Rochelle Garza and Joe Jaworski advanced from the March 1 Democratic primary for Texas attorney general when third-place finisher Lee Merritt conceded his spot in the runoff on March 10. Garza finished first in the primary with 43.0% of the vote and Jaworski received 19.7%. Merritt finished in third place with 19.4%, Mike Fields was fourth with 12.3%, and S. T-Bone Raynor was fifth with 5.5%.
Because no candidate won more than 50% of the votes cast, Garza and Jaworski will meet in a May 24 primary runoff election.
Garza is a former attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union who originally announced she would run for Texas’ 34th Congressional District. After Texas enacted new congressional district maps in October 2021, Garza decided to run for attorney general instead. In an interview with The Texas Tribune, Garza said, “Given my background, my work, I believe that this race is the right place to be. I also believe that if we’re gonna change anything in Texas, it’s gonna have to come at the state level because we’ve seen the damage that the governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general have done to this state and the harm they’ve done to the people.”
Jaworski is an attorney and the former mayor of Galveston. His campaign website lists several top priorities, including supporting the Affordable Care Act, expanding Medicaid, leading a statewide effort to legalize recreational marijuana, and supporting the decision-making authority of local governments. “Local decision-making authority is under attack in state government these days and I can personally say that local government is the best government. So I think as attorney general, Texans can rest assured whether they live in Republican jurisdiction, Democratic jurisdiction or any independent-type jurisdiction, that local government will be a focus of my attorney general opinion.”
The attorney general is an executive office that serves as the chief legal advisor and chief law enforcement officer for the state government and is empowered to prosecute violations of state law, represent the state in legal disputes and issue legal advice to state agencies and the legislature. In most states, the attorney general has a substantial influence on a state’s approach to law enforcement.