The Federal Distinct Court in San Antonio has ruled that Texas’ 2014 elections may proceed using existing legislative and congressional district maps, which means the primary elections should be held as scheduled, March 4, 2014. Some candidates had been concerned that the elections would be delayed as they were in 2012 because of the federal redistricting lawsuit in progress in the San Antonio court; or worse that districts would actually be changed before the primary elections.
Those fears have been put to rest. The judges approved the current maps only for the 2014 elections with subsequent elections to be determined by the outcome of the ongoing lawsuit. The judges’ ruling emphasized the temporary nature of the ruling: “These plans are being used on an interim basis only, and nothing in this order should be construed as a ruling on the merits of any claims, causes of actions, or requests for relief that have been asserted in this consolidated action.”
This removes the uncertainty of an extended season for candidates, making their campaigns less expensive and perhaps more predictable. Delayed primaries caused all kinds of mischief in 2012, with many pundits suggesting Lt. Gov. Dewhurst would be in the U.S. Senate today if the 2012 primary election had not been delayed. Chris Tomlinson, writing for the Associated Press, says the primary elections being set for March 4 helps the incumbents.