Here are 34 races to watch in the Texas midterms

The hotly contested U.S. Senate race between Republican Ted Cruz and Democrat Beto O’Rourke has drawn the lion’s share of attention in Texas this election cycle. But plenty of races for Congress and the Texas Legislature are drawing strong interest as Election Day approaches. In some cases, Democrats are posing their strongest challenge in years.

Below are snapshots of some of the most interesting races on the ballot. Early voting for the Nov. 6 election starts Oct. 22 and ends on Nov. 2. To see all the statewide and legislative races on the ballot, click here.

Governor

D Lupe Valdez

Age

70

Background

Former Dallas County sheriff

Money raised in 2017-18

$743,756 (includes $29,500 in loans)

L Mark Tippetts

Age

59

Background

International legal and business consultant

Money raised in 2017-18

$14,944

R Greg Abbott Incumbent

Age

60

Background

Former Texas attorney general and Texas Supreme Court justice

Money raised in 2017-18

$32,688,307

Our take on the race

Typically a blockbuster attraction, the governor’s race this year has been a snoozer, unfolding in the shadow of the nationally watched U.S. Senate race. Valdez is running as a scrappy champion of the working class, while Abbott is mostly ignoring her as he boasts of how the quality of life in Texas has progressed under his leadership. As Election Day gets closer, watch for how Abbott uses his massive political operation to help down-ballot candidates who are in much more competitive races than he is.

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U.S. Senate

D Beto O'Rourke

Age

46

Background

U.S. representative from El Paso

Money raised in 2017-18

$23,647,799

L Neal Dikeman

Age

42

Background

Venture capitalist

Money raised in 2017-18

$13,546

R Ted Cruz Incumbent

Age

47

Background

Former Texas solicitor general

Money raised in 2017-18

$13,207,771

Our take on the race

This is by far the most competitive statewide race this cycle — and the most closely watched beyond Texas. O’Rourke is running a massively funded campaign against Cruz, traveling the state relentlessly in hopes of becoming the first Democrat to win statewide office in Texas in over two decades. Cruz, meanwhile, is attacking O’Rourke as too liberal for Texas while warning the GOP base not to underestimate the intense enthusiasm on the other side in November.

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Lieutenant Governor

D Michael Collier

Age

57

Background

Accountant; 2014 candidate for comptroller

Money raised in 2017-18

$921,668 (includes $243,000 in loans)

L Kerry McKennon

Age

49

Background

Works in the restaurant industry; previously ran for seats in state house and senate

Money raised in 2017-18

$97,044 (includes $2,150 in loans)

R Dan Patrick Incumbent

Age

68

Background

Former state senator and conservative talk radio host

Money raised in 2017-18

$12,488,366

Our take on the race

In deep-red Texas, Patrick is the favorite to keep his seat. To win, Collier is relying heavily on Democratic enthusiasm and hoping to siphon off Republican support from Patrick, who drew 76 percent of the vote in March against a more moderate primary challenger. Collier is particularly focused on courting working and retired teachers.

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Attorney General

D Justin Nelson

Age

43

Background

Lawyer

Money raised in 2017-18

$1,542,539 (includes $500,000 in loans from the candidate)

L Michael Ray Harris

Age

Did not respond

Background

Did not respond

Money raised in 2017-18

$0

R Ken Paxton Incumbent

Age

55

Background

Former state senator and state representative from McKinney

Money raised in 2017-18

$4,314,721

Our take on the race

Most of Paxton’s first term has been clouded by his indictment three years ago in a securities fraud case. Nelson has seized on it to portray the race as “integrity vs. indictment.” Despite those legal troubles, Paxton has still managed to emerge as one of President Donald Trump’s closest allies among attorneys general, going to bat for a slew of Trump policies. More recently, Paxton has led the charge to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, giving Nelson the perfect foil on an issue where Democrats believe they have the upper hand this cycle: health care.

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Agriculture Commissioner

D Kim Olson

Age

60

Background

Farmer, beekeeper and master gardener; retired Air Force colonel

Money raised in 2017-18

$255,666 (includes $800 in loans from the candidate)

L Richard Carpenter

Age

Did not respond

Background

Did not respond

Money raised in 2017-18

$25

R Sid Miller Incumbent

Age

63

Background

Former state representative; prize-winning rodeo cowboy who breeds and trains American Quarter Horses

Money raised in 2017-18

$1,173,939 (includes $700,000 in loans)

Our take on the race

Miller has received several high-profile endorsements, but his first term has been riddled with controversies. Olson served in the Air Force for 25 years and was one of the military branch's first female pilots. But the circumstances of her retirement from the military — she was accused by the Pentagon of steering government contracts to a private security firm — has become a campaign issue. While every statewide Democrat faces an uphill battle this year, experts from both parties say that Olson stands as good a chance as any of managing an upset thanks to Miller's many missteps, which have incited the ire of even staunchly conservative groups that otherwise share his political beliefs.

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Congressional District 2

D Todd Litton

Age

48

Background

Former executive director of Citizens Schools Texas, an education nonprofit; former chairman of Houston Tower Commission, city board which oversees permitting of towers

Money raised in 2017-18

$843,045

L Patrick Gunnels

Age

42

Background

Owner of a home remodeling company; former Marine

Money raised in 2017-18

Did not report

R Dan Crenshaw

Age

34

Background

Retired Navy SEAL

Money raised in 2017-18

$982,455

I Scott Cubbler

Age

53

Background

Did not respond

Money raised in 2017-18

Did not report

Our take on the race

The race to succeed retiring U.S. Rep. Ted Poe, R-Houston, has recently drawn the attention of national Democrats, with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee adding TX-02 to its “Red to Blue” program. Crenshaw, a decorated veteran and Harvard Law alum, has the endorsement of the prestigious With Honor PAC, which supports veterans running for office across the country, and U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Arkansas. The Houston-area seat hasn’t had a competitive race since Poe first won it in 2004, but Litton has managed to elevate his profile in part through his strong fundraising. Donald Trump won the seat by nine points in 2016, 18 points less than Republican Mitt Romney in 2012.

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Congressional District 6

D Jana Lynne Sanchez

Age

54

Background

Journalist and communications consultant

Money raised in 2017-18

$358,960

L Jason Allen Harber

Age

Did not respond

Background

Did not respond

Money raised in 2017-18

Did not report

R Ron Wright

Age

65

Background

Tarrant County Tax-assessor Collector

Money raised in 2017-18

$313,175

Our take on the race

This seat has been held since 1985 by retiring Republican Joe Barton, who rarely struggled to get re-elected. Wright coasted through his primary with strong name identification as the current Tarrant County tax assessor-collector and a former member of the Arlington City Council. However, his fundraising was weak compared to Sanchez, who outraised him in aggregate per the most recent fundraising reports. Her organization could put this seat in play — but it will be a very steep climb.

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Congressional District 7

D Lizzie Pannill Fletcher

Age

43

Background

Attorney

Money raised in 2017-18

$2,321,869

R John Culberson Incumbent

Age

62

Background

Former member of Texas House, 1987-1999; former civil defense attorney

Money raised in 2017-18

$2,024,361

Our take on the race

The region that formed the foundation of the Bush family’s political power is now up for grabs. Suburban women turned hard against Donald Trump here in 2016, and Democrats are seizing the opportunity. Culberson was rusty off the mark but has modernized his organization. He also holds a key seat on the House Appropriations Committee, a crucial post for a congressman with a district still recovering from Hurricane Harvey. Even so, Fletcher, who is running hard on her Houston roots, had the financial advantage in the latest fundraising reports and is running a robust ground operation.

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Congressional District 10

D Mike Siegel

Age

40

Background

Former civil rights attorney and assistant Austin city attorney.

Money raised in 2017-18

$177,680 (includes $5,000 in loans from the candidate)

L Mike Ryan

Age

"Mid-50s"

Background

Information technology director at an energy company

Money raised in 2017-18

Did not report

R Michael McCaul Incumbent

Age

56

Background

Former federal prosecutor

Money raised in 2017-18

$1,385,579

Our take on the race

McCaul hasn’t faced a serious general election threat since he was first elected in 2004. Siegel is counting in part on excitement for Democrat Beto O’Rourke’s bid to unseat U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz to help him in a historically red seat that stretches from Austin to Houston. But McCaul, a powerful chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, is sitting on piles of money. Siegel is running an unabashedly liberal campaign. He supports the Medicare-for-all health care plan of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and told The Texas Tribune he wouldn’t rule out supporting U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi for House Speaker if Democrats win control of the House.

Congressional District 21

D Joseph Kopser

Age

47

Background

Tech entrepreneur; Army veteran

Money raised in 2017-18

$1,581,009 (includes $25,000 in loans from the candidate)

L Lee Santos

Age

52

Background

Former radio show personality, car dealer and repair shop owner

Money raised in 2017-18

$0

R Chip Roy

Age

46

Background

Former first assistant attorney general of Texas; former chief of staff to U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz

Money raised in 2017-18

$936,939

Our take on the race

Kopser and Roy are vying to replace retiring U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith, R-San Antonio, in a race that national Democrats see as winnable but not their top priority in Texas. With his business and military background, Kopser can appeal to crossover voters — an advantage Roy is working to undermine, arguing his opponent is anything but the moderate he presents himself as.

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Congressional District 22

D Sri Preston Kulkarni

Age

39 (DOB 10/4/78)

Background

Former U.S. Foreign Service Officer

Money raised in 2017-18

$450,781 (includes $38,000 in loans from the candidate)

L John McElligott

Age

39

Background

Plant operator at Marathon Petroleum Corporation

Money raised in 2017-18

Did not report

R Pete Olson Incumbent

Age

55

Background

Former naval aviator; former chief of staff for U.S. Sen. John Cornyn

Money raised in 2017-18

$1,061,637

I Sara Kellen Sweny

Age

30

Background

Registrar for city of Houston

Money raised in 2017-18

$4,826

Our take on the race

Olson won re-election by 19 points in 2016, while Donald Trump won the district by eight. But the district is rapidly diversifying, particularly in Fort Bend County, where more than half the district’s residents live and where Hillary Clinton won in 2016. Kulkarni’s campaign is focusing much of its efforts on boosting turnout in these low-participation communities in order to create a viable path to beating Olson.

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Congressional District 23

D Gina Ortiz Jones

Age

37

Background

Former Air Force intelligence officer

Money raised in 2017-18

$2,286,965

L Ruben Corvalan

Age

65

Background

Owner of Ampsafe LLC

Money raised in 2017-18

$0

R Will Hurd Incumbent

Age

41

Background

Former CIA agent

Money raised in 2017-18

$3,057,983

Our take on the race

The 23rd District is the only true swing district in Texas, and the race for it is always an expensive, action-packed affair. Even as Hillary Clinton carried the district in 2016, Hurd was able to hold on to it, prevailing in a grudge match against Democratic predecessor Pete Gallego. Now, Hurd faces Jones, who is intent on undercutting his independent image in the age of President Donald Trump.

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Congressional District 25

D Julie Oliver

Age

46

Background

Division Controller at St. David’s Healthcare

Money raised in 2017-18

$202,190 (includes $3,125 in loans from the candidate)

L Desarae Lindsey

Age

40

Background

Operations manager at Champaign Tech Services

Money raised in 2017-18

Did not report

R Roger Williams Incumbent

Age

69

Background

Owner of a car dealership in Weatherford

Money raised in 2017-18

$1,119,040

Our take on the race

Williams has cruised to re-election since first winning his seat in 2012. But five Democrats competed in this year’s primaries to take him on with the hope that the district, which stretches from Austin almost to Fort Worth, may be susceptible to a possible “blue wave.” Oliver is running a very liberal campaign — she's come out in support of Medicare for all and a ban on the sale of assault weapons — which has drawn the endorsement of U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.

Congressional District 31

D MJ Hegar

Age

42

Background

Air Force veteran; author of memoir “Shoot Like a Girl: One Woman's Dramatic Fight in Afghanistan and on the Home Front”

Money raised in 2017-18

$1,618,359

L Jason Hope

Age

Did not respond

Background

Did not respond

Money raised in 2017-18

Did not report

R John Carter Incumbent

Age

76

Background

Former Williamson County District Judge

Money raised in 2017-18

$1,015,416

Our take on the race

This is historically a deeply conservative region that surrounds the Austin suburbs and reaches north to Fort Hood. Carter has never faced a well-organized Democratic challenger, so he has spent the last several months getting his political operation up and running. Meanwhile, Hegar, a decorated veteran from her service in Afghanistan as a helicopter rescue pilot, has proven to be a fundraising powerhouse and is putting that money toward a heavy rotation of television advertising in hopes of changing the makeup of the electorate.

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Congressional District 32

D Colin Allred

Age

35

Background

Attorney; former staffer with U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; former NFL player

Money raised in 2017-18

$1,916,601 (includes $25,000 in loans from the candidate)

L Melina Baker

Age

54

Background

Treasurer, Libertarian Party of Texas; chair, Libertarian Party of Cherokee County

Money raised in 2017-18

Did not report

R Pete Sessions Incumbent

Age

63

Background

Former chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee; former chairman of the Northeast Dallas Chamber of Commerce

Money raised in 2017-18

$2,750,176

Our take on the race

Sessions, whose last seriously competitive general election campaign was in 2004, is increasingly viewed as the most vulnerable Texas member of Congress this cycle. It's a striking change, prompted in part by Hillary Clinton narrowly carrying this district in 2016, a year Sessions didn’t even draw a Democratic challenger. Allred’s strong fundraising, plus his background as a local football hero who went on to work for the Obama administration, has given Democrats hope that this seat centered in blue Dallas might finally flip.

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Senate District 10

D Beverly Powell

Age

67

Background

Real estate developer

Money raised in 2017-18

$521,294 (includes $20,000 in loans)

R Konni Burton Incumbent

Age

55

Background

Former owner of a wedding coordinating company; former vice-president of the NE Tarrant Tea Party

Money raised in 2017-18

$670,438

Our take on the race

This is regarded as the most competitive Texas Senate district in the state. In 2014, Burton, a Colleyville Republican, flipped the seat, previously held by Democrat Wendy Davis with 53 percent of the vote. Two years later, Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton in the district by only half a percentage point. Powell, a former president of the Burleson ISD school board and former chair of the Texas Wesleyan Board of Trustees, has been unable to match Burton’s fundraising but has been not far behind.

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Senate District 16

D Nathan Johnson

Age

50

Background

Business litigation attorney; previously composed music for programs including Dragon Ball Z.

Money raised in 2017-18

$598,104 (includes $5,000 in loans from the candidate)

R Don Huffines Incumbent

Age

60

Background

Co-owner of Huffines Communities, a real estate company

Money raised in 2017-18

$942,146.02

Our take on the race

Huffines didn’t even face a general election opponent when he was first elected in 2014. Four years later, the Dallas Republican is widely considered the second-most vulnerable Republican in the Texas Senate — largely because Hillary Clinton edged out Donald Trump in the district by 4.6 percentage points in 2016. Johnson is unlikely to match Huffines’ financial resources but is drawing support from local Democrats and groups like Texas Parent PAC.

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Senate District 17

D Rita Lucido

Age

62

Background

Attorney

Money raised in 2017-18

$192,697 (includes $3,000 in loans from the candidate)

R Joan Huffman Incumbent

Age

62

Background

Former prosecutor and criminal district court judge

Money raised in 2017-18

$819,965

Our take on the race

This Houston-area senate district stretches from Sugar Land to Freeport and is one of three held by a Republican that could flip this year based on recent voting history. Huffman, who has represented the district for a decade, chairs the powerful State Affairs committee and is vice-chair of the Criminal Justice committee. She has also far outraised Lucido. But Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton here by less than a percentage point in 2016, drawing the attention of Democrats this cycle.

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House District 6

R Matt Schaefer Incumbent

Age

42

Background

Lieutenant Commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve

Money raised in 2017-18

$151,368

I Neal Katz

Age

45

Background

Rabbi for the Congregation Beth El in Tyler

Money raised in 2017-18

$67,704

Our take on the race

In a Texas House district where no Democrat filed, Katz, a rabbi in Tyler, launched a rare bid to run as an independent earlier this year. He’s facing off with Schaefer, who has served in the House since 2013 and chairs the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus. Katz out raised Schaefer in the first half of the year, but it could be an indication that Schaefer, who trounced his primary opponent in March, doesn’t think he needs to spend significantly to win this fight.

House District 34

D Abel Herrero Incumbent

Age

48

Background

Attorney

Money raised in 2017-18

$199,188

R Chris Hale

Age

55

Background

Civil engineer; US Army veteran

Money raised in 2017-18

$12,242

Our take on the race

Herrero was first elected to this seat in 2004 — nearly a decade before Chris Hale moved to Texas. But in this swing district – Democrat Wendy Davis and Republican Greg Abbott tied there in 2014 — Hale, who has framed himself as an unwavering conservative, has a shot at an upset. Herrero, however, retains an enormous financial advantage.

House District 43

D DeeAnn Torres Miller

Age

37

Background

Family law and criminal defense attorney

Money raised in 2017-18

$23,528 (includes $10,000 in loans)

R J.M. Lozano Incumbent

Age

38

Background

Owner of four Wingstop restaurants

Money raised in 2017-18

$30,850

Our take on the race

Lozano, a Kingsville native, was first elected in 2010 as a Democrat and then re-elected in subsequent elections as a Republican. He won his last two elections by more than 20 percentage points and Donald Trump won it by almost 10 percentage points in 2016. While Torres Miller winning this seat would be something of an upset, she has drawn some attention to her candidacy for her work as a lawyer representing migrant families separated at the border by the Trump administration.

House District 47

D Vikki Goodwin

Age

51

Background

Independent real estate broker; previously worked as a systems analyst in the state attorney general's office

Money raised in 2017-18

$192,674 (includes $55,000 in loans from the candidate)

R Paul Workman Incumbent

Age

66

Background

Construction consultant

Money raised in 2017-18

$509,429

Our take on the race

If November's "blue wave" turns out to be a trickle, Workman still could end up swept away by it. The three-term Austin Republican is the only member of his party representing liberal Travis County and has been known to fight against his city’s “socialist” policies. As the suburban district has turned increasingly purple — Donald Trump won there by fewer than 200 votes — Democrats are pinning their hopes on Goodwin, a real estate broker. Though she outraised four other candidates in her primary and decisively won her runoff, Workman has still shown a significant fundraising advantage over her in the general.

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House District 52

D James Talarico

Age

29

Background

Founder of education technology nonprofit; former schoolteacher

Money raised in 2017-18

$218,314 (includes $25,000 in loans from the candidate)

R Cynthia Flores

Age

53

Background

Social services case manager; appointed by Gov. Greg Abbott to the Brazos River Authority

Money raised in 2017-18

$323,828

Our take on the race

After Republican Larry Gonzalez declined to run for re-election in this purple district in the Austin exurbs, a tight race emerged between two political newcomers. Whoever wins will be a demographic rarity in the House: Flores, who’s been endorsed by both Gonzalez and Gov. Greg Abbott, would become one of just a handful of Hispanic Republicans in the lower chamber. Talarico, an education-focused native of the district, would enter a chamber that currently has just six white Democrats.

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House District 102

D Ana-Maria Ramos

Age

42

Background

Family law attorney; government professor at El Centro College

Money raised in 2017-18

$41,806 (includes $650 in loans from the candidate)

R Linda Koop Incumbent

Age

68

Background

Dallas City Councilwoman, 2005-2013

Money raised in 2017-18

$348,151

Our take on the race

This is one of multiple Dallas-area races on the radar of political observers as a potential pickup for Democrats. The district is purple — Hillary Clinton defeated Donald Trump there by 10 points two years after Greg Abbott defeated Wendy Davis there by the same margin. Koop, who has served in the House since 2015, is hardly mentioning Ramos on the campaign trail, while Ramos is making efforts to tie Koop to Trump. "More air pollution..." Ramos wrote in a Sept. 11 Facebook post. "Trump's policy is Linda Koop's policy!”

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House District 105

D Thresa "Terry" Meza

Age

69

Background

Attorney; former teacher

Money raised in 2017-18

$31,927

R Rodney Anderson Incumbent

Age

50

Background

Title insurance executive

Money raised in 2017-18

$184,838

Our take on the race

This will be Anderson and Meza’s second time competing against one another at the ballot box. In 2016, Anderson edged out Meza for the seat by just 64 votes. Meza is betting on strong Democratic turnout this time around as well as better name recognition due to her previous run. Anderson, meanwhile, is touting his conservative credentials and the on-the-ground work he’s done to connect with voters in HD-105.

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House District 107

D Victoria Neave Incumbent

Age

37

Background

Founder of Neave Law, PC, a law firm in Dallas

Money raised in 2017-18

$236,777

R Deanna Maria Metzger

Age

Declined to say

Background

Owner of a commercial construction company

Money raised in 2017-18

$226,639 (includes $50,000 in loans)

Our take on the race

Neave unseated Republican state Rep. Kenneth Sheets in 2016 with a margin of less than 1,000 votes. The question for Metzger — a conservative candidate with support from the hardline group Empower Texans — is whether she’s the right kind of Republican to win over this swing district. Last year, Neave was charged with driving while intoxicated and pleaded no contest. Metzger has said “voters want someone in the House who will follow the laws they help write.”

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House District 108

D Joanna Cattanach

Age

37

Background

Educator and writer; former journalist

Money raised in 2017-18

$110,335

R Morgan Meyer Incumbent

Age

44

Background

Attorney

Money raised in 2017-18

$337,291

Our take on the race

Hillary Clinton had a six-percentage-point advantage over Donald Trump in this Republican-held district in 2016, putting it high on Democrats’ radar this year. Meyer, who’s held the seat since 2015, has a healthy fundraising advantage. Both candidates have so far been more civil than some in other nearby competitions.

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House District 113

D Rhetta Andrews Bowers

Age

51

Background

Substitute teacher with Garland Independent School District; former broadcast journalist

Money raised in 2017-18

$24,421

R Jonathan Boos

Age

34

Background

Small business owner; former president of the Dallas County Young Republicans

Money raised in 2017-18

$186,026 (includes $40,000 in loans from the candidate)

Our take on the race

This North Texas district sent Sunnyvale Republican Cindy Burkett to the Texas House for four terms, but she is not running for re-election. Boos and Bowers each tried to unseat Burkett in 2016. Both lost by about 11 points. While Boos has a clear fundraising advantage, the district favored Hillary Clinton by 2 points in 2016. Also, Bowers could benefit this year from a “blue wave” that may be especially favorable to black female Democrats, several of whom have fielded upsets in primaries across the country this year.

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House District 114

D John Turner

Age

43

Background

Attorney

Money raised in 2017-18

$451,163 (includes $7,000 in loans from the candidate)

R Lisa Luby Ryan

Age

57

Background

Interior designer

Money raised in 2017-18

$591,837 (includes $50,000 in loans)

Our take on the race

Ryan got to the general election for this Dallas-based district by beating incumbent Republican state Rep. Jason Villalba, who has called Ryan too conservative for a district where Hillary Clinton beat Donald Trump in 2016, in a tense primary. Turner, the son of former U.S. Rep. Jim Turner, D-Crockett, has been working to appeal to both Democrats and moderate Republicans, drawing some notable endorsements from local business leaders and organizations that have previously backed Republicans. Yet Ryan has led in fundraising, and Republican leaders are intent on holding on to the seat.

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House District 115

D Julie Johnson

Age

52

Background

Personal injury lawyer

Money raised in 2017-18

$466,894

R Matt Rinaldi Incumbent

Age

43

Background

Commercial litigation attorney

Money raised in 2017-18

$262,337 (includes $100,000 in loans from the candidate)

Our take on the race

This is a top target for Democrats this election cycle. For one, it's one of a number of seats in the Dallas area that went to Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump in 2016. Rinaldi himself pulled out a razor-thin victory against his Democratic opponent that year. Johnson, meanwhile, has checked off at least two boxes that make her a competitive candidate: She has had impressive fundraising hauls and has picked up notable endorsements — including one from a former GOP lawmaker who once held the HD-115 seat. Rinaldi, for his part, has big support from Texas groups aligned with the more conservative wing of the GOP.

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House District 117

D Philip Cortez Incumbent

Age

40

Background

Captain in the U.S. Air Force Reserve; Has a doctorate in educational policy and planning

Money raised in 2017-18

$114,784

R Michael Berlanga

Age

58

Background

Accountant and real estate broker; unsuccessful 2012 challenger of former state Sen. Carlos Uresti

Money raised in 2017-18

$3,650 (includes $2,000 in loans from the candidate)

Our take on the race

On paper, this district, covering southwest San Antonio and western Bexar County, is the most competitive state House district in Texas. Yet little has been heard this cycle from Cortez’s challenger, Berlanga, who has raised little money for this bid. A classic swing district, the average distance between the Republican and Democratic candidates in the 2014 and 2016 elections was less than one percentage point. Cortez first won the seat in 2012 only to be ousted two years later, and then won it back in 2016 with barely over 51 percent of the vote.

House District 134

D Allison Lami Sawyer

Age

33

Background

Co-founder of Rebellion Photonics, an oil and gas safety company

Money raised in 2017-18

$82,263

R Sarah Davis Incumbent

Age

42

Background

Attorney

Money raised in 2017-18

$973,517

Our take on the race

Appealing to swing voters in this well-educated, affluent Houston district will be key to victory. Republican incumbent Sarah Davis, who has represented the district since 2011, identifies as a “rowdy moderate.” She supports same-sex marriage and is the only Republican in the Texas House that supports access to abortion. Davis’ Republican primary drew statewide attention for Gov. Greg Abbott’s aggressive, and ultimately unsuccessful, effort to back her primary challenger, Susanna Dokupil. But Hillary Clinton beat Donald Trump here in 2016, drawing the attention of Democrats, including Sawyer, a political newcomer and entrepreneur who believes the district is ready to flip.

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House District 136

D John H Bucy III

Age

34

Background

Small business owner

Money raised in 2017-18

$153,190 (includes $20,100 in loans from the candidate)

L Zach Parks

Age

26

Background

Car porter

Money raised in 2017-18

$0

R Tony Dale Incumbent

Age

49

Background

Small business owner; U.S. Army veteran

Money raised in 2017-18

$168,040

Our take on the race

This is the second time Dale and Bucy are facing off in this district, which encompasses Cedar Park, North Austin, Leander and part of Round Rock — in 2014, Dale beat Bucy by 13 percentage points. Since then, Bucy has boosted his name identification among local Democrats. He previously served as chair of the Williamson County Democratic Party, helping a handful of Democrats get elected to local office. However, Dale is standing firm that his legislative experience and past work in city government can hold off Bucy in the district, despite Hillary Clinton winning there in 2016.

House District 144

D Mary Ann Perez Incumbent

Age

56

Background

Insurance agent; former Houston Community College Board of Trustees chair

Money raised in 2017-18

$129,140

R Ruben Villarreal

Age

42

Background

Pastor; Director of a Christian private school

Money raised in 2017-18

$38,110 (includes $13,089 in loans from the candidate)

Our take on the race

This is one of the few state House seats held by a Democrat that’s seen as potentially vulnerable in the midterms. This district, based in the southeastern suburbs of Houston, has had a purple voting history in recent years. In 2014, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott beat Wendy Davis here in 2014, and Perez, then in her first term, lost re-election in an incredibly tight race. In 2016, however, the district backed Democrat Hillary Clinton for president and Perez reclaimed the seat with more than 60 percent of the vote.