Nov 10, 2022 - News

Democrats build majority on Harris County Commissioners Court

Illustration of a voting pin surrounded by election form icons

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

While Republicans maintained control of statewide offices on Election Day, Harris County Commissioners Court is now decidedly blue.

Driving the news: Democrats on the ballot for Commissioners Court swept their races, giving them a 4-1 majority.

  • Lesley Briones unseated incumbent Precinct 4 Commissioner Jack Cagle with 51.6% of the vote.
  • Judge Lina Hidalgo and Precinct 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia also staved off challengers and won their races.

Flashback: Democrats already had a 3-2 majority but were unable to pass their proposed tax rate and budget this year because of a protest from the two Republicans on the court.

  • State law requires a quorum of at least four commissioners to pass the tax rate.
  • The two Republicans skipped several key votes on the rate and budget, forcing the county to adopt a lower rate set by the Texas Legislature.

Why it matters: With a 4-1 court, there likely won't be any hiccups with the tax rate and budget in 2023.

The big picture: Hidalgo previously told Axios that she has her sights set on more mental health resources, early childhood education and helping guide Houston through the energy transition during her second term.

What they're saying: "Unity prevailed over division in this election," Hidalgo said in a victory speech yesterday. "Truth prevailed over lies. Decency prevailed over vitriol, and I'm proud of that. It would have been easy to give into any of those things. Playing dirty is easy, and it wins. But it didn't win here."

How we got here: Counting ballots lasted well into Wednesday morning, and Harris County saw a host of issues.

  • Final results weren't available until around 9am, more than 12 hours after polls closed.

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