Texas Democratic Party
The Texas Democratic Party is one of the two major political parties in Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

 and the local branch of the United States Democratic Party
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

. It is headquartered in Downtown
Downtown Austin
Downtown Austin is the central business district of Austin, Texas. Downtown is located on the north bank of the Colorado River. The approximate borders of Downtown include Lamar Boulevard to the west, 11th Street and sometimes Martin Luther King, Jr...

Austin, Texas
Austin is the capital city of the U.S. state of :Texas and the seat of Travis County. Located in Central Texas on the eastern edge of the American Southwest, it is the fourth-largest city in Texas and the 14th most populous city in the United States. It was the third-fastest-growing large city in...

 within close proximity to the Texas State Capitol
Texas State Capitol
The Texas State Capitol is located in Austin, Texas, and is the fourth building to be the house of Texas government in Austin. It houses the chambers of the Texas Legislature and the office of the governor of Texas. It was designed originally during 1881 by architect Elijah E. Myers, and was...


19th century

The Democratic Party of Texas had a prominent role in 19th century American history; spanning the independent nationhood of the Republic of Texas
Republic of Texas
The Republic of Texas was an independent nation in North America, bordering the United States and Mexico, that existed from 1836 to 1846.Formed as a break-away republic from Mexico by the Texas Revolution, the state claimed borders that encompassed an area that included all of the present U.S...

, entrance into the Union, secession, the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

, and Reconstruction. The United States Congress approved the Texas state constitution and President James Polk signed the act admitting Texas as a state on December 29, 1845. Until the 1950s the Democratic Party of Texas was the only viable party in the state, for long periods of time in the 19th century it dominated state politics at all levels.

Even before Texas gained its independence from Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

 the Democratic Party influenced the politics of the region. As early as February 25, 1822, with the formation of the Texas Association in Russellville, Kentucky, individuals interested in land speculation came together to secure land grants in Texas. The Texas Association drew its membership from professionals-merchants, doctors, and lawyers, often hailing from Kentucky and Tennessee. Many of these men were also close friends of Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson was the seventh President of the United States . Based in frontier Tennessee, Jackson was a politician and army general who defeated the Creek Indians at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend , and the British at the Battle of New Orleans...

 and had strong ties to the Democratic Party. Likewise, most of the settlers in Texas were either from the Upper South or the Lower South and many southerners of this era held strong allegiances to the Democratic Party.

Despite sympathy for the Democratic Party in the United States, as yet there was no strong party tradition in the independent Republic of Texas. Before 1848, elections in Texas were conducted without organized political parties. Personality was the dominant political force in the state. Contests between factions evolved into a more defined stage of competition with the development of the Democratic Party in Texas as a formal organ of the electoral process during the 1848 presidential campaign
United States presidential election, 1848
The United States presidential election of 1848 was an open race. President James K. Polk, having achieved all of his major objectives in one term and suffering from declining health that would take his life less than four months after leaving office, kept his promise not to seek re-election.The...

. Even so, it was some time before Democrats adopted any sort of a statewide network or arranged for scheduled conventions.

During the mid 19th century the party convention system was adopted. During these years the convention system became the chief method of recruiting candidates for office in the Texas Democratic Party. In the upheaval leading up to the Civil War, national politics influenced the State Party’s ideology. In the process Texans moved away from an earlier identification with Jacksonian nationalism and became closely associated with the states' rights goals of the lower South. A conflict emerged between loyalist unionist Democrats and secessionists Democrats, in which the secessionists won the battle (joining the Confederacy) but lost the Civil War.

In the immediate aftermath of the Civil War, during the period of Reconstruction, the split between Unionist
Union (American Civil War)
During the American Civil War, the Union was a name used to refer to the federal government of the United States, which was supported by the twenty free states and five border slave states. It was opposed by 11 southern slave states that had declared a secession to join together to form the...

 and Secessionist Democrats reemerged. During the war the strongest Unionists had disappeared from the political scene or had moved north. Those who stayed active reluctantly supported the Confederacy
Confederate States of America
The Confederate States of America was a government set up from 1861 to 1865 by 11 Southern slave states of the United States of America that had declared their secession from the U.S...

. After the war the Unionists continued to support a more egalitarian distribution of power in the state, while working to reduce the influence of former planters. But they split also. Their positions on freedmen ranged from supporting full civil and political rights to opposing anything beyond emancipation. In part as a result of the split among Democrats but more as a result of congressional Reconstruction nationally, Republicans captured both the governor's office and the state legislature in 1869. By 1872 Democrats regrouped and overturned the Republican government in the Texas legislature. Similar to what was experienced in many southern states, Republican political dominance in the post-Civil war era was short-lived.

In the gubernatorial election of 1873, the Democratic campaign theme included support for states' rights, loyalty to the Confederacy, and an attack on freedmen and Republicans. The final Democratic measure to overturn all Republican influence in Texas came with the passage of the Constitution of 1876, which severely constrained the powers of the state government, cut back on state services and limited the amount of money that could be raised in taxes.

The Constitutional Convention of 1875 was the result of the determination of the Democrats of Texas to eliminate the radical Constitution of 1869. A strong movement to have the changes in that document made by a legislative joint committee and then submitted to the voters failed in the House of Representatives because of a belief that the electorate would resent such a centralized method of providing a new organic law. The legislature then called an election in August 1875, in which voters approved a convention to prepare a new constitution and elected three delegates from each of the state's thirty senatorial districts. The time before the constitutional convention was marked by a number of Democratic measures designed to undo many Republican acts previously passed. The centralized school system was weakened. State salaries and expenditures were cut, and the governor was stripped of his powers to appoint some state officers and declare martial law.

Following the demise of the Populist
Populist may refer to:* A supporter of Populism, a political philosophy urging social and political system change that favours "the people" over "the elites", or favours the common people over the rich and wealthy business owners...

 insurgency after 1896, the Democratic Party dominated politics in Texas for six more decades. But within the party, open warfare often raged between three loosely defined groups of Democrats:
  • Conservatives, who were pro-business, frequently resistant to allowing progress on civil rights for African Americans and Mexican Americans, and defensive of existing social conventions

  • Liberals, who were progressive on civil rights, critical of corporate leadership and the pro-business bias of state government, and in favor of increasing state services to the poor

  • Moderates, who sought to mediate between these two groups, typically by attempting to take middle-ground positions on civil rights and social services while seeking to maintain favor with business interests in the state.

Modern era

After 1952, the party faced a growing challenge to its control of state affairs from the once ineffective Republican party. The 1950s was a decade of factionalism and in-fighting for the Texas Democratic Party, mainly between liberal and conservative Democrats. The Republicans managed to carry Texas for Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States, from 1953 until 1961. He was a five-star general in the United States Army...

 in 1952 and 1956.

Factional infighting in the Democratic Party declined during the 1960s. The Democrats narrowly carried Texas in the 1960 Presidential race with the sitting Senator from Texas, Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon Baines Johnson , often referred to as LBJ, was the 36th President of the United States after his service as the 37th Vice President of the United States...

, running for Vice President. In 1962, John B. Connally, a moderate to conservative Democrat associated with the Johnson wing of the party was elected Governor of Texas. The assassination of John F. Kennedy
Assassination of John F. Kennedy
John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the thirty-fifth President of the United States, was assassinated at 12:30 p.m. Central Standard Time on Friday, November 22, 1963, in Dealey Plaza, Dallas, Texas...

 on November 22, 1963, which traumatized the citizens of Texas, also deeply shook the state Democratic Party since it propelled Johnson into the White House and created the need for a greater degree of accommodation between moderate and liberal Texas Democrats. Party unity was further solidified with Johnson's presidential campaign and his ensuing presidency.

In the 1964 presidential election Johnson carried his home state with ease. In the middle to late 1960s, however, Connally's iron rule of the State Democratic Executive Committee further weakened the liberal forces within the state Democratic party. The results of the 1968 presidential election
United States presidential election, 1968
The United States presidential election of 1968 was the 46th quadrennial United States presidential election. Coming four years after Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson won in a historic landslide, it saw Johnson forced out of the race and Republican Richard Nixon elected...

 in Texas also emphasized the lackadaisical popular support of the Democratic party in Texas, as Hubert Humphrey
Hubert Humphrey
Hubert Horatio Humphrey, Jr. , served under President Lyndon B. Johnson as the 38th Vice President of the United States. Humphrey twice served as a United States Senator from Minnesota, and served as Democratic Majority Whip. He was a founder of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party and...

 barely managed to carry the state.

Liberals in the Texas Democratic Party reached a low point in 1970 with the defeat of their spiritual leader, Ralph Yarborough
Ralph Yarborough
Ralph Webster Yarborough was a Texas Democratic politician who served in the United States Senate and was a leader of the progressive or liberal wing of his party in his many races for statewide office...

, in the Democratic primary by conservative Democrat Lloyd Bentsen
Lloyd Bentsen
Lloyd Millard Bentsen, Jr. was a four-term United States senator from Texas and the Democratic Party nominee for Vice President in 1988 on the Michael Dukakis ticket. He also served in the House of Representatives from 1949 to 1955. In his later political life, he was Chairman of the Senate...

, Jr. Bentsen successfully employed a strategy that conservative Democrats in Texas later used against the increasingly viable Republican Party, namely, developing a base of support among middle to upper income voters in the primaries, then drawing from the traditional Democratic constituencies of lower income people, labor unions, and minorities in the general elections.

The Sharpstown scandal
Sharpstown scandal
The Sharpstown scandal was a stock fraud scandal in the state of Texas in 1971 and 1972 involving the highest levels of the state government. The name came from the involvement of the Sharpstown area of Houston.-Background:...

 was a stock fraud scandal in the state of Texas in the early 1970s involving the highest levels of state government. The name came from the involvement of the Sharpstown area of Houston. The scandal ended the political careers of Governor Preston Smith, Lieutenant Governor Ben Barnes, and Speaker of the House Gus Mutscher, all of whom were closely tied to the old Democratic establishment.

The 1972 gubernatorial election marked the culmination of a gradual transition in Texas Democratic Party politics from an era when elite leaders fighting behind closed doors over a conservative or liberal agenda dominated party politics to an era of moderation and greater toleration for diverse views.

The trend was toward more moderate, establishment-backed Democratic candidates. In the 1972 presidential election the GOP again demonstrated that it could carry Texas in national contests. In fact, from 1976 through 1992 Democratic presidential candidates failed to win Texas. Republicans also proved they could successfully challenge Democrats for control of state politics when Bill Clements won the governor's race in 1978. His victory further sparked the ascendancy of the moderates in the Democratic Party, and in 1982 a new generation of Democrats came to power in Texas.

In the 1970s and 1980s the Democratic Party in Texas also appeared more open to the interests of women and minorities. Groups such as the Mexican American Democrats and Texas Democratic Women gained a greater voice in party affairs. Also, women and members of minorities could now be found in elected positions from the governor down. Nevertheless, the state Republican Party continued to gain strength into the early 1990s, demonstrating its ability to compete not only in gubernatorial and senatorial races but in such down-the-ballot offices as state treasurer, agriculture commissioner, state Supreme Court justice, and railroad commissioner, as well as in various county and local posts. By 1990 Republicans held about a third of the seats in both houses of the state legislature.


In 1976 Boyd Richie beat an incumbent to be elected District Attorney
District attorney
In many jurisdictions in the United States, a District Attorney is an elected or appointed government official who represents the government in the prosecution of criminal offenses. The district attorney is the highest officeholder in the jurisdiction's legal department and supervises a staff of...

 for the 90th Judicial District, which covered three counties. A lawyer in private practice for over 35 years, he also served for three terms as County Attorney
County attorney
A county attorney in many areas of the United States is the chief legal officer for a county or local judicial district. It is usually an elected position...

 for Young County
Young County, Texas
As of the census of 2000, there were 17,943 people, 7,167 households, and 5,081 families residing in the county. The population density was 20 people per square mile . There were 8,504 housing units at an average density of 9 per square mile...

. Boyd has also served as Vice President of the Young County Bar Association and in 2005, was elected a life fellow of the Texas Bar Association.

Prior to being elected Chair, Boyd served two terms on the State Democratic Executive Committee and was Chair of Audit Subcommittee of the Finance Committee. Boyd was appointed by President Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

 to the Selective Service Local Board, a position he held until his election as Young County Attorney.

Boyd Richie was unanimously elected Chairman of the Texas Democratic Party on April 22, 2006. During his first speech as Chair, Boyd laid out his five point plan to revitalize the Texas Democratic Party and expand field staff and grassroots trainings, build a pro-active communications team and incorporate modern technology into the Party’s fundraising, communications and outreach strategies.

Boyd resides in Graham, Texas
Graham, Texas
Graham is a city in north central Texas. It is the county seat of Young County, and as of the 2010 Census had a population of 8,903.-History:...

 with his wife, Democratic National Committee
Democratic National Committee
The Democratic National Committee is the principal organization governing the United States Democratic Party on a day to day basis. While it is responsible for overseeing the process of writing a platform every four years, the DNC's central focus is on campaign and political activity in support...

 Member Betty Richie.


In Boyd Richie's first speech as Chairman he declared to the Texas Democrats that “our job is not to win arguments, but to win elections”. This pragmatism permeates whatever ideological debates occur within the party.

The Texas Democratic Party is of a center-left persuasion, with many members that would describe themselves as conservative or "blue dogs". The diversity of liberals and conservatives within this State Party has resulted in significant internecine struggles. Despite the ideological diversity, using the TDP and the State Convention, state priorities are crafted into a cohesive platform.

Party organization

State laws dictate the formal organization of the Democratic Party in Texas and provide for both temporary and permanent organs. The temporary party organs consist of a series of regularly scheduled (biennial) conventions, beginning at the precinct level and limited to persons who voted in the party primary.

The chief function of the precinct convention is to choose delegates to the county convention or the senatorial district convention held on the third Saturday after the first primary. When a county has more than one senatorial district because of its large population, a separate senatorial district convention is held for each senate district in the county. The delegates who gather at the county and the senatorial district conventions are likewise chiefly concerned with choosing delegates to the state convention held biennially in June. The purpose of the convention is to formally choose the state executive committee, adopt a party platform, and officially certify the party's candidates to be listed on the general election ballot.

In presidential election years the state convention also chooses delegates to the national presidential nominating convention. Until 1984, two state conventions were held in gubernatorial years, one for state affairs in September and one for sending delegates to the national Democratic convention.

Voters in the Democratic primary in each precinct elect for a two-year term of office a chairman or committee person who is formally the party's agent or spokesman in that precinct. A few of these precinct chairmen work diligently for the party and its nominees; some do very little. Normally the precinct chairman will be in charge of the conduct of the primary in his precinct and, perhaps less assuredly, will serve as chairman of the precinct convention and of the delegation to the county convention.

The party's county executive committee consists of the precinct chairmen plus a county chairman who is elected in the primary by the Democratic voters in the county as a whole. The county committee determines policy in such matters as the conduct and financing of the primary, and officially canvasses its results. It also serves as a focal point for party organizing and campaigning efforts.

The State Democratic Executive Committee includes one man and one woman from each of the thirty-one state senatorial districts, plus a chairman and a vice-chairman, formally chosen by the state convention but informally chosen by a caucus of the delegates from each senatorial district. Occasionally a governor and his advisers will decide that a caucus nominee is simply unacceptable and then will substitute his own choices. By law the state committee is responsible for overseeing the party primary and for canvassing the returns. It also undertakes fund-raising and campaign work for the party. Before Republican Bill Clements
Bill Clements
William Perry "Bill" Clements, Jr. was the 42nd and 44th Governor of Texas, serving from 1979 to 1983 and 1987 to 1991. Clements was the first Republican to have served as governor of the U.S. state of Texas since Reconstruction...

' election as governor in 1978, the committee's role was to serve as an adjunct of the governor's office, designed to help the governor as best as it could with political and policy problems. However, after Clements was elected, the party and its machinery developed a new degree of independence from the governor. The 11 organizations with members on the SDEC are:
  • The Texas Democratic County Chairs Association
  • Texas Young Democrats
  • Texas Democratic Women
  • Texas Coalition of Black Democrats
  • Hispanic Caucus
    Congressional Hispanic Caucus
    The Congressional Hispanic Caucus comprises 21 Democratic members of the United States Congress most of whom are of Hispanic origin. The Caucus is dedicated to voicing and advancing, through the legislative process, issues affecting Hispanics and Latinos in the United States and Puerto Rico...

  • Non-Urban/Agricultural Caucus
  • Stonewall Democrats
  • Texas Environmental Democrats
  • Democrats with Disabilities
  • Asian American Democrats of Texas
  • Texas Veterans Organization

The Texas Democratic Party Advisory Committee serves as an advisory group to the SDEC. The Advisory Committee is composed of the officers of the SDEC and groups loyal to the ideals of the Democratic Party.

County-level activities are organized by a County Executive Committee within each county; a County Chair is elected during the Party Primary Election and then joined by Precinct Chairs elected from each election precinct within that county. Senatorial districts are organized through District Executive Committees composed of County and Precinct Chairs located within the senatorial district.

State convention

The Texas Democratic Party is responsible for organizing the biennial State Convention. At the convention, delegates decide upon a variety of issues by public vote: election of the SDEC members and officers, adopt a platform upon which candidates for public office will run, and to nominate the Democratic candidates for Governor and other state public offices. During presidential election years, the convention is also used to select National Delegates and National Committee Members to the national Democratic Party. Presidential Elector candidates are selected as well.

Texas Regulars

The Texas Regulars
Texas Regulars
The Texas Regulars was a group based in Texas which was formed in 1944 to deny Franklin D. Roosevelt a majority of the Electoral College in the 1944 presidential election....

 was an anti-Roosevelt faction of Democrats who split with the Democratic party when it could not convert the party as a whole. By the early 1940s the conservative Democrats of Texas, led by oil and business interests, were outraged at President Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin Delano Roosevelt , also known by his initials, FDR, was the 32nd President of the United States and a central figure in world events during the mid-20th century, leading the United States during a time of worldwide economic crisis and world war...

's New Deal
New Deal
The New Deal was a series of economic programs implemented in the United States between 1933 and 1936. They were passed by the U.S. Congress during the first term of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The programs were Roosevelt's responses to the Great Depression, and focused on what historians call...

. They resented the proliferation of government bureaus and the growth of the labor movement as well as wartime restrictions, particularly the fixed prices of oil and gas. By the presidential election of 1944 they were also agitated by the United States Supreme Court's Smith v. Allwright
Smith v. Allwright
Smith v. Allwright , 321 U.S. 649 , was a very important decision of the United States Supreme Court with regard to voting rights and, by extension, racial desegregation. It overturned the Democratic Party's use of all-white primaries in Texas, and other states where the party used the...

 decision, which struck down the Texas law barring blacks from the Democratic primary.

The anti-New Dealers wanted the state Democratic convention to select independent presidential electors for the Democratic column on the ballot, nominal Democrats who would decline to cast their electoral votes for Roosevelt in an effort to throw the election into the House of Representatives, where the South would have the numerical advantage. These Democrats captured the state convention in Austin on May 23, 1944, and chose electors and national delegates who would vote for Roosevelt only if the two-thirds rule, which required a two-thirds percentage of delegates for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination, were restored. This would have strengthened the position of the South at the convention, but it had no chance of adoption at the national Democratic convention. Some of the anti-New Dealers, led by business magnate Eugene B. Germany, attempted to gain control over federal patronage in Texas by offering their electoral votes to the Democrats. The anti-Roosevelt electors, however, were replaced with New Deal Democrats at the second Texas state convention in September 1944.

The anti-Roosevelt faction then established the Texas Regulars, hoping to divert enough Democratic votes to prevent Roosevelt from defeating Republican Thomas E. Dewey.

The Regulars opposed the New Deal and the labor unions and called for the restoration of states' rights
States' rights
States' rights in U.S. politics refers to political powers reserved for the U.S. state governments rather than the federal government. It is often considered a loaded term because of its use in opposition to federally mandated racial desegregation...

 and white supremacy. Well-financed fund-raising groups sprang up, including the Committee for Constitutional Government and O'Daniel's Common Citizens Radio Committee. Although they were presented as educational organizations, these groups appeared to congressional investigators to violate the Corrupt Practices Act.

The Regulars, with no candidate, polled about 12 percent of the vote, while Roosevelt received about 72 percent. Regular and Republican votes came mainly from white middle and upper class precincts in the major cities.

The Regulars disbanded officially in the spring of 1945. Their leadership formed the nucleus of the 1948 Dixiecrat
The States' Rights Democratic Party was a short-lived segregationist political party in the United States in 1948...

 movement's leadership, disturbed by President Harry S. Truman
Harry S. Truman
Harry S. Truman was the 33rd President of the United States . As President Franklin D. Roosevelt's third vice president and the 34th Vice President of the United States , he succeeded to the presidency on April 12, 1945, when President Roosevelt died less than three months after beginning his...

's civil-rights program and even more by Truman's position that the oil lands off the Texas coast were federal rather than state property. Once more liberal Democrats lost out in the first state convention, bounced back with Governor Beauford H. Jester
Beauford H. Jester
Beauford Halbert Jester was a U.S. political figure, the son of George Taylor Jester and his second wife, Frances Gordon Jester. He served as the 36th Governor of Texas from 1947 until 1949, when he died of a heart attack...

's help in the second one, and prompted the Dixiecrats to bolt the party in support of South Carolina Governor Strom Thurmond
Strom Thurmond
James Strom Thurmond was an American politician who served as a United States Senator. He also ran for the Presidency of the United States in 1948 as the segregationist States Rights Democratic Party candidate, receiving 2.4% of the popular vote and 39 electoral votes...

 for the presidency. Financed largely by wealthy oilmen, the Dixiecrats finished third in Texas behind the Democrats and Republicans. The Texas Regular Dixiecratic leaders became Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States, from 1953 until 1961. He was a five-star general in the United States Army...

 Democrats in the 1950s and Republicans in the 1960s and 1970s.

Texas Eleven

In 2003, a group referred to as the Texas Eleven
Texas Eleven
The Texas Eleven were a group of Texas Senate Democrats who fled Texas for Albuquerque, New Mexico for 46 days in 2003 aimed at preventing the passage of controversial redistricting legislation that was intended to benefit Texas Republicans. A group of Texas House representatives, dubbed the Killer...

 fled Texas to New Mexico
New Mexico
New Mexico is a state located in the southwest and western regions of the United States. New Mexico is also usually considered one of the Mountain States. With a population density of 16 per square mile, New Mexico is the sixth-most sparsely inhabited U.S...

 and Oklahoma
Oklahoma is a state located in the South Central region of the United States of America. With an estimated 3,751,351 residents as of the 2010 census and a land area of 68,667 square miles , Oklahoma is the 28th most populous and 20th-largest state...

, for 46 days, to prevent the passage of controversial redistricting legislation. Republicans had been pushing redistricting because Texas had, at the time, been sending 17 Democrats and 15 Republicans to Congress, while the state's voters had leaned Republican in recent years.

U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay
Tom DeLay
Thomas Dale "Tom" DeLay is a former member of the United States House of Representatives, representing Texas's 22nd congressional district from 1984 until 2006. He was Republican Party House Majority Leader from 2003 to 2005, when he resigned because of criminal money laundering charges in...

, then a powerful figure in Texas politics, advocated arresting the Texas Eleven, telling reporters that he supported using FBI agents or U.S. Marshals to arrest the runaway Democrats and bring them back to Austin, asserting that redistricting is a matter of federal concern.

After successfully preventing a quorum for an entire 30-day special session of the legislature, Senator John Whitmire left New Mexico and returned to Texas. The remaining ten Senate Democrats (often referred to as the "Texas Eleven Minus One": following Whitmire's departure), stayed in Albuquerque for several more days but returned to Austin and the Texas Senate after Whitmire's presence on the Senate floor created the quorum needed for the Senate to meet.

Texas Two-Step

At the 2010 Texas Democratic convention the Democrats voted to keep their controversial Two-Step
Two-step or Two Step may refer to:In dance*Two-step , a dance move used in a wide range of dancing genres*Country-western two-step, also known as the Texas Two-step*Nightclub Two Step, also known as the California Two-step...

 system. Most other states use either a primary or a caucus in order to determine presidential nominees. Texas uses a hybrid of both a caucus
A caucus is a meeting of supporters or members of a political party or movement, especially in the United States and Canada. As the use of the term has been expanded the exact definition has come to vary among political cultures.-Origin of the term:...

 and a primary
The word Primary when used alone may refer to any of the following:* Primary , the larger of two co-orbiting bodies* Primary is used for the name of the primary mirror in a telescope.* Primary , from Australia...

. The two-step system assigns delegates based on both the percentage of primary votes that candidates receive and on the number of supporters who turn out for precinct caucuses after the polls close.

The fervor of the 2008 election brought more than 2.8 million Democrats to the polls for the primary vote. Hours later, thousands of new Democrats showed up for the first time to Democratic caucuses, overwhelming party officials and wreaking havoc on the party’s primary election voting process. It also produced an unexpected outcome: Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, but Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

’s well-organized campaign drew more delegates because of the caucus results. Almost immediately, many in the Democratic Party began calling to change the system and even to abolish the caucus altogether, calling it discriminatory and undemocratic.

Candidate recruitment and training

The TDP is the primary organization responsible for increasing the representation of its ideological base in state, district, county, and city government. The permanent staff of the TDP provides training and resources for Democratic candidates within the state, particularly training on grassroots organization and fundraising.


The TDP monitors political discourse in the state and speaks on behalf of its members. The party employs a full-time Communications Director who is responsible for the Party’s communications strategy, which includes speaking with established state and national media. Press releases regarding current issues are often released through the TDP’s permanent staff.

The party also maintains a website with updates and policy briefs on issues pertinent to its ideological base. Its online presence also includes Facebook and Twitter accounts, each of which has thousands of followers and is used to update followers on the most recent events affecting the party. The TDP also employs several e-mail groups that send periodic updates to hundreds of thousands of followers.


A major function of the Texas Democratic Party is to raise funds to maintain the electoral infrastructure within its organization. Funds are used to provide for a permanent staff, publish communication and election material, provide training to candidates, and to pay for legal services. In the 2008 elections, almost 90% of the party's campaign contributions came from personal injury trial lawyers.

Current elected officials

The Texas Democratic Party holds nine of the state's 32 U.S. House seats, 12 of the state’s 31 Texas Senate seats, and 49 of the state’s 150 Texas House of Representatives seats.

U.S. House of Representatives

The following members of the U.S. House of Representatives are Democrats:
  • Al Green
    Al Green (politician)
    Alexander N. "Al" Green is the U.S. Representative from Texas' 9th congressional district . The district includes most of southwestern Houston, including most of that city's share of Fort Bend County. It also includes most of Missouri City.-Early life and career:Green was born in New Orleans,...

    , 9th District
    Texas's 9th congressional district

  • Rubén Hinojosa
    Rubén Hinojosa
    Rubén E. Hinojosa is the U.S. House of Representative for , serving since 1997. He is a member of the Democratic Party. The district stretches from the Rio Grande Valley to historic Goliad County and the Coastal Bend region...

    , 15th District
    Texas's 15th congressional district
    Texas District 15 of the United States House of Representatives is a Congressional district that serves a thin section of the far south of the state of Texas...

  • Silvestre Reyes
    Silvestre Reyes
    Silvestre "Silver" Reyes is the U.S. Representative for , serving since 1997, and the Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the primary Committee in the U.S...

    , 16th District
    Texas's 16th congressional district
    Texas District 16 of the United States House of Representatives is a Congressional district that serves El Paso and the surrounding area in the state of Texas. The current Representative from District 16 is Silvestre Reyes....

  • Sheila Jackson Lee
    Sheila Jackson Lee
    Sheila Jackson Lee is the U.S. Representative for , serving since 1995. The district includes most of inner-city Houston. She is a member of the Democratic Party.-Early life and education:...

    , 18th District
    Texas's 18th congressional district
    Texas District 18 of the United States House of Representatives is a Congressional district that serves much of inner city Houston and the surrounding area...

  • Charlie Gonzalez
    Charlie Gonzalez
    Charles A. "Charlie" Gonzalez , is a Democratic politician from Texas. He has represented Texas's 20th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1999. The district includes more than half of San Antonio....

    , 20th District
    Texas's 20th congressional district

  • Lloyd Doggett
    Lloyd Doggett
    Lloyd Alton Doggett II is the U.S. Representative for , serving since 2005. He previously represented from 1995 to 2005. He is a member of the Democratic Party...

    , 25th District
    Texas's 25th congressional district
    -2006 election:On June 28, 2006, the U.S. Supreme Court declared that the Texas legislature's 2003 redistricting plan violated the Voting Rights Act in the case of District 23...

  • Henry Cuellar
    Henry Cuellar
    Henry Roberto Cuellar is the U.S Representative for , serving since 2005. He is a member of the Democratic Party. The district extends from the Rio Grande to the suburbs of San Antonio, including Guadalupe County and nearby Wilson County.Outside of politics, he has served as a professor at the...

    , 28th District
    Texas's 28th congressional district
    -2006 election:On June 28, 2006, the U.S. Supreme Court declared that the Texas legislature's redistricting plan violated the Voting Rights Act in the case of District 23. As a result, on August 4, 2006, a 3 judge panel announced replacement district boundaries for 2006 election for the 23rd...

  • Gene Green
    Gene Green
    Raymond Eugene "Gene" Green is the U.S. Representative for , serving since 1993. He is a member of the Democratic Party...

    , 29th District
    Texas's 29th congressional district

  • Eddie Bernice Johnson
    Eddie Bernice Johnson
    Eddie Bernice Johnson is a politician from the state of Texas, currently representing the state's in the United States House of Representatives. She is the first registered nurse elected to the US Congress....

    , 30th District
    Texas's 30th congressional district
    Texas District 30 of the United States House of Representatives is a Congressional district that serves much of the city of Dallas and other parts of Dallas County . The current Representative from District 30 is Democrat Eddie Bernice Johnson, who has represented the district since its creation in...

Texas Senate

The following Democrats represent their districts in the Texas Senate
Texas Senate
The Texas Senate is the upper house of the Texas Legislature. There are 31 members of the Senate, representing 31 single-member districts across the state with populations of approximately 672,000 per constituency. There are no term limits, and each term is four years long. The Senate meets at the...

  • Wendy Davis
    Wendy Davis (politician)
    Wendy Davis is a state senator representing District 10 in the Texas Senate.-Election history:Davis ran unopposed for city council in 2001 and 2005 and for senator in the 2008 Democratic primary.-2008 election:-2007:-2003:-1999:...

    , District 10
    Texas Senate, District 10
    District 10 of the Texas Senate is a senatorial district that currently serves a portion of Tarrant county in the U.S. state of Texas. The current Senator from District 10 is Wendy Davis.-2008:-2004:-2002:-2000:...

  • Rodney Ellis
    Rodney Ellis
    Rodney Glenn Ellis is an African-American politician from the state of Texas. He has served on the Texas State Senate since 1990, representing Texas Senate District 13.Senator Rodney Ellis was elected to the Texas Senate in 1990...

    , District 13
    Texas Senate, District 13
    District 13 of the Texas Senate is a senatorial district that currently serves portions of Fort Bend and Harris counties in the U.S. state of Texas. The current Senator from District 13 is Rodney Ellis.-2006:-2002:-1998:-1994:...

  • Mario Gallegos, Jr.
    Mario Gallegos, Jr.
    Mario Valentin Gallegos, Jr. is a Democratic politician in the U.S. state of Texas. He is the current senator from District 6 in the Texas Senate, which serves a portion of Harris County...

    , District 6
    Texas Senate, District 6
    District 6 of the Texas Senate is a senatorial district that serves a portion of Harris county in the U.S. state of Texas. The current Senator from District 6 is Mario Gallegos, Jr. who has served since 1995.-2004:-2002:-1998:...

  • Juan Hinojosa
    Juan Hinojosa
    Juan Jesus “Chuy” Hinojosa is a Democratic member of the Texas Senate representing the 20th District .-Biographical Information:...

    , District 20
    Texas Senate, District 20
    District 20 of the Texas Senate is a senatorial district that currently serves all of Brooks, Jim Wells and Nueces counties and a portion of Hidalgo county in the U.S. state of Texas. The current Senator from District 20 is Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa.-2004:...

  • Eddie Lucio, Jr.
    Eddie Lucio, Jr.
    Eduardo Andres “Eddie” Lucio, Jr. is a Democratic member of the Texas Senate representing the 27th District since 1991.Lucio is the father of Eddie Lucio, III who currently serves in the Texas House of Representatives....

    , District 27
    Texas Senate, District 27
    District 27 of the Texas Senate is a senatorial district that currently serves all of Cameron, Kenedy, Kleberg and Willacy counties and a portion of Hidalgo county in the U.S. state of Texas. The current Senator from District 27 is Eddie Lucio, Jr.....

  • Jose Rodriguez, District 29
    Texas Senate, District 29
    District 29 of the Texas Senate is a senatorial district that currently serves a portion of El Paso county in the U.S. state of Texas. The current Senator from District 29 is Eliot Shapleigh.-2006:-2002:-2000:-1996:...

  • Carlos Uresti
    Carlos Uresti
    Carlos Ismael "Charlie" Uresti is a prominent San Antonio attorney practicing throughout the State of Texas in the areas of Family Law, Civil Litigation, Criminal Litigation, Personal Injury and Wrongful Death. As a Democrat, he is a member of the Texas State Senate representing Senate District 19...

    , District 19
    Texas Senate, District 19
    District 19 of the Texas Senate is a senatorial district that currently serves all of Bandera, Brewster, Crockett, Culberson, Edwards, Hudspeth, Jeff Davis, Kinney, Loving, Maverick, Medina, Pecos, Presidio, Real, Reeves, Sutton, Terrell, Uvalde, Val Verde, Ward and Winkler counties, and portions...

  • Leticia R. Van de Putte
    Leticia R. Van de Putte
    Leticia R. San Miguel Van de Putteis a Democratic member of the Texas Senate representing the 26th District. She was previously a member of the Texas House of Representatives.-Family:...

    , District 26
    Texas Senate, District 26
    District 26 of the Texas Senate is a senatorial district that currently serves a portion of Bexar county in the U.S. state of Texas. The current Senator from District 26 is Leticia R. Van de Putte.-2004:-2002:-2000:...

  • Kirk Watson
    Kirk Watson
    Kirk Watson is a Texas attorney and Democratic politician from Austin. He served as Austin mayor from 1997 to 2001. He ran unsuccessfully for Texas Attorney General in the 2002 election, defeated by the Republican Greg Abbott...

    , District 14
    Texas Senate, District 14
    District 14 of the Texas Senate is a senatorial district that currently serves a portion of Travis county in the U.S. state of Texas. The current Senator from District 14 is Kirk Watson.-2006:-2002:-2000:-1996:-1994:...

  • Royce West
    Royce West
    Royce Barry West is a Democratic African American member of the Texas Senate representing the Dallas-based 23rd District.-2004:-2002:-References:Royce Barry West...

    , District 23
    Texas Senate, District 23
    District 23 of the Texas Senate is a senatorial district that currently serves a portion of Dallas county in the U.S. state of Texas. The current Senator from District 23 is Royce West.-2004:-2002:-1998:-1994:-1992:...

  • John Whitmire
    John Whitmire
    John Harris Whitmire is the longest-serving of current members of the Texas State Senate representing District 15, which includes much of northern Houston, since 1983. Previously he was a member of the Texas House of Representatives from 1973 through 1982...

    , District 15
    Texas Senate, District 15
    District 15 of the Texas Senate is a senatorial district that currently serves a portion of Harris county in the U.S. state of Texas. The current Senator from District 15 is John Whitmire.-2006:-2002:-2000:-1996:...

  • Judith Zaffirini
    Judith Zaffirini
    Judith Zaffirini is a Democratic member of the Texas State Senate representing the 21st District, which includes her home city of Laredo. On January 9, 2007, Zaffirini became the second in seniority in the 31-member Texas Senate, where she has served since 1987...

    , District 21
    Texas Senate, District 21
    District 21 of the Texas Senate is a senatorial district that currently serves all of Atascosa, Bee, Dimmit, Duval, Frio, Jim Hogg, Karnes, La Salle, Live Oak, McMullen, San Patricio, Starr, Webb, Wilson, Zapata, and Zavala counties and a portion of Bexar county in the U.S. state of Texas...

Texas House of Representatives

The following Democrats represent their districts in the Texas House of Representatives
Texas House of Representatives
The Texas House of Representatives is the lower house of the Texas Legislature. The House is composed of 150 members elected from single-member districts across the state. The average district has about 150,000 people. Representatives are elected to two-year terms with no term limits...

  • Alma Allen, District 131
  • Roberto R. Alonzo
    Roberto R. Alonzo
    Roberto R. Alonzo is a Democratic member of the Texas House of Representatives, representing the 104th District since 1993.-External links:* official TX House website* profile*Follow the Money - Roberto R. Alonzo** campaign contributions...

    , District 104
  • Carol Alvarado, District 145
  • Rafael Anchia
    Rafael Anchia
    Rafael Anchía is a Democratic member of the Texas House of Representatives, representing the Dallas-based 103rd District since 2004. He had previously served on the board of the Dallas Independent School District. He declined to run for Mayor of Dallas in 2007.Anchia lived in Miami as a child,...

    , District 103
  • Lon Burnam
    Lon Burnam
    Lon Maxwell Burnam is the Texas state representative for Texas House district 90, which encompasses downtown Fort Worth and surrounding areas. Burnam, a Democrat, serves as the executive director of the Dallas Peace Center....

    , District 90
  • Joaquin Castro
    Joaquín Castro
    Joaquín Castro is an American politician from San Antonio, Texas. Castro is a representative in the Texas Legislature representing District 125. He currently serves as Vice-Chair of the Higher Education Committee and is a member of the Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence Committee...

    , District 125
  • Garnet Coleman
    Garnet Coleman
    Garnet F. Coleman is a U.S. politician and a member of the Texas House of Representatives for District 147 since 1991. He is the son of John B. Coleman, M.D...

    , District 147
  • Yvonne Davis
    Yvonne Davis
    Yvonne Davis is a Democratic member of the Texas House of Representatives, representing the 111th District since 1992.-External links:* official TX House website* profile*Follow the Money - Yvonne Davis** campaign contributions...

    , District 111
  • Joe Deshotel, District 22
  • Dawnna Dukes, District 46
  • Harold Dutton, District 142
  • Craig Eiland
    Craig Eiland
    Allen Craig Eiland is a Democratic member and former Speaker pro Tempore of the Texas House of Representatives. Eiland represents Texas House district 23, which includes Galveston, Jamaica Beach, Texas City and the Bolivar Peninsula in Galveston County and all of Chambers County.Prior to...

    , District 23
  • Joe Farias, District 118
  • Jessica Farrar, District 148
  • Pete Gallego
    Pete Gallego
    Pete P. Gallego is a Democratic member of the Texas House of Representatives, representing the 74th District since his election in 1990.He serves as on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Latino Elected Officials and is a former Chairman of the Mexican American Legislative Caucus...

    , District 74
  • Helen Giddings, District 109
  • Veronica Gonzales, District 41
  • Naomi Gonzalez
    Naomi Gonzalez
    Naomi R. Gonzalez is an attorney and politician from El Paso, Texas. She is a Democratic member of the Texas House of Representatives, where she represents the 76th district in El Paso County.-Early life and career:...

    , District 76
  • Ryan Guillen, District 31
  • Roland Gutierrez, District 119
  • Ana Hernandez Luna, District 143
  • Scott Hochberg, District 137
  • Donna Howard, District 48
  • Eric Johnson, District 100
  • Tracy O. King, District 80
  • Jose Manuel Lozano, District 80
  • Eddie Lucio III
    Eddie Lucio III
    Eddie Lucio III is a Democratic member of the Texas House of Representatives, representing the 38th District since 2007.Representative Eddie Lucio III was born and raised in the city of Brownsville, Texas. He attended Texas Tech University on an athletic scholarship. He later received a B.B.A. from...

    , District 38
  • Barbara Mallory Caraway, District 110
  • Marisa Marquez, District 77
  • Armando “Mando” Martinez, District 39
  • Trey Martinez Fischer, District 116
  • Ruth Jones McClendon, District 120
  • Jose Menendez, District 124
  • Borris Miles
    Borris Miles
    Borris L. Miles is an insurance broker who served as a member of the Texas House of Representatives, representing District 146 in the Eightieth Texas Legislature. He is currently serving his second term in the 82nd Legislature....

    , District 146
  • Sergio Munzo, Jr., District 36
  • Elliott Naishtat, District 49
  • Rene Oliveira, District 37
  • Joe Pickett, District 79
  • Chente Quintanilla, District 75
  • Richard Pena Raymond
    Richard Raymond (Texas politician)
    Richard Peña Raymond is a Democratic member of the Texas House of Representatives. He currently represents District 42, which encompasses western Webb County and includes most of the city of Laredo. He is Vice-Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations and is also a member of the Border...

    , District 42
  • Ron Reynolds, District 27
  • Eddie Rodriguez, District 51
  • Mark Strama
    Mark Strama
    Thomas Mark Strama is a Democratic member of the Texas House of Representatives, representing the 50th District since his election in 2004...

    , District 50
  • Senfronia Thompson
    Senfronia Thompson
    Senfronia Calpernia Thompson is a well-known civil rights leader and Democratic member of the Texas House of Representatives, representing the 141st District since 1972....

    , District 141
  • Sylvester Turner, District 139
  • Marc Veasey, District 95
  • Mike Villarreal, District 123
  • Hubert Vo
    Hubert Vo
    Hubert Vo is a member of the Texas House of Representatives from District 149. He is the first and only Vietnamese American to be elected to the Texas legislature.-Personal life:...

    , District 149
  • Armando Walle, District 140

State Board of Education

The following members of the State Board of Education are Democrats; they help oversee the Texas Education Agency
Texas Education Agency
The Texas Education Agency is a branch of the state government of Texas in the United States responsible for public education. The agency is headquartered in the William B...

  • Rene Nunez, District 1
  • Mary Helen Berlanga, District 2
  • Rick Agosto, District 3
  • Lawrence A. Allen, Jr., District 4
  • Mavis B. Knight, District 13

External links

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