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Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Shakeup Ahead Among Denton County’s State Lawmakers

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A state lawmaker shakeup is coming to Denton County next year.

Voters in the North Texas county will fill at least three, and possibly four, open state legislative seats in 2022.

Earlier this month, longtime State Sen. Jane Nelson (R–Flower Mound) announced she will not seek re-election to the Texas Senate, where she’s served since 1993.

Nelson’s current Senate District 12 represents most of Denton County and a small part of neighboring Tarrant County.

Republican State Rep. Tan Parker, also from Flower Mound, quickly announced his candidacy for Nelson’s open seat—creating an opening for the House District 63 seat in southwest Denton County that he’s held since 2007.

Another local Republican lawmaker, second-term State Rep. Jared Patterson of Frisco, told constituents he’s also considering entering the Senate race, though he confirmed to Texas Scorecard this week he hasn’t yet made a decision. If Patterson decides to jump in, that would leave the House District 106 seat in far north and east Denton County open as well.

Denton’s future state delegation got another shakeup on Wednesday.

Democrat State Rep. Michelle Beckley (Carrollton) announced she’s running for Congress rather than seek re-election to House District 65 in the southeast corner of Denton County. She first won the state seat in 2018 and was re-elected in 2020, both times by narrow 51-percent margins over her Republican opponents. Beckley will challenge first-term Republican U.S. Rep. Beth Van Duyne (TX-24).

Beckley launched her congressional campaign while in Washington, D.C., with fellow Democrat lawmakers dodging votes on election reform bills and making media appearances criticizing states’ voting security measures. Beckley’s campaign ad included clips recorded during her D.C. press tour.

Redistricting is the biggest unknown for candidates considering runs in 2022. The decennial political map redrawing, delayed due to slowed census data collection during COVID, will shake

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