Veronica Escobar, who is running for Congress in Texas

Veronica Escobar/YouTube

Democrats, women have much to celebrate after Texas primaries

Texas may also finally have its first Hispanic congresswoman.


Samantha Grasso

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Posted on Mar 7, 2018   Updated on May 21, 2021, 10:31 pm CDT

Tuesday was a big night in Texas for Democrats, and women in particular, as voter turnout surged and a majority of women running for Congress won their primaries or advanced to run-off elections.

Texas Democrats turned out more than 1 million voters through early voting and into Tuesday, surpassing Republicans in a midterm primary for the first time since 2002. More than 58 percent of early voters were women, while Republican votes fell overall by 40 percent from 2016. And of the nearly 50 women running for Texas Congress, more than half won their primaries or will be in run-offs in May, according to the Associated Press.

At least three of those runoffs will feature women facing each other. In Houston, Laura Moser and Lizzie Pannill Fletcher are running off one of three  GOP-controlled congressional seats that Democrats are hoping to flip after they supported Hillary Clinton over Trump in 2016.

Two of these women are poised to become the state’s first Hispanic women in Congress. Former El Paso County Judge Veronica Escobar is certain to take the place of Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke in El Paso, who is running for Senate against Republican Sen. Ted Cruz. And Texas Sen. Sylvia Garcia won the Democratic nomination to replace Democratic Rep. Gene Green in Houston.

Escobar and Garcia are also likely to be in the first class of Texas freshmen women elected to a full term in Congress in 22 years, according to the Texas Tribune.

Gina Ortiz Jones, a former Air Force intelligence office, won 41 percent of the vote to advance to the Democratic runoff to take on Rep. Will Hurd for District 23, which spans along the U.S.-Mexico border between San Antonio and El Paso. If Ortiz Jones were to win the runoff, then defeat the incumbent, she would become the first Filipina-American to serve in Congress.

Not all women fared well in the primaries. GOP donor Kathaleen Wall, a candidate who likened herself to a “female Trump” who funneled $6 million of her own funds into her campaign and had support from Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, lost despite outspending all other candidates.

Meanwhile, Gov. Abbott will either face Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez, Texas’ first Hispanic, lesbian sheriff, or Andrew White, who poses himself as personally anti-abortion but legislatively pro-choice, and is the son of a former Gov. Mark White.

H/T Associated Press

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*First Published: Mar 7, 2018, 11:20 am CST