Joan Huffman

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Joan Huffman
Member of the Texas Senate
from the 17th district
Assumed office
2008, unexpired term
Preceded by Kyle Janek
Personal details
Born 1956
Southside Place, Harris County
Texas, USA
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Keith Lawyer
Children One son, Luke Kafomdi Tyrone
Alma mater Louisiana State University

South Texas College of Law

Profession Attorney

Joan J. Huffman[1] is a Republican member of the 31-member Texas State Senate from District 17, which includes a portion of populous Harris County. At the time her service began, Huffman was the sixth then serving female member of the chamber.[2]


A native of Southside Place near Houston in Harris County, Huffman hold a Bachelor of Arts degree from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge and a Juris Doctor degree from the South Texas College of Law in Houston. Prior to her Senate tenure, Huffman was judge of the 183rd Criminal District Court in Harris County. Prior to the judgeship she was chief felony prosecutor for the Harris County District Attorney's office.[3]

Special election, 2008[edit]

Only one in five voters participated in the special election for the Texas Senate held on December 16, 2008. Huffman defeated her Democratic opponent, Chris Bell, a former one-term member of the United States House of Representatives, 24,431 (56 percent) to 19,104 (44 percent).[2] Bell was his party's unsuccessful Democratic gubernatorial nominee in 2006, having lost in a five-candidate general election to Republican Governor Rick Perry, 39-30 percent.[4]

Bell had led in the initial balloting on November 4, when the first round of the special election was held in conjunction with the presidential and congressional elections. He obtained 38 percent of the vote to Huffman's 26 percent. Bell and a second Democratic contender, Stephanie Simmons, had a combined 52 percent in the first round.[5] The runoff contest, however, allowed Huffman to consolidate supporters of three other Republican candidates, Austen H. Furse (born 1960), Kenneth R. Sherman (born 1962), and Grant P. Harpold (born 1963), who trailed in the first balloting. Huffman's term extends to January 2011. She succeeds Senator Kyle Janek, a Republican physician who resigned earlier this year for business reasons.

Huffman spent $750,000 of her own money in the first Senate campaign. [6] Bob J. Perry of Perry Homes in Houston, no relation to Governor Perry, gave Huffman $125,000. Bell received a large sum from state trial lawyers, and the Texas Democratic Party sent activists to the district in order to conduct block-walking.[7]

In addition to Harris County, Senate District 17, said to resemble a crowbar, includes portions of Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, and Jefferson counties.[8] From 1981 to 2002, the seat with a different configuration was held by the attorney J. E. "Buster" Brown, then of Lake Jackson, and later a lobbyist at the state capitol in Austin.


Huffman is the vice chair of both the Senate Criminal Justice Committee and the Legislative Sportsman's Caucus. She is a member of these Senate committees: (1) The Committee of the Whole, (2) Finance, (3) Health and Human Resources, and (4) State Affairs. She is also a long-term member of the Sunset Advisory Commission.[3]

Huffman won easy re-nomination to the state Senate in the Republican primary held on March 4, 2014. She defeated her only opponent, Derek A. Anthony, 32,962 (81.1 percent) to 7,691 (18.9 percent).[9]


  1. ^ "2010 November General Election Candidates". Secretary of State of Texas. 
  2. ^ a b "Alan, Bernstein, "Huffman takes Senate Dist. 17 seat in runoff", December 17, 2008, p. 1". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved December 26, 2008. 
  3. ^ a b "Joan Huffman's Biography". Retrieved March 8, 2014. 
  4. ^ Texas Secretary of State, Governor's general election returns, November 7, 2006
  5. ^ "Texas State Senate District 17 special election results, November 4, 2008". Texas Secretary of State. Retrieved December 26, 2000. 
  6. ^ "Joan Huffman for State Senate". Retrieved December 25, 2008. 
  7. ^ ""Chris Bell/Joan Huffman in Their Own Words", December 10, 2008". Retrieved December 26, 2008. 
  8. ^ "Elect Joan Huffman". Retrieved December 26, 2008. 
  9. ^ "Republican primary election returns, March 4, 2014 (Senate District 17)". Texas Secretary of State. Retrieved March 8, 2014. 
Texas Senate
Preceded by
Kyle Janek
Texas State Senator from District 17
Succeeded by