Texas is the first test of former president Donald Trump’s endorsement power in the 2022 midterm cycle. Trump is backing at least 30 candidates in the conservative state, many of them Republican incumbents who are likely to prevail anyway. Gov. Greg Abbott, who is seeking a third term and has the former president’s endorsement, is likely to triumph, though it’s possible another Trump-backed candidate, scandal-plagued Attorney General Ken Paxton, could be pushed into a May 24 runoff with George P. Bush and other candidates. A third statewide Republican with Trump’s blessing, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, also seems likely to win his primary Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Democrats are avidly watching whether 17-year incumbent Rep. Henry Cuellar, a conservative Democrat, can fend off a second challenge from Jessica Cisneros, a 28-year-old immigration attorney who is backed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.). The contest comes after a Jan. 19 FBI raid on Cuellar’s home and office in the 28th Congressional District; he hasn’t specified what is happening but maintains his innocence.
Gov. Greg Abbott (R) is seeking a third term in the Lone Star State, and has been campaigning against seven GOP challengers, armed with Trump’s endorsement. He is leaning hard into cultural issues, such as an executive order to ban employers from enforcing vaccine mandates and a bill banning transgender athletes from participating on school sports teams corresponding to their gender identity. Former congressman Beto O’Rourke is likely to easily nab the Democratic nomination to face Abbott in November.
Abbott is projected to win. An estimated 95 percent of votes have been counted.
O’Rourke is projected to win. An estimated 88 percent of votes have been counted.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who also has Trump’s nod, is likely to beat his GOP foes, including Daniel Miller, who believes Texas should secede from the United States. Competing for the Democratic nod to run in November are accountant Mike Collier, who is hoping the second time is the charm; state representative and small businesswoman Michelle Beckley; and Carla Brailey, an associate professor at Texas Southern University and former vice chair of the Texas Democratic Party.
Patrick is projected to win. 93.6 percent of precincts are reporting.
Collier is leading. 91 percent of precincts are reporting.
Politicos are closely watching whether Attorney General Ken Paxton, backed by Trump, can fend off several right-wing challengers after a slew of legal problems, including an indictment for securities fraud since 2015 and an FBI investigation triggered by allegations from members of his senior staff.
Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush, Jeb Bush’s son, is running on a famous political name (Trump, not Bush, even though his uncle was governor in the state) and promising to finish Trump’s border wall while also alleging “massive voter fraud” in 2020. He hopes to force Paxton into a runoff and persuade Trump to rescind his endorsement of Paxton. But he’s not the only Republican in the fight: Rep. Louie Gohmert (R) and former state Supreme Court justice Eva Guzman are also running.
The Democratic candidates are civil-rights attorney S. Lee Merritt and former Galveston Mayor Joe Jaworski.
The election has ended with a runoff between Paxton and Bush.
Garza is projected to win. 91.2 percent of precincts are reporting.
U.S. House Districts
Texas got two new House districts during the redistricting process. But its map is being legally contested for allegedly discriminating against racial and ethnic minorities, although the court process isn’t likely to be concluded by the November general election.
Observers are closely watching the fate of veteran Rep. Henry Cuellar (D) in Texas’s 28th District, who is being challenged by immigration lawyer Jessica Cisneros. Democrats are worried about their national fate in this year’s midterm elections, when Republicans are expected to make gains, and they may see the loss of an incumbent in Texas — a bad sign when at least 31 Democrats have announced their retirement from the House.
Republicans, meanwhile, have their eyes trained on retiring Rep. Kevin Brady’s (R) 8th District, where former Navy SEAL Morgan Luttrell and Christian Collins, a political operative with backing from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), are running.
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