R-Denton), who was reelected with nearly 55% of the vote; and
- David Cook, a Republican who won an open House seat in Arlington with 51% of the vote.
In Dallas county, Rep. Angie Chen Button (R-Garland) and Rep. Morgan Meyer (R-Dallas) hold slim leads in their reelection contests.
Of the 155 candidates TEXPAC endorsed, only four lost their respective contests, including Rep. Sarah Davis (R-West University Place), who received 48% of the vote. Representative Davis, who was running for a sixth term in the House, had made health care a priority since her initial run in 2010.
TEXPAC’s multistep evaluation and endorsement process ensures candidates are thoroughly vetted and that they will be active, strong advocates for medicine in Congress and the legislature, fair arbiters in the judiciary.