Texas Democrats Vote in Droves in First Primary of 2018

The 2018 midterm elections are now officially underway as millions of Texans cast ballots to pick party candidates in the state primary. The massive turnout — especially of Democratic voters — and the new faces moving forward for the runoffs show a state that is trending away from Republicans and Donald Trump and towards more women, progressives and people of color.

In one race that offered little surprise, Democratic Congressman Beto O’Rourke secured the Democratic primary win to challenge Republican Senator Ted Cruz for his seat in November.

Cruz promptly responded to O’Rourke’s win by releasing a radio jingle mocking the Congressman for going by “Beto” instead of his real name — Robert. He also claimed that “If you’re gonna run in Texas, you can’t be a liberal man,” according to CNN.

O’Rouke, meanwhile, brushed off the childish taunts, saying “name-calling” isn’t what he thinks voters want to talk about.

The Texas Senate race is settled, but some congressional races are still in the process of being nailed down. One of the biggest battles was in the 7th District, where two Democrats will face off in a runoff that many believe will determine who has the power in the Democratic party.

The New York Times reports:

The progressive Laura Moser made the May 22 runoff despite a late attempt by the House Democratic campaign arm to derail her candidacy. Ms. Moser, an author and an organizer, trailed Lizzie Pannill Fletcher, a lawyer, but Ms. Fletcher failed to garner 50 percent of the vote, so they will face off again in a race that will be something of a proxy battle between the moderate and more liberal wings of the Democratic Party.

Moser supporters blame the DCCC for attempting to torpedo their insurgent candidate, while Moser opponents point to Moser’s past racially-toned comments to justify why they believe she shouldn’t be the party nominee.

District 7 isn’t the only place where women were winning, either. “Of the nearly 50 women running for Congress in Texas, more than half won their primaries or advanced to runoffs,” reports Vox. ”Even more striking, at least three of those May runoffs will feature women going head-to-head, including a pivotal race for Democrats in their bid to take control of the House this fall.”

The surge of women candidates opens up a number of potential firsts for Congress in 2019 if they win their seats. Stephanie Schriock, president of the pro-abortion rights women’s political group EMILY’s List, said via statement:

This is an historic night for pro-choice Democratic women in Texas in a year that has seen an unprecedented number of women running for office in the state. EMILY’s List could not be more thrilled to see these strong, diverse leaders advance one step closer to victory this November as they continue their fight for good-paying jobs, stronger public schools, investment in infrastructure, and access to quality, affordable health care. And in a state that has never elected a Latina to Congress, EMILY’s List is particularly proud to congratulate Veronica Escobar and Sylvia Garcia as they both move one step closer to making history this November.

Also potentially making history could be Lupe Valdez, the Hispanic former sheriff of Dallas County. Valdez, the daughter of migrant workers, was just shy of winning outright the Democratic candidacy for governor. He will face off against Andrew White, the son of former Texas Governor Mark White, in May.

Texas Democrats flooded the primaries both on March 7 and in early voting, with more Democrats casting ballots than they did during the 2016 presidential election. Those numbers should encourage anyone hoping for a blue wave come November.

NPR reports:

Driven by anti-President Trump fervor, there were plenty of positive signs for a once-latent Democratic Party in Texas. Early vote turnout for the minority party over the past two weeks had surpassed GOP totals — and even bested their own 2016 numbers. Democrats fielded a record number of candidates in all 36 congressional districts, and there’s the potential to flip maybe three or more seats come November. By the early hours of Wednesday, Democratic vote totals neared 1 million, nearly doubling totals from 2014 and reaching a level not seen in a midterm primary for the party since 2002.

But the outlet noted that due to rural voter turnout, Republicans still cast more ballots overall, numbering around 1.4 million. And that makes winning statewide races still a daunting prospect for Texas progressives.

Texas will finalize its general election candidates after a final runoff on May 22. The next state primary will take place in Illinois on March 20.

Photo Credit: Inter-American Dialogue/Flickr


Marie W
Marie W6 months ago


Leonard T
Leonard Tabout a year ago

It was pointed out on daily kos that some counties in the more rural parts of Texas choose not to run democratic primaries, so people in these areas who want to vote for democratic candidates must travel elsewhere in the state in order to cast their ballots. This is one factor in why the primaries seem so skewed towards the lunatic right, though Abbott's teabaggee candidates mostly didn't fare well either. It remains to be seen whether these skewed results will carry over to the general election when these counties cannot completely block people from voting for dems.

Dan Blossfeld
Dan Blossfeldabout a year ago

This appears to be much ado about nothing. The Texas primary looked fairly normal, with incumbents winning their usual vast majority. Recent polls show better than 80% of Republicans supporting Trump, and a similar fraction of Democrats opposing him. Considering that 60% of the voters in the primary cast their ballots for Republicans, well, do the math.

sharon b
sharon babout a year ago


Angel W
Past Member about a year ago


Deborah W
Deborah Wabout a year ago

Primaries always flood the market, hoping for a few to connect into the generals. Should be an interesting finish ... IF we as individuals follow the histories of each, and vote (without giving insight to the constant polling surveys). THEN VOTE YOUR OWN TRUTH. unshared to the booth.

David F
David Fabout a year ago

More Fake news media hype about Texas everywhere. On Tuesday, CNN asked in a headline, "Can a Blue Wave Take Down Ted Cruz in Texas?" Fourteen hours later Senator Cruz received 1,317,450 votes in a race with four challengers. His Democrat opponent, U.S. Representative Beto O'Rourke only received 641,311 votes against two opponents.

Paul B
Paul Babout a year ago

Joan E. Dems are also the party that puts the rights and well being of criminal illegals AHEAD of the rights and well being of law-abiding citizens.

Paul B
Paul Babout a year ago

According to what I have read, Republican voters in Texas primaries were still 50% higher than Dems voters. It may be big for Dems, but it is STILL bigger for Reps.

Winn A
Winn Adamsabout a year ago