By Shania Shelton, CNN
Texas kicks off the first round of primaries for the 2022 midterm season on March 1. Down the ballot beyond governor, candidates are running for a host of other statewide positions with a wide variety of duties — and one position for which the title has nothing to do with the actual job.
Early voting in the state began on February 14, and voters have experienced problems due to a new voting law that’s being put to the test this election. The law has already led to the rejection of hundreds of mail-in voting applications and the submission of such applications to the wrong office.
Similar to the governorship, in which incumbent Greg Abbott is running for a third term, Texas Republicans currently hold all of these other statewide positions and some of the incumbents are facing primary challenges on March 1. Here’s some background and key things to know about these races:
- In Texas, the lieutenant governor wields considerable power as president of the state Senate.
- Texas is one of 17 states in the US where the lieutenant governor is elected separately from the governor in the general election.
- Republican Dan Patrick, who is seeking a third term, is a former talk radio host with a history of making controversial statements and has former President Donald Trump’s endorsement.
- Three candidates are running in the Democratic primary. Bob Bullock, who left office in 1999, is the last Democrat to hold the office.
- Attorneys general act as the top legal officers of their states or territories, with responsibilities ranging from enforcing laws to providing legal advice to state officials.
- Republican incumbent Ken Paxton, who has been vocal about criticizing President Joe Biden on Covid-19 mandates and Texas’ abortion ban, secured an endorsement from Trump.
- Paxton has faced legal and ethical issues, including a 2015 indictment on securities fraud charges and a current professional misconduct investigation for his lawsuit challenging the 2020 election results.
- Paxton faces a primary challenge from Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush, former Texas Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman and US Rep. Louie Gohmert in his bid for a third term as attorney general.
- Dan Morales is the last Democrat to hold the office, serving from 1991 to 1999. In the current election, five Democrats are running for the party’s nomination.
- The Office of the Comptroller serves as “Texas’ chief tax collector, accountant, revenue estimator, treasurer and purchasing manager,” according to its website.
- Republican incumbent Glenn Hegar was sworn into this position in 2015.
- John Sharp is the last Democratic comptroller in Texas, holding the job from 1991 to 1999. In the Democratic primary, three candidates are running for the nomination this year.
- The land commissioner runs the Texas General Land Office (GLO), including overseeing investments for public education and managing state lands to produce oil and gas.
- The oldest state agency in Texas, it was originally formed in 1836 to “determine who owned what and where after the Texians and Tejanos won independence,” according to the agency’s website.
- Twelve candidates, including four Democrats, are running to succeed Bush.
- Bush — the son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, nephew of former Texas Gov. and US President George W. Bush, and grandson of former US President George H.W. Bush — launched his run for Texas attorney general last June.
- As the head of the state’s agriculture agency, the Texas agriculture commissioner oversees duties ranging from protecting agricultural crops from pests and diseases to administering national school meal programs for Texas children.
- Republican incumbent Sid Miller was first elected in 2014, has Trump’s endorsement and will face two other Republican candidates in a bid to keep his position.
- Former US Energy Secretary and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry was Texas’ agriculture commissioner from 1991 to 1999.
- Perry first won the office by unseating incumbent Jim Hightower, to date the last Democrat to hold the job. Two Democrats are running for the position.
- Despite the name, the Texas Railroad Commission hasn’t held any authority over railroads since 2005, according to its website. The commission currently regulates the oil and gas industry in the state.
- Republicans Wayne Christian, Christi Craddick and Jim Wright are the three commissioners in this agency.
- Commissioners are elected to six-year staggered terms. Christian, who is the chair of the agency, is running for a second term in a multi-candidate GOP primary.
- One Democratic candidate, Luke Warford, is running for his party’s nomination this cycle.
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