Texas Moves Primary From March To April

Democrats and Republicans have reached a tentative deal to hold the Texas Election Primary in April instead of March. The move comes as a result of the litigation over the state's redrawn districts.

Texas redistricting is still up in the air, which means anyone who wants to run for office might not know which district they’re going to be in just yet.

And if you don’t know which district you’ll be in, you can’t file for election…unless the state agrees to change the filing deadline and change the primary date.

Harris County Democratic Party Chair Gerry Birnberg says there had been talks of doing a split primary — one for the presidential nomination in March and another for everyone else in April.

“In Harris County we have each party — the cost for each party’s primary is $800,000 — $1.6 million to run a primary in Harris County. If you have to run two of them, that’s a wasted million and a half bucks just in Harris County. The same thing is true in Dallas and Travis and Tarrant and Bexar County — all over the state. It would have cost the taxpayers of the state of Texas, and it still could, millions and millions of dollars.”

But Democrats and Republicans reached an agreement to simply push the primary back to April 3.

Chris Elam is with the Republican Party of Texas. He says as long as the U.S. Supreme Court makes a timely decision on redistricting, this plan allows the state to hold a unified primary without rushing or causing unnecessary delays.

“We feel that the deadline for the March primary was going to be unfeasible. The nearest date that we felt that we could pull this off — and take care of not only the candidates and elected officials who are filing for the ballot, but most importantly we wanted to make sure that Texas voters knew that they could have this opportunity available to them, as well as making it easier on our election administrators and the taxpayers of Texas.”

Critics of the plan complain an April primary will put Texas well behind most of the pack for the presidential primaries.


Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson


Laurie is a native Houstonian who started her career at Houston Public Media in 2002. Laurie has covered a wide variety of topics for HPM, including the crash of the Space Shuttle Columbia, Hurricanes Katrina and Ike, and numerous elections. She is a frequent contributor to NPR and has been...

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