The results of Texas' Nov. 4 election will kick off the state's largest political shakeup in a generation because not a single statewide incumbent is on the ballot. Here are five things to watch:
A Democrat hasn't won a statewide office in Texas in 20 years, the nation's longest such losing streak, and none of the party's candidates this election cycle are expected to prevail. But continued Republican dominance won't mean the same old faces in high political places. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst's defeat by state Sen. Dan Patrick in the May GOP runoff means that no incumbents are left on the ballot. Gov. Rick Perry isn't seeking re-election and Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott is leaving his post and is favored to replace him. Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson and Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples both also lost in the GOP primary, while Comptroller Susan Combs isn't running again.
A BUSH FAMILY FIRST
Republican George P. Bush, the nephew of one former president, grandson of another and son of a former Florida governor, is expected to cruise to victory in the land commissioner's race. If he does, the 38-year-old will accomplish something no one else in his famous political family has — winning his first election. George P.'s grandfather, George H.W. Bush, lost to Democratic incumbent U.S. Sen. Ralph Yarborough of Texas in 1964, while his uncle, George W. Bush, ran from Midland but lost to Democrat Kent Hance in a 1978 congressional race. And George P.'s father, Jeb Bush, was narrowly defeated by incumbent Florida Gov. Lawton Chiles in 1994. Even George P.'s great-grandfather and the political dynasty's patriarch, U.S. Sen. Prescott Bush of Connecticut, lost his first Senate race in 1950.
A TEXAS TOSS UP?
Most of the state's races look like foregone conclusions, but a close contest is shaping up in the sprawling district of Democratic U.S. Rep. Pete Gallego —which stretches from San Antonio 600 miles west to El Paso. Gallego unseated incumbent Francisco "Quico" Canseco in 2012. Trying to flip the district back Republican is former CIA agent Will Hurd. Gallego has raised more campaign cash than Hurd, but GOP strategists insist that their candidate will be buoyed by Republicans electoral wins elsewhere statewide. In 2012, President Bill Clinton campaigned for Gallego — he may be back if things stay close.
Perry deployed 1,000 National Guard troops to the Texas-Mexico border amid a surge of immigrant children pouring into the U.S. But he's not alone in making the border a political issue. Patrick's campaign rallying cry is "secure our border," while Abbott has promised to permanently deploy 500 state troopers there. Even Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Wendy Davis and the party's lieutenant governor nominee, Leticia Van De Putte, have called for securing the border.
A ballot referendum asks voters to approve $1.2 billion per year for roads and other transportation infrastructure statewide by diverting half of the funds currently flowing into Texas' Rainy Day Fund. The Transportation Department has suggested that because of the state's booming population, $4 billion in spending annually will be required just to maintain current traffic levels on jammed roads. Last November, voters overwhelming approved $2 billion for water infrastructure projects and other drought-fighting initiatives.