Texas Democratic Primary Results

Brief overview of key congressional races
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Run-offs feature impressive new talent. In other races, one incumbent loses, while two others show impressive strength by winning outright.

Key Run-offs

Congressional District 33 Tarrant/Dallas Counties

CD33 is the only truly new minority opportunity district under the court-ordered Texas redistricting map. As expected, Fort Worth-based State Representative Marc Veasey and Dallas-based lawyer Domingo Garcia finished first and second in an eleven-candidate field. However, Veasey emerges from the first round in better shape, having exceeded expectations by garning almost 40 percent of the vote and running more than 10 points ahead of Garcia. Veasey not only dominated in his Fort Worth State House District but also ran stronger in Dallas County than expected. Meanwhile, Garcia, even after pouring more than half a million of his own money in the race, performed below expectations. Garcia ran first in Dallas County, however, the county turn-out was significantly lower than in Tarrant. Also, Garcia appears to have lost some Hispanic votes to both David Alameel and Marc Veasey.

Name
Votes
Vote %
Marc Veasey
6,938
37%
Domingo Garcia
4,714
25%
Kathleen Hicks
2,368
13%
David Alameel
2,064
11%
Manuel Valdez
883
5%
Steve Salazar
482
3%
Chrysta Castaneda
395
2%
Jason Roberts
342
2%
Carlos Quintanilla
286
2%
Kyev Tatum
201
1%
J.R. Molina
188
1%

Clash of Styles

As the Lone Star Project has detailed in a number of reports, Marc Veasey and Domingo Garcia have very different styles and backgrounds. The 41-year-old Veasey has an even temperament and an inclusive style. Garcia is a generation older at 54 and brings a combative and divisive personality to his political activity that often alienates fellow Democrats.

What to watch for

Over the next few days, both candidates will work to gain the support of candidates who did not make the run-off and other local North Texas Democratic leaders who stayed out of the first round. As a wealthy lawyer, Garcia does not have to focus on fundraising, but must overcome considerable bad will to expand upon his relatively narrow base in Dallas County. Veasey has a solid base in Tarrant and appeals to many Dallas Democrats. However, he is not independently wealthy, so he must raise funds aggressively in the coming weeks while simultaneously working to broaden his coalition.

Congressional District 23 – Bexar County/West Texas

CD23 is the most competitive Texas congressional district in the fall, so it is important that Democrats nominate the strongest candidate to challenge GOP incumbent Francisco Canseco. Most observers, including the Lone Star Project, consider State Representative Pete Gallego the strongest candidate in the fall. However, former Congressman Ciro Rodriguez once again showed his strength among Bexar County Democrats by garning 46 percent of the vote. Gallego, however, ran just six points behind. Gallego remains the strongest candidate in a match-up with Canseco, but he must overcome the long-time good will among voters built up by Ciro Rodriguez.

Name
Votes
Vote %
Ciro Rodriguez
17,281
46%
Pete Gallego
14,979
40%
John Bustamante
4,950
13%

Congressional District 34– Brownsville/Cameron County

CD34 is basically a replacement district for old CD27 and is not considered a new minority opportunity district. However, it is a safe Democratic district, with the winner of the Democratic primary becoming the presumptive Member of Congress. The CD34 race has not received much attention outside the Rio Grande Valley. Filemon Vela ran well ahead of everyone else in the crowded field with just over 40 percent of the vote. No one else reached even 15 percent. Vela will be considered the strong favorite in the run-off.

Name
Votes
Vote %
Filemon Vela
18,223
40%
Denis Blanchard
5,805
13%
Ramiro Garza
5,572
12%
Salomon Torres
4,741
11%
Armando Villalobos
3,924
9%
Anthony Troiani
3,637
8%
Juan Guerra
2,196
5%
Elmo Aycock
935
2%

Reyes Goes Down

Congressional District 16 – El Paso

The biggest surprise across the state was the outright loss by Congressman Silvestre Reyes to Beto O’Rourke. While the race was originally seen as competitive, the belief was that Reyes would run first, and that the endorsements of President Obama and Bill Clinton would blunt any real damage. Clearly, those views were wrong. O’Rourke was able to mobilize dissatisfaction among progressives for Reyes and soundly defeated the incumbent. The district is safely Democratic, so O’Rourke is now the presumptive Member of Congress from CD16.

Name
Votes
Vote %
Beto O’Rourke
23,248
50%
Silvestre Reyes
20,427
44%
Jerome Tilghman
1,270
3%
Buddy Mendoza
701
2%
Paul Johnson
417
1%

Savy Incumbents Win Outright

Congressional District 35 – Austin/San Antonio

As expected, Congressman Lloyd Doggett easily won the primary outright, once again showing his strong appeal to progressive voters. While there was some nervousness during early voting due to low turnout in Austin, it is now clear that Doggett had things in hand from the outset. The district is strongly Democratic, so Congressman Doggett is safe in the fall.

Name
Votes
Vote %
Lloyd Doggett
14,540
73%
Sylvia Romo
4,212
21%
Maria Luisa Alvarado
1,105
6%

Congressional District 30 – Dallas

CD30 is perhaps the best example of those outside a community not understanding what is going on inside. While observers in Washington and in Austin were intrigued by the appeal and fundraising strength of challenger Taj Clayton, virtually no one in North Texas thought Congresswoman Johnson was ever in serious danger of losing her seat. Congresswoman Johnson is an iconic figure in North Texas and is still regarded with great affection. Just as important, she still knows how to campaign aggressively. She took her campaign seriously and easily dispatched her challengers. Taj Clayton badly underperformed, running third and gaining barely over 10 percent of the vote.

Name
Votes
Vote %
Eddie Bernice Johnson
23,333
70%
Barbara Caraway
5,994
18%
Taj Clayton
3,978
12%
 

 

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