Democrats make gains, immigration a winning issue in swing districts, Texas Latinas likely to be elected to Congress for the first time ever
Austin, TX – Texas officially launched the 2018 midterms with yesterday’s primary election. The biggest winners were Latinas and women of color seeking to make history, who ran campaigns that galvanized voters across Texas. Democrats saw a record number of primary voters, but Republicans also saw a record turnout, as they try to keep a tight grip on the Lone Star state. And for the first time, it appears two Latinas will represent Texas in Congress. State Senator Sylvia Green and former El Paso County Judge Veronica Escobar won their respective primaries in heavily Democratic districts.
Last night’s primary results show that Latino voters are responding to anti-immigrant attacks from both the Trump administration and Texas Republicans by turning out in record numbers. The Latino turnout will determine the outcome of several critical swing districts, especially District 23, which is home to incumbent Republican, Will Hurd.
- While a blue Texas is still not immediately on the horizon, Democrats are making big gains in critical swing districts. In hotly contested Texas 23, home to incumbent Republican Will Hurd, Democrats received 13,000 more votes than Republicans to kick off what will likely be the most competitive House race in Texas. Gina Ortiz Jones, a former Air Force intelligence officer, will head to a runoff after receiving 41% of the vote, in an effort to unseat Hurd. If elected, Ortiz Jones would be the first openly gay member of Congress to represent the state of Texas.
- Heading into Tuesday’s primary, Time examined how Trump’s anti-immigration policies are playing in Latino heavy districts, and it’s not good news for Republicans. Cal Jillson, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University, says the issue has likely been a motivating factor for many voters. He points out that 800,000 voters had voted either in-person or by mail this early voting period and about 150% more Democrats voted early in 2018 and major boosts in turnout occurred in six counties with high Latino populations.
- According to the Texas Tribune, Texas will likely be sending its first Latinas to Congress after State Sen. Sylvia Green and former El Paso County Judge Veronica Escobar easily won their primaries in Texas districts 29 and 16, respectively.
Mario Carrillo, Director of America’s Voice Texas, said:
As a Texan, I am proud of the record turnout during yesterday’s primary, and we congratulate all the victorious candidates, including the Latinas and women of color who are looking to make history in our state. We need more candidates with progressive values who won’t be afraid to stand up to the bigotry of the Trump administration and who will continue to support immigrants in the Lone Star State. There remains a lot of work ahead to fully realize the power of our vote, especially among Latinos, but yesterday’s results show that Texans are fully tuned in ahead of an historic election.