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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.
Many Texans were arrested and accused of participating in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Republican Texas politicians played roles in casting baseless doubts about election results that preceded the rioting and violence that erupted.
The state Legislature convened in January. Over the course of the regular session and three subsequent special sessions, legislators passed laws restricting Texans’ ability to vote, creating new political districts that ignored demographic trends and curtailing access to abortion.
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.