Sign up for The Brief, our daily newsletter that keeps readers up to speed on the most essential Texas news.
Texas politics were very much in the national spotlight in 2021, and national politics played a huge role in Texas. Much carried over from 2020 — including the coronavirus pandemic that touched every part of Texans’ lives, and many Republicans’ refusal to accept Donald Trump’s loss during the November 2020 presidential election.
In February, a bitter winter storm brought nearly the entire state to its knees as the state’s main energy grid failed, leaving millions without power or water and costing billions of dollars.
As the end of the year approached, the 2022 election cycle heated up. Abbott saw well-known primary challengers rise on his right, and Democratic former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke announced his own run.
Through it all, photographers from The Texas Tribune and wire services were there. Here is some of their work.
Trump supporters entered the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 during a joint session of Congress. Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz joined other Texas officials in voting in favor of objecting to the certification of the presidential election results. Credit: Chris Kleponis/Sipa USA and Stephanie Keith/REUTERS
Trump supporters gathered at the Texas Capitol on Jan. 6 to protest the certification of the 2020 presidential election results. Credit: Jordan Vonderhaar for The Texas Tribune
First: Newly elected House Speaker Dade Phelan greeted Gov. Greg Abbott before speaking to the Texas House during opening ceremonies for the 2021 Legislature. Last: State Rep. Phil Stephenson, R-Wharton, and others said the Pledge of Allegiance. Credit: Bob Daemmrich/CapitolPressPhoto/Pool
First: Unaccompanied migrant boys stood outside at a Customs and Border Protection migrant processing center in March in El Paso. Last: Gov. Greg Abbott addressed the media about border security at a March 9 press conference in Mission. Credit: Ivan Pierre Aguirre and Jason Garza for The Texas Tribune
Youth activists dropped more than 200,000 rose petals in the Capitol rotunda in April to protest against what they described as “extremist voter suppression legislation.” Credit: Jordan Vonderhaar for The Texas Tribune
First: State Rep. Rafael M. Anchia, D-Dallas, spoke with state Rep. Erin Zwiener, D-Driftwood, on the House floor on May 6. Last: State Rep. Donna Howard, D-Austin, was surrounded by fellow Democrats after testifying May 5 against a proposed anti-abortion bill on the House floor. Credit: Jordan Vonderhaar and Miguel Gutierrez Jr. for The Texas Tribune
First: Hundreds gathered for the Austin Rally for Palestine on May 23 at the state Capitol in Austin. Last: Abortion rights advocates protesting Senate Bill 8, which restricts access to the procedure, were met with counter-protesters outside the Texas Capitol in May. Credit: Montinique Monroe and Pu Ying Huang for The Texas Tribune
First: At least 50 Texas House Democrats fled to Washington, D.C., in July in an attempt to stop Republicans from taking up new voting restrictions. Next: Democrats held a press conference July 13 outside the U.S. Capitol. Last: Democratic members of the Texas House and Senate gathered for a press conference July 14 in Washington, D.C., to update Texans on their attempt to advocate for federal voting rights. Credit: Shuran Huang for The Texas Tribune
First: Texas House members offered praise for Speaker Dade Phelan on May 31 before adjourning the regular legislative session. Last: Legislators watched as Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, left, and Gov. Greg Abbott shared updates on their plan for Texas to build its own border wall at a June 16 press conference at the Texas Capitol. Credit: Miguel Gutierrez Jr. and Sophie Park/The Texas Tribune
Democrat Beto O’Rourke joined a “For the People” rally in support of voting rights on the south steps of the state Capitol on June 20. Credit: Jordan Vonderhaar for The Texas Tribune
First: State Rep. Charles “Doc” Anderson, R-Waco, held a sign reading, “Here we are still on the job for the people,” on the House floor July 14. Last: State Rep. Jacey Jetton, R-Richmond, sat in a nearly empty House chamber July 14. Credit: Sophie Park/The Texas Tribune
First: State Rep. Lacey Hull, R-Houston, waited with other House Republicans before a briefing at the Texas Capitol on July 14. Last: State Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas, walked with state Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, and Texas clergy during a July 15 march at the Texas Capitol. Credit: Sophie Park/The Texas Tribune
First: State Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, attended a press conference with members of the Senate Democratic Caucus about voting legislation July 21 at the Texas Capitol. Last: The Texas House Democrats breaking quorum hosted a press conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Aug. 6. Credit: Sophie Park and Shuran Huang for The Texas Tribune
People held signs and clapped Oct. 2 during the Women’s March ATX at the Texas Capitol in Austin. Thousands of people attended the rally. Credit: Michael Gonzalez and Chelsea Purgahn for The Texas Tribune
First: Texas Secretary of State John Scott, who was appointed by Gov. Greg Abbott in October, played a role in representing the Trump administration in a lawsuit challenging the 2020 election results. Last: A map of Tarrant County shows the voting age population of Hispanics. Credit: Sergio Flores and Michael Gonzalez for The Texas Tribune
First: Frank Ramirez, Democratic nominee for House District 118, attended an Oct. 31 event at campaign headquarters. Last: Republican John Lujan spoke to people at his watch party on Nov. 2. Lujan won the election for state House District 118. Credit: Chris Stokes and Michael Gonzalez for The Texas Tribune
First: State Sen. Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola, spoke to a television news crew Nov. 1 outside the Supreme Court in Washington. Last: People dressed in the red robes from “A Handmaid’s Tale” stood outside the U.S. Supreme Court. Credit: Eric Lee for The Texas Tribune