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Heart of the Primaries 2022, Democrats-Issue 12

Welcome to The Heart of the Primaries, Democratic Edition

March 3, 2022

In this issue: Texas Democratic primary results roundup, Oregon county parties change rules to endorse challenger in OR-05

Texas results roundup

Texas held the nation’s first midterm primaries on Tuesday. Races in which no candidate received a majority of the vote are headed to May 24 runoffs. Here’s a roundup of results from marquee Democratic primaries, current as of Thursday morning. 

The big story of the night: Cuellar and Cisneros in runoff

Texas’ 28th Congressional District: Incumbent Rep. Henry Cuellar and Jessica Cisneros are headed to a runoff. They received 48.4% and 46.9%, respectively. Tannya Benavides received 4.7%. 

Cuellar, who first joined Congress in 2005, is a member of the Blue Dog Coalition and was the only House Democrat to vote against federal legislation to legalize abortion in September. Cuellar says he brought funding to the district for public education, healthcare services, small businesses, veteran’s programs, and immigration services. Cisneros, an immigration attorney, supports Medicare for All and has criticized Cuellar’s positions on abortion, immigration, and pandemic response.

In the 2020 Democratic primary, Cuellar defeated Cisneros 51.8% to 48.2%.

Other marquee primary results

U.S. House

  • Texas’ 15th: This race was too close to call as of Thursday morning. Ruben Ramirez led with 28.3%. Vying for second were Michelle Vallejo with 20.1% and John Villarreal Rigney with 19.2%. Six candidates ran.
  • Texas’ 30th: Jasmine Crockett and Jane Hamilton advanced to a runoff with 48.5% and 17.0% of the vote, respectively. Nine candidates ran. Incumbent Eddie Bernice Johnson (D) didn’t seek re-election.
  • Texas’ 34th: Rep. Vicente Gonzalez Jr. won with 64.8%. Laura Cisneros was second with 23.3%. Seven candidates ran. Gonzalez represents the 15th District and chose to run in the 34th after redistricting. Incumbent Filemon Vela (D) didn’t run for re-election. 
  • Texas’ 35th: Greg Casar won with 61.3%. Eddie Rodriguez had 15.6% and Rebecca J. Viagran, 15.5%. Four candidates ran. This seat is open as incumbent Lloyd Doggett (D) ran in the 37th after redistricting. 
  • Texas’ 37th: Rep. Lloyd Doggett won with 79.2%. Donna Imam was second with 17.8%. Four candidates ran.

State executive

  • Attorney General: This race was too close to call as of Thursday morning. Rochelle Garza received 43.1%. Vying for second were Joe Jaworski with 19.6% and Lee Merritt with 19.5%. Five candidates ran.

Media analysis

The Texas Tribune‘s Joshua Fechter said the following about primary results in terms of incumbents and challengers:  

Texas’ top Republicans mostly fended off challengers in the GOP primary Tuesday. Meanwhile, a slate of progressives made inroads in Democratic primaries for Congress — but fell short of their goal of an immediate sweep that would reshape the Texas’ U.S. House delegation.

Meanwhile, the status quo was largely preserved in the Texas Legislature. No state Senate incumbents lost their seats Tuesday night. In the House, one sitting Democrat lost and no incumbent Republicans were knocked out, though a few were forced into runoffs. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Speaker Dade Phelan both saw the vast majority of their favored candidates win primaries in the chambers they preside over.

The New York Times‘ Reid J. Epstein said the following of progressives’ performance in House primaries:

Progressives frustrated by Mr. Biden’s stalled social policy agenda were looking for a boost in Texas and got one — possibly three.

Greg Casar, a former Austin city councilman, won easily Tuesday night and appears poised to come to Washington next year from his safely Democratic district. Another progressive contender, Jessica Cisneros, forced a runoff with Representative Henry Cuellar, a moderate who narrowly defeated her in the 2020 primary but is now under investigation by the F.B.I.

Jasmine Crockett, a state lawmaker who was among the ringleaders of Texas Democrats’ flight to Washington to delay new Republican voting laws last summer, has a large lead but appears bound for a runoff in a Dallas-area district. …

Together, Mr. Casar, Ms. Cisneros and Ms. Crockett would bring new energy to the liberal wing of the House and to “the Squad” of progressive Democrats. Last month, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York came to Texas to campaign for Mr. Casar and Ms. Cisneros.

Following rules changes, Linn and Deschutes County Democrats endorse challenger in OR-05

Democratic Party leaders in Oregon’s Linn and Deschutes counties voted last week to change their committees’ rules against endorsing candidates in primaries. Both parties then endorsed Jamie McLeod-Skinner in the 5th Congressional District Democratic primary. 

McLeod-Skinner, who was the Democratic nominee for Oregon’s 2nd Congressional District in 2018 and ran for Oregon Secretary of State in 2020, is challenging incumbent Rep. Kurt Schrader. Schrader was first elected in 2008 and is a member of the Blue Dog Coalition, New Democrat Coalition, and Problem Solvers Caucus. McLeod-Skinner has endorsements from the Working Families Party and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).  

After a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee field organizer spoke on behalf of Schrader at a Deschutes County Democrats meeting on Feb. 10, Deschutes County precinct committee member Sid Snyder said, “[T]he fact that we have the 800-pound gorilla from Washington coming in and weighing in in our primary spurred some of us to say, ‘You know what, we need Deschutes County Democrat voices heard, not just Washington, D.C., Democrat voices heard.'” Noting that redistricting moved the district eastward, Snyder said, “To us, [Schrader is] not an incumbent.” 

According to Daily Kos data, 47% of the new 5th District’s population comes from the old 5th District.

Deschutes County’s rule change only applies to this year’s 5th District primary. Linn County’s new rule applies to all primaries.

So far, Schrader and McLeod-Skinner are the only candidates running in the primary. The filing deadline is March 8 and the primary will be held on May 17. 

Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb endorses Rep. Shontel Brown in OH-11

Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb endorsed Shontel Brown’s re-election bid in Ohio’s 11th Congressional District. Brown defeated Nina Turner in the special Democratic primary last year 50% to 45%. Turner is running against Brown again. 

Bibb mentioned voting rights and federal infrastructure funds Cleveland had received and said, “We won’t be that city of opportunity unless we have a strong voice in Washington that will fight for Cleveland every single day.”

Bibb assumed office in January, succeeding Mayor Frank Jackson, who endorsed Turner in last year’s primary. Turner endorsed Bibb’s mayoral bid (after the primary, in which she endorsed a candidate who didn’t advance).

Brown took office in November and succeeded Marcia Fudge, who left office to become secretary of housing and urban development. Brown was on the Cuyahoga County Council from 2015 to 2021 and chairs the county Democratic Party. Turner was a state senator from 2008 to 2015 and co-chaired Bernie Sanders’ 2020 presidential campaign.

The primary is scheduled for May 3. Ohio’s congressional district boundaries are in the process of being redrawn. 

Ad shines spotlight on CO-03 Democratic primary

Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District Democratic primary was in the news last week when candidate Alex Walker announced his bid with an ad featuring graphic language and visuals, including feces falling from the sky. 

Walker said, “We are real Coloradans. We deserve a living wage, small government that actually works, and freedom of choice. Instead, we have bull****.” 

Walker’s isn’t the first ad in the race with a fecal focal point. Last May, attorney Cory Wilhelm released an ad in which he said, “Our current representative is full of bull***, and I’m not bull***.”

At least nine candidates are running in the Democratic primary. Six have filled out Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey:

As of Dec. 31, Sandoval, a community organizer, led Democrats in fundraising with $535,000. Wilhelm had $305,000, including $281,000 he loaned his campaign. Two other Democrats had raised six figures—state Rep. Donald Valdez at $286,000 and veterinarian Debby Burnett at $179,000.

Incumbent Lauren Boebert (R) raised more than $3.5 million as of Dec. 31. Boebert was first elected to represent the 3rd in 2020 after defeating incumbent Scott Tipton in the Republican primary 55% to 45%.

Competitiveness data: West Virginia’s primaries

West Virginia’s filing deadline for federal and state elections was Jan. 29. We’ve crunched some numbers to compare how competitive the primaries will be compared to recent election cycles:

U.S. House

Due to population changes, the state lost one district and was apportioned two ahead of the 2022 cycle. West Virginia was apportioned three congressional districts after the 2010 census. All three incumbents filed to run for re-election, two of whom—Reps. David McKinley (R) and Alexander Mooney (R)—are running in the same district.

State legislature

During the 2020 redistricting cycle, the legislature changed the makeup of the House of Delegates. Previously, the chamber had 67 districts with a total of 100 members. Now, the chamber has 100 single-member districts. This did not change the number of delegates, but it increased the number of possible primaries from 134 to 200.

Notes on how these figures were calculated:

  • Candidates per district: divides the total number of candidates by the number of districts holding elections.
  • Open districts: divides the number of districts without an incumbent running by the number of districts holding elections.
  • Contested primaries: divides the number of major party primaries by the number of possible primaries: four in the U.S. House and 234 in the state legislature.
  • Incumbents in contested primaries: divides the number of incumbents in primaries by the number seeking re-election in the given election cycle.


Heart of the Primaries 2022, Republicans-Issue 12

Welcome to The Heart of the Primaries, Republican Edition

March 3, 2022

In this issue: Texas GOP primary results roundup and a Senate leadership disagreement in N.C.

Texas results roundup

Texas held the nation’s first midterm primaries on Tuesday. Races in which no candidate received a majority of the vote are headed to May 24 runoffs. Here’s a roundup of results from marquee Republican primaries, current as of Thursday morning. 

The big stories: Taylor suspends campaign, Paxton and Bush go to runoff

Texas’ 3rd Congressional District: Incumbent Van Taylor and Keith Self advanced to a runoff with 48.7% and 26.5%, respectively. Taylor suspended his campaign on Wednesday, saying, “About a year ago, I made a horrible mistake that has caused deep hurt and pain among those I love most in this world. … I had an affair, it was wrong, and it was the greatest failure of my life.” 

The Texas Tribune‘s Patrick Svitek said that “no other race in Texas this year seems to more reflect the debate within the GOP over the fallout from Jan. 6.” Taylor was one of two House Republicans from Texas—and 35 House Republicans nationwide—who voted last May to establish a commission to investigate the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol breach. Self, a former Collin County judge, criticized Taylor’s vote. Five candidates ran in the primary.

Attorney General: Incumbent Ken Paxton and state Land Commissioner George P. Bush advanced to a runoff with 42.7% and 22.8%, respectively. Former state supreme court Justice Eva Guzman received 17.5% and U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, 17%. 

Svitek and the Tribune‘s James Barragán wrote during the primary, “Gohmert and Paxton are … vying for the same conservative voters who are further right than the establishment GOP. Bush and Guzman appear to be fighting over traditional, pro-business Republicans.”

A grand jury indicted Paxton on securities fraud charges in 2015, and former aides have accused him of bribery and abuse of office. Paxton has denied wrongdoing in both cases.

Other marquee primary results

U.S. House

  • Texas’ 1st: Nathaniel Moran won with 62.9%. Joe McDaniel was second with 24.3%. Four candidates ran. The district is open—incumbent Rep. Louie Gohmert (R) ran for attorney general.
  • Texas’ 8th: This race was too close to call as of Thursday morning. Morgan Luttrell led with 52.2%. Christian Collins was in second with 22.3%. Eleven candidates ran. Incumbent Rep. Kevin Brady (R) didn’t seek re-election.
  • Texas’ 15th: Monica De La Cruz Hernandez won with 56.5%. Mauro Garza was second with 15.3%. Nine candidates ran. The district is open—incumbent Vicente Gonzalez Jr. (D) is running for re-election in the 34th District after redistricting.
  • Texas’ 38th: Wesley Hunt won with 55.3%. Mark Ramsey had 30.2%. This is a newly created district following redistricting.

State executive

  • Governor: Incumbent Greg Abbott won with 66.4%. Next were Allen West and Don Huffines with 12.3% and 12.0%, respectively. Eight candidates ran in the GOP primary.
  • Agriculture Commissioner: Incumbent Sid Miller won with 58.5%. James White was second with 31.1%. Three candidates ran.

State legislature

  • State legislative: There were 62 Republican state legislative primaries. Nine were for the state Senate and 53 were for the state House. Two incumbent senators and 30 incumbent representatives faced primaries. No incumbent Republicans lost primaries on Tuesday.
    • Both incumbent senators in contested primaries won on Tuesday. No Republican state senator has lost in a primary or runoff since 2014. 
    • Four of five state Senate candidates Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) endorsed won primaries. The fifth is headed to a runoff. 
    • There are three runoffs in the House with GOP incumbents—in districts 12, 60, and 85. Two GOP House incumbents were in primaries that haven’t been called yet (districts 64 and 91). In 2020, no GOP House incumbents lost in primaries, and two lost in runoffs.

Media analysis

The Texas Tribune‘s Joshua Fechter said the following about primary results in terms of incumbents and challengers:  

Texas’ top Republicans mostly fended off challengers in the GOP primary Tuesday. Meanwhile, a slate of progressives made inroads in Democratic primaries for Congress — but fell short of their goal of an immediate sweep that would reshape the Texas’ U.S. House delegation.

Meanwhile, the status quo was largely preserved in the Texas Legislature. No state Senate incumbents lost their seats Tuesday night. In the House, one sitting Democrat lost and no incumbent Republicans were knocked out, though a few were forced into runoffs. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Speaker Dade Phelan both saw the vast majority of their favored candidates win primaries in the chambers they preside over.

FiveThirtyEight‘s Geoffrey Skelley said the following about the relation between the primary results and House incumbents’ votes on certifying the 2020 election results: 

I mentioned earlier tonight the strong hold that Trump continues to have on the GOP in Texas (many Republicans in the state have a popular view of the former president), and indeed, there were many strong performances by Republican incumbents who voted against certifying the 2020 election in the U.S. House — every one handily won renomination or looked to be on their way in a couple of uncalled races.

But in an example of how our politics are often full of contradictions, most Republicans who voted to certify the election did well, too — except Rep. Van Taylor … Taylor faced a number of attacks for his vote to certify the 2020 election results and for his support of a commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

U.S. Senate candidates in N.C. disagree on Senate leadership

Veteran Marjorie K. Eastman, former Gov. Pat McCrory, and former U.S. Rep. Mark Walker participated in the first U.S. Senate GOP primary debate in North Carolina on Feb. 26. Walker and McCrory disagreed on the topic of Senate leadership. 

The issue arose when Walker was discussing an 11-point plan Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) released that Scott said the GOP should adopt as its agenda. 

Walker said, “I applaud Sen. Rick Scott. … In fact, I think he needs to be the majority leader instead of Mitch McConnell moving forward. … How are you going to change something unless you put new leadership into the pipeline?”

McCrory said, “McConnell brought a change in the Supreme Court working with Donald Trump that we desperately needed, and without his legislative skills, it wouldn’t have happened.”

Eastman didn’t say who she’d support for leader.

McConnell, currently Senate minority leader, has said he will not release a GOP agenda ahead of the midterms. On March 1, McConnell said, “If we’re fortunate enough to have the majority next year, I’ll be the majority leader. I’ll decide in consultation with my members what to put on the floor.” 

Scott, for his part, has said he would support McConnell for majority leader. Scott chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee and said he released the plan separate from that work. In addition to this session of Congress, McConnell was minority leader from 2007 to 2015 and majority leader from 2015 to 2021. 

Rep. Tedd Budd, who Trump endorsed in the Senate primary in North Carolina, was invited to the debate but did not attend. His campaign previously said he wouldn’t participate in debates until the filing deadline passed.

More than a dozen candidates are running in the primary so far. Eastman, Benjamin Griffiths, and Lichia Sibhatu filled out Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey—click on their names to read their responses. The primary is scheduled for May 17.

Sen. Richard Burr (R) isn’t seeking re-election. He was one of three GOP senators up for re-election this year who voted guilty in Trump’s 2021 impeachment trial.

Inhofe announces U.S. Senate retirement, triggering special election

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) announced he’ll retire effective Jan. 3, 2023, four years before his term expires. Inhofe is one of seven senators—six Republicans and one Democrat—to announce retirements at the end of the 117th Congress.

Under state law, a special election to fill the remainder of Inhofe’s term will take place on Nov. 8, at the same time as the regularly scheduled midterm elections. The special primary election is expected to take place on June 28 with a runoff election on Aug. 23 if no candidate wins a majority of the vote. 

Michael Crespin, the director of the Carl Albert Congressional Research & Studies Center at the University of Oklahoma, said, “I expect the primary to be very crowded. … It’s pretty rare for a U.S. Senate seat to open up.” Inhofe was first elected in 1994.

Luke Holland, U.S. Rep Markwayne Mullin, and state Sen. Nathan Dahm announced their candidacies shortly after Inhofe’s announcement. 

Holland has served as Inhofe’s chief of staff since 2017. Holland said he shares Inhofe’s policy positions and would continue Inhofe’s legacy. Inhofe endorsed Holland in his resignation letter, saying, “[Holland] is a fierce conservative and the best person to continue my legacy of a strong national defense and investment in local infrastructure.” 

Mullin said in a tweet, “We need an America First conservative fighting for Oklahoma in the Senate.” Mullin has represented Oklahoma’s 2nd Congressional District since 2013. 

Dahm, who represents District 33 in the Oklahoma State Senate, said in a post on his campaign Facebook page, “We continue to run on my record as THE proven Republican fighter.” Dahm was previously challenging Sen. James Lankford in the GOP primary for the state’s regularly scheduled Senate election this year.

Inhofe won a fifth term after defeating Abby Broyles (D) 63% to 33% in 2020. Oklahoma hasn’t elected a Democrat to the Senate since 1990, and the winner of the Republican primary is expected to have an advantage in the special general election.

Competitiveness data: West Virginia’s primaries

West Virginia’s filing deadline for federal and state elections was Jan. 29. We’ve crunched some numbers to compare how competitive the primaries will be compared to recent election cycles:

U.S. House

Due to population changes, the state lost one district and was apportioned two ahead of the 2022 cycle. West Virginia was apportioned three congressional districts after the 2010 census. All three incumbents filed to run for re-election, two of whom—Reps. David McKinley (R) and Alexander Mooney (R)—are running in the same district.

State legislature

During the 2020 redistricting cycle, the legislature changed the makeup of the House of Delegates. Previously, the chamber had 67 districts with a total of 100 members. Now, the chamber has 100 single-member districts. This did not change the number of delegates, but it increased the number of possible primaries from 134 to 200.

Notes on how these figures were calculated:

  • Candidates per district: divides the total number of candidates by the number of districts holding elections.
  • Open districts: divides the number of districts without an incumbent running by the number of districts holding elections.
  • Contested primaries: divides the number of major party primaries by the number of possible primaries: four in the U.S. House and 234 in the state legislature.
  • Incumbents in contested primaries: divides the number of incumbents in primaries by the number seeking re-election in the given election cycle.

Incumbent candidates in IL-15 primary comment on Ukraine

U.S. Reps. Rodney Davis and Mary Miller are running in Illinois’ 15th Congressional District GOP primary. Both commented on the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The Chicago Tribune‘s Rick Pearson said Miller’s response “was in stark contrast to the reactions from the rest of the delegation, including the four other Illinois Republicans in the House” who denounced Putin. Several also called for sanctions.

Miller said on Feb. 24 that “Americans miss the ‘Peace Through Strength’ and energy independence that were achieved during the Trump Administration.” Miller criticized Biden on the withdrawal from Afghanistan, immigration policy, and energy policy, saying, “None of this would be happening if President Trump was still in the White House.” Trump endorsed Miller in the primary.

Davis tweeted on Feb. 24 that he “join[s] the free world in strongly condemning Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. […] Thugs like Putin only respond to strength. Now is the time for severe economic consequences.” He called for sanctions through passing the Putin Accountability Act and for increased military spending in the upcoming defense budget. 

A Davis press release from January said the Putin Accountability Act would “bypass the Biden Administration’s soft-on-Russia approach.”

Miller was first elected in 2020 to represent Illinois’ 15th. Davis was first elected in 2012 to represent the 13th. According to data from Daily Kos, 28% of the newly drawn 15th District’s population comes from Illinois’ old 13th District (which Davis represents) and 31% comes from the old 15th District (which Miller represents). Three independent race forecasters rate the general election Solid or Safe Republican.

Illinois’ primaries are scheduled for June 28.



Paxton, Bush advance to runoff in Texas Attorney General Republican primary

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and George P. Bush advanced to a May 24 primary runoff, after neither candidate received more than 50% of the vote in the March 1 primary election.

Paxton won 42.7% of the vote, while Bush won 22.4%. Candidates Eva Guzman and Louis Gohmert received 17.8% and 17.1% of the vote, respectively.

Paxton was first elected Attorney General in 2014. He was re-elected in 2018, defeating Justin Nelson (D) 50.6% to 47%. Paxton ran on his record as Attorney General—a record he says includes challenging the Biden administration in court and guarding religious freedom.

In June 2021, former President Donald Trump (R) endorsed Paxton. Paxton said, “As the values conservative endorsed by President Trump, I am proud of my record standing up to and defeating the Biden Administration – repeatedly. I stand by my record and values, and ask each voter to join President Trump in standing with me for a safer and stronger Texas.”

Bush is the Texas Land Commissioner, a position to which he was first elected in 2014. His campaign has focused on border security, law enforcement, combating human trafficking, and restoring integrity to the office.

Bush said allegations that Paxton engaged in criminal misconduct make him unfit for office. In 2015, Paxton was indicted on three counts related to securities fraud violations. The case is still open, and no trial has been scheduled. In 2020, the FBI opened an investigation into claims that Paxton used the Office of the Attorney General to benefit a political donor. Paxton has denied wrongdoing in both cases.

Bush said: “Texans deserve a top advocate that’s above reproach, not under indictment, focused on the job, going to defend our state against federal overreach, but also take on progressive mayors that are doing everything, for example, here in Austin, such as defunding the police.”

Texas has had a Republican attorney general since 1999.

At the time of this writing, the Democratic primary had not been decided. Rochelle Garza had 43.6% of the vote, while Joe Jaworski had 19.6%.



Cuellar, Cisneros head to runoff in TX-28 Democratic primary

Incumbent Henry Cuellar and Jessica Cisneros advanced to a May 24 runoff in the Democratic primary for Texas’ 28th Congressional District. In the March 1 primary, Cuellar received 48.4% of the vote, followed by Cisneros with 46.9% and Tannya Benavides with 4.7%.

This year’s primary is a rematch of the 2020 primary, which Cuellar won outright with 51.8% of the vote to Cisneros’ 48.2%.

Cuellar, in Congress since 2005, is a member of the Blue Dog Coalition. He was the only Democrat in the U.S. House opposed to federal legislation legalizing abortion in a September 2021 floor vote. Cuellar’s campaign said he had used his position on the House Appropriations Committee to bring funding to the district for public education, healthcare services, small businesses, veteran’s programs, and immigration services.

Cisneros is an immigration attorney and supports Medicare For All, access to reproductive planning and contraception, a pathway to citizenship for immigrants, and the For The People Act as key policy goals. Cisneros criticized Cuellar for his abortion stance, his votes on federal immigration proposals, and his response to the coronavirus pandemic, citing the latter as a key reason she ran again.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus endorsed Cuellar. Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Justice Democrats endorsed Cisneros. The San Antonio Express-News Editorial Board, which backed Cuellar in the 2020 primary, endorsed Cisneros in the 2022 primary.



Sid Miller wins Texas Agriculture Commissioner Republican primary

Incumbent Sid Miller defeated Carey Counsil and James White in the Republican primary for Texas Commissioner of Agriculture on March 1, 2022. With 98% of polling locations reporting, Miller received 59% of the vote, followed by White with 31% and Counsil with 10%.

Miller was first elected agriculture commissioner in 2014 and was re-elected in 2018. He was formerly a member of the Texas House of Representatives, representing District 59 from 2001 to 2013. Former President Donald Trump (R) endorsed Miller in December 2021. Miller said, “I’m a political maverick … I’m the only statewide [official] that actually holds liberals accountable and the establishment Republicans accountable.” According to The Dallas Morning News‘ Sami Sparber, Miller said he ran for re-election because there were “projects [he needed] to finish before [he moved] on.” The Texas Tribune‘s James Barragán wrote, “Miller said voters should reelect him because he has a track record of successfully running the agency.”

According to Barragán, Miller’s Republican and Democratic challengers “[called] his ethics into question while linking him to the recent arrest of [longtime political consultant Todd Smith].” Miller responded to criticism from his opponents: “We have the highest ethics of any elected official in the state. … These guys are way behind. They’re desperate, and desperate candidates do desperate things. … They’re trying to confuse people with misinformation, paint me in a bad light. It’s not going to work. People know me. I’ve got a stellar record as your Ag Commissioner.”

Counsil, an economics professor and rancher, said, “I think people are tired of the status quo and people are tired of the career politicians and people want fresh blood. People want people that are in the industry.” The editorial board of The Dallas Morning News and The Amarillo Pioneer‘s publisher’s committee endorsed Counsil in the Republican primary.

White, who has represented District 19 in the Texas House of Representatives since 2011, said he was a “proven conservative who will restore integrity to this crucial agency that oversees over $115 billion in annual economic impact to our state.” According to The Dallas Morning News, White “[ran] on a platform of organizational reform,” and “promised to make the pricing process for permits and licenses ‘methodological and transparent.'” The editorial boards of the Houston Chronicle, the San Antonio Express-News, and the Austin American-Statesman endorsed White in the Republican primary.

Miller faced two challengers in the 2018 Republican primary and won the party’s nomination by a margin of 33 percentage points.

Additional reading:



Casar wins Democratic primary in Texas’ 35th Congressional District

Greg Casar defeated three candidates—State Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, consultant Carla-Joy Sisco, and former San Antonio City Councilwoman Rebecca Viagran—in the Democratic primary election for Texas’ 35th Congressional District on March 1, 2022. 

Incumbent U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D) is seeking re-election in the 37th District, leaving the 35th District open for the first time since its creation following the 2010 census.

Race forecasters have rated the Hispanic-majority 35th District, which contains portions of Austin and San Antonio, as Solid Democratic.

During the primary, Casar, a member of the Austin City Council from 2015 to 2022, received endorsements from groups like the Texas AFL-CIO, the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and elected officials including Sen. Bernie Sander (I-Vt.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.). 

In a campaign ad, Casar said, “working families … deserve a progressive leader who will always fight and deliver for reproductive rights, good jobs, Medicare for All, and a better Texas.”

In the Nov. 8 general election, Casar will face one of the 10 candidates who ran in the district’s Republican primary. The winner of that nomination likely will not be decided until after a May 24 runoff election since no single candidate is poised to receive a majority vote according to unofficial results.

If elected in November, Casar, who is 32 years old, likely would be the fourth-youngest member of Congress.

Additional reading:



Monica De La Cruz Hernandez wins nine-candidate Republican primary for TX-15

Monica De La Cruz Hernandez advanced from the Republican Party primary in Texas’ 34th Congressional District on March 1, 2022. As of 7:45 a.m. ET on March 2, 2022, De La Cruz Hernandez had received 56 percent of the vote and Mauro Garza was second with 15 percent. Nine candidates ran in the primary election. Incumbent Vicente Gonzalez Jr. (D) ran for re-election to Congress in Texas’ 34th Congressional District.

De La Cruz Hernandez is an insurance agent from Edinburg. She was the 2020 Republican nominee in the district and lost to Gonzalez 50.5% to 47.6%. De La Cruz Hernandez’s key campaign issues included immigration policy, investments in oil and natural gas, and school choice. Former President Donald Trump and 16 Republican members of Congress—including U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.)—endorsed De La Cruz Hernandez.

Garza is a businessman from San Antonio. His campaign focused on fiscal policy, border security, and funding for police and the military. Garza was primarily a self-funded candidate, who loaned his campaign $195,000 as of January 2022 according to the Federal Election Commission. In 2020, Garza lost to Rep. Joaquin Castro (D) in Texas’ 20th Congressional District 64.7% to 33.1%. In the 2018 election cycle, Garza did not advance from an 18-candidate Republican primary in Texas’ 21st Congressional District.

According to The Texas Tribune, Texas’ 15th Congressional District became more favorable to Republicans as a result of redistricting. Joe Biden (D) won the district by two percentage points in the 2020 presidential election. Trump would have won the new district by three percentage points. As of February 2022, three race rating outlets considered the general election to be either Lean or Tilt Republican.

Additional reading:



U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez Jr. wins Democratic primary in Texas’ 34th Congressional District

U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez Jr. advanced from the Democratic Party primary in Texas’ 34th Congressional District on March 1. Gonzalez, who currently represents Texas’ 15th Congressional District, elected to run in the 34th District after redistricting. As of 11:15 pm E.T. on March 1, Gonzalez had received 65% of the vote, and Laura Cisneros was second with 23%.

Incumbent Filemon Vela (D) announced in March 2021 that he would not run for re-election and endorsed Gonzalez on October 27, 2021. Gonzalez was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2016.

Gonzalez’s campaign website said that he supported increasing funding for Medicare, expanding Social Security to adjust for cost-of-living adjustments and inflation, and increasing funding for mental health and healthcare services for veterans. He said a goal of his was to create a full-service VA hospital in the Rio Grande Valley.



Greg Abbott wins Texas governor Republican primary

Incumbent Greg Abbott defeated seven other candidates in the Republican primary for governor of Texas on March 1, 2022, and will advance to the Nov. 8 general election. As of 10:30 p.m. EST, 68% of precincts had reported. Abbott led with 68% percent of the vote, followed by Allen West with 11.9% and Don Huffines with 11.2%. No other candidate had received more than 4% of the vote.

Reuters‘ Joseph Ax and Julia Harte wrote, “Abbott is facing at least two credible Republican rivals for the first time in his tenure,” referring to Huffines and West. The Houston Chronicle’s Jeremy Wallace wrote about intraparty conflicts over Abbott’s responses to the coronavirus, saying, “Abbott was the target of GOP-led protests for his early moves to allow mask mandates and restrict business operations.”

No incumbent governor in Texas has lost their party’s nomination since 1978 when Gov. Dolph Briscoe (D) lost to then-Attorney General John Hill (D). Republicans have won every gubernatorial election in Texas from 1994 to 2018 by an average margin of 16.9 percentage points.

Abbott was first elected governor in 2014 and was re-elected in 2018. Before becoming governor, Abbott was a justice on the Texas Supreme Court from 1996 to 2001. He also served three terms as state attorney general from 2002 to 2015. Abbott said he would “[continue] to build on his record as a strong conservative leader who fights to preserve Texas values.” He said, as governor, he “achieved significant legislative victories to build a safer, freer, and more prosperous future for Texas.” Abbott received endorsements from President Donald Trump (R) and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).

Huffines was a member of the Texas Senate representing the Dallas-area District 16 from 2015 to 2019. He owns a real-estate development company in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Huffines said Abbott was not conservative enough and that “Texans deserve a real leader who delivers actual results rather than lies,” adding that he would “finish the wall, secure our elections, and ban vaccine mandates.” Huffines received endorsements from former U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) and U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.).

West represented Florida’s 22nd Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2011 to 2013. West was elected chairman of the Republican Party of Texas in 2020 and held the position until resigning in 2021 to run for governor. Before entering politics, West was a member of the U.S. Army from 1983 to 2004, retiring as a lieutenant colonel. West said that, during the coronavirus pandemic, “[T]he leadership in Austin was complicit in shutting down businesses, enforcing illegal mandates, and undermining the rights of Texans.” West received endorsements from former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and Grassroots America: We The People.

Also running in the primary were Paul Belew, Daniel Harrison, Kandy Kaye Horn, Rick Perry, and Chad Prather.



Texas argues public transport mask mandate exceeds CDC authority

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) and the Texas Public Policy Foundation on Feb. 16, 2022, filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas aiming to block enforcement of the Biden administration’s federal mask mandate for public transport. The mandate, issued by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is in place through March 2022, according to CNN, and requires individuals to wear masks in transportation hubs and on public transportation (e.g., airplanes, buses, trains, boats, and taxis).

The lawsuit argues that the mask mandate is unconstitutional because the CDC does not have the authority to issue the order. The plaintiffs claim in part that CDC’s statutory authority does not allow the agency to enforce preventative measures against individuals of unknown infection status. The plaintiffs also claim that the mandate violates the nondelegation doctrine by transferring lawmaking power to the executive branch. Congress, according to the plaintiffs, unconstitutionally delegated lawmaking power to CDC when it failed to enact appropriate statutory limits to prevent the agency from making new laws, such as the mask mandate.

The CDC and the Department of Health and Human Services had not issued a response to the lawsuit as of Feb. 24, 2022.