Texas Elections Update

Bradley PepperAdvocacy, Covid-19

We hope that you and your families are staying safe and healthy during these uncertain times. With so many other important issues that we are facing daily, it is hard to remember that this is a major election year. We wanted to reach out to provide an update on what we know for elections moving forward in 2020.

Our primary elections were held roughly two month ago on March 2, and if a candidate did not receive 50 percent plus one vote in a race, then a runoff election is needed between the top two vote getters. The runoff election was originally scheduled for May 26, but last month Governor Greg Abbott delayed the runoffs until July 14 with early voting starting on July 6.

As a reminder, below are the notable runoffs in our area.


Texas Congressional District 22: In the race to replace retiring Congressman Pete Olson (R-Sugar Land), Sri Preston Kulkarni won the Democratic primary, and in a 15-person Republican primary race, former Sheriff Troy Nehls will face Kathaleen Wall in the runoff.

Texas House of Representatives District 25: In a safely Republican seat, Ro’Vin Garrett and Cody Thane Vasut will face each other in the Republican runoff in the race to fill the seat of retiring House Speaker Dennis Bonnen (R-Angleton). The winner will face Democrat Patrick Henry in the general election.

Texas House of Representatives District 26: In the race to replace retiring Rep. Rick Miller (R-Sugar Land), HOME-PAC endorsed candidate Jacey Jetton will face Matt Morgan in the Republican runoff, while Suleman Lalani and Sarah DeMerchant will face each other in the Democratic runoff.
Texas House of Representatives District 142: In the Democratic Primary, incumbent State Rep. Harold Dutton (R-Houston) will face current Houston City Council Member Jerry Davis (R-Houston) in the runoff for this safely Democratic seat.

Voting by Mail

Due to the concern about COVID-19, there has been a lot of discussion about expanding voting by mail beyond those who are currently eligible for absentee ballots. A state district judge issued an order to ease the restrictions on voting by mail to anyone that is fearful of contracting the virus, but that will almost certainly be appealed by the state as well as other entities. We will follow that issue as it moves through the system and update accordingly.

Our smaller municipalities and political subdivisions (school boards, special districts) were scheduled to have elections on May 2. Initially, Governor Abbott gave municipalities and political subdivisions the discretion to move their election until November based on what they deemed best for their communities. But last month the state changed its mind and directed election officials to move their elections to November or face criminal violations.

As is the reality during this crisis, the status of our elections and how they will be conducted remains fluid. We will keep everyone updated as we get information.

Construction Jobsite Safety Guidance

As our elected officials consider different measures to help reopen our city, state and country, it is important that our industry continues to operate responsibly and practice the utmost safety.

While the federal government included residential construction in its updated list of critical infrastructure/essential services and the governor and local officials have included residential construction as “essential” in their orders, to keep our industry going during these uncertain times we must make sure we follow their directives regarding social distancing and jobsite personnel numbers.

It is critically important to adhere to CDC and OSHA guidelines; to follow safety rules in local “Stay at Home” orders; to maintain the six-foot social distancing rule; and to keep work crews or staff to 10 people or less.
We have seen unfavorable news articles from around the country investigating various construction jobsites to report on worker behavior. It only takes a few negative local and state news stories to put this issue on our elected officials’ radar. It is important that the industry acts as a responsible community partner throughout this crisis so that we can remain as an “essential” service and keep doing business.

If your company would like more information on best practices and developing an organizational response plan to COVID-19, please reach out to Bradley Pepper.

Local Residential Construction Operations

As the GHBA works to best help members during this uncertain time, it seems clear that one of the most important objectives from an industry perspective is to help cities and counties continue their residential construction operations, inspections and reviews. We have seen many operational changes in cities and counties due to stay at home orders.
With so many other sectors of the economy taking a hit, we want to keep the residential construction industry moving by providing innovative solutions for plan review, inspections, etc. that will help provide some economic stability during this unpredictable time.

If you receive information about a local municipality or county making changes to their permitting or inspection operations please contact bpepper@ghba.org.

About the Author

Bradley Pepper

Government Affairs Director Greater Houston Builders Association (GHBA)