Texas judicial elections
Partisan primaries are held if even one candidate has filed for a position. To advance to the general election, a candidate must win a majority (over 50 percent) of the vote. If no candidate in a race wins the majority—as in cases where more than two candidates are competing for a seat—a runoff election is held between the top two candidates.
Though Texas officially has closed primaries (requiring that voters declare party affiliation in advance in order to participate), the state's primaries are functionally open: any registered voter may vote in any single party's primary if they have not voted in the primary of another party. The elections are closed, however, in that voters may not participate in the proceedings (a runoff primary or a convention) of another party thereafter.
The winning candidates from each major party's primary, as well as any additional minor party candidates, compete in a general election on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. If a candidate was unopposed in the general election, their name will still appear on the general election ballot.
The judges are elected to the following terms, respectively, after which they must seek re-election if they wish to retain their seat:
|Supreme Court||Court of Criminal Appeals||Court of Appeals||District Courts||County Courts||Justice of the Peace Courts|
|Partisan elections||Partisan elections||Partisan elections||Partisan elections||Partisan elections||Partisan elections|
|6 year term||6 year term||6 year term||4 year term||4 year term||4 year term|
Statewide results can be found on the Texas Secretary of State website. Results for local races must be found on county websites, in newspapers and on county party websites.
Becoming a candidate
|Court of Criminal Appeals||$3,750||5000|
|Court of Appeals||$2,500/$1,875*||500**|
|District Court (Including Criminal, Family)||$2,500/$1,500*||500**|
|County Court-at-Law, County Criminal Court, County Probate Court||$2,500/$1,500*||500**|
|Justice of the Peace||$1,000/$375*||500**|
|*Varies by district, county and population; see the footnotes on the Texas Secretary of State website to view a specific breakdown.|
|**Or 2% of total vote received in the district, county, or precinct, as applicable, by all gubernatorial candidates in the last general election (whichever is lesser).|
Fees and nominating petitions
Candidates seeking to be listed as a Democrat or a Republican must either collect a required number of signatures on a nominating petition or pay a filing fee, both of which vary by position. Minor parties do not participate in primary elections. Minor party candidates seeking to be listed in the general election must be selected at the party's nominating convention or must collect signatures on a nominating petition.
The table at right displays the filing fees and nominating petition signatures required for each respective judicial position.
The period in which candidates may accept contributions to fund their campaigns starts 210 days before the filing deadline and ends 120 days after the election in which the candidate last appeared on the ballot.
The main campaign finance reports that must be filed by all candidates are the semiannual reports. These are due by January 15 and July 15 of each year. Opposed candidates must also file campaign finance reports 30 days and 8 days before an election and candidates competing in a runoff must file a report 8 days before the election.
For more in depth information, visit Judgepedia's Texas campaign finance requirements page.
- Texas judicial elections, 2014
- Texas judicial elections, 2012
- Texas judicial elections, 2010
- Texas Supreme Court elections, 2008
- Judicial selection in Texas
- Campaign finance requirements for Texas judicial elections
- News: Supreme Weekly: The cost of running for a Supreme Court
- Office of the Secretary of State, Historical Election Data 1992-Present
- The Atlantic, "'A Broken System': Texas's Former Chief Justice Condemns Judicial Elections," October 18, 2013
- The University of Texas at Austin: Texas Politics, "Winning Public Office: General Elections and Special Elections," January 29, 2014
- Texas Election Code, "Title 10, Sec. 172.003 and 172.004," accessed May 1, 2014
- Office of the Secretary of State, 1992-Current Election History (Select "2012 General" & "County Race"; then click "Anderson" to view sample results)
- The University of Texas at Austin: Texas Politics, "Texas Primary Filing Requirements for Democratic and Republican Party Nominees," 2004
- The University of Texas at Austin: Texas Politics, "Getting on the Ballot: Primaries, Party Conventions, and Petitions," January 29, 2014
- Texas Ethics Commission, "Campaign Finance Guide for Judicial Candidates and Officeholders - Contributions Prohibited Except During Election Period," accessed April 30, 2014
- Texas Ethics Commission, "Campaign Finance Guide for Judicial Candidates and Officeholders - Required Reports," accessed April 30, 2014