Texas Weekly's Hot List for October 11, 2010

The presentation for Texas Weekly's list of the most competitive races in Texas is lifted from the inventors of the federal terror watch, ranking districts by the threat to each incumbent (or incumbent party, in the case of open districts) and giving each group garish colors. Yellow means there's trouble on the sidewalk. Orange is trouble on the front porch. Red is trouble walking in the door.

Changes for the week of October 11: Two races — HD-96 and HD-113 — drop from Red to Orange this week, largely because incumbents Joe Driver and Chris Turner are smoking their opponents in the money department. They're still competitive contests, but the financial disparity raises questions about whether the challengers can, well, challenge. For similar reasons, Mark Homer (HD-3) is back in red, and Abel Herrero (HD-34) and Allen Vaught (HD-107) have shifted from Yellow to Orange. All three face opponents whose combined general election spending and cash on hand outdistanced theirs in the 30-day reports made public this week.

As always, incumbents' names are shown in bold. A note to candidates and consultants whose nerves are shot: Within each color zone, the races are listed by district number — not by order of risk. Step away from the coffee pots, folks. Early voting starts on October 18.

Texas Weekly's Hot List