Voters in Texas head to the polls Tuesday for round two of primary voting, as the state hosts more than 30 runoffs in races where no candidate won a majority back in March.
In the Seventh District, progressive activist and former journalist Laura Moser faces off against Lizzie Pannill Fletcher, a Houston attorney. The race gained national attention after the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee released an opposition research file against Moser — a move that backfired and propelled her into today’s runoff.
The winner will go on to challenge Republican incumbent Rep. John Culberson in November. Moser and Fletcher represent the two schools of thought on how to turn ruby red Texas purple: by turning out diverse, progressive new voters or appealing to moderate, crossover Republicans. Tuesday’s primary will test whether unabashed progressivism can win in the Lone Star state.
Gina Ortiz Jones and teacher Rick Treviño face off in a Democratic primary for the 23rd District, which is a prime pickup opportunity for Democrats. It’s flipped blue before, and Clinton won it in 2016. The winner will challenge Republican Rep. Will Hurd, a former CIA officer elected in 2014.
Democrats Lupe Valdez and Andrew White are also vying for a chance to challenge Gov. Greg Abbott in November, but Abbott is one of the most popular governors in the state and will likely sail to reelection.
Seriously competing in Texas is still a long shot for Democrats. But the fact that there are fields of Democratic candidates lining up to challenge incumbents is notable in a state where those primary fields were empty just two years ago.