Early voting starts Tuesday for some of the most competitive Democratic and GOP contests in recent memory. There are plenty of races statewide and locally attracting attention, none more so than the Democratic presidential primary. This is a look at some of the most notable and most competitive contests.
Early voting runs Feb. 18-28 and Election Day is March 3.
President - Democrats
Texas matters. It’s a new place to be in for Democrats in the state, as candidates often use Texas as an ATM machine and then leave. But Texas has 228 delegates up for grabs on Super Tuesday – the third-largest haul of the entire 2020 Democratic primary. Texas, and other March 3 contests, will be the first chance to see if former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg can turn his relentless advertisements into votes. The most recent poll had him at fourth place statewide. Former Vice President Joe Biden had been the leader in Texas polls, but Bernie Sanders is now a force after strong performances in New Hampshire and Iowa. Sanders is the only other candidate who has been airing ads on local TV in Texas. Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg have paid staffers on the ground, but have work to do to win statewide.
Candidates (in alphabetical order)
Joseph R. Biden
Michael R. Bloomberg
U.S. Senate - Democrats
The sheer number of candidates in this race means a runoff is a near-guarantee. The eventual winner will take on incumbent John Cornyn, who has been amassing money and hopes to avoid the competitive general election race Ted Cruz faced in 2018 against Beto O’Rourke. This Democratic race has gotten lost in the noise of the presidential primary, as several recent polls show no candidate with more than 15 percent support of voters. MJ Hegar, an Air Force veteran who nearly won an Austin-area U.S. House seat in 2018, is at the top of the polls and has an outside group putting up TV ads statewide. Royce West is a longtime State Senator from Dallas and has strong support from black voters. Cristina Ramirez, a labor organizer, is a favorite of progressives. Amanda Edwards is a former Houston councilwoman and has received several Texas newspaper endorsements. Chris Bell was the Democratic gubernatorial nominee in 2006.
Amanda K. Edwards
Jack Daniel Foster Jr.
Annie "Mamá" Garcia
Victor Hugo Harris
Mary "MJ" Hegar
D. R. Hunter
Cristina Tzinztún Ramirez
U.S. House District 12 – Republicans
The former Fort Worth mayor and longtime incumbent has, arguably, the toughest primary challenge in North Texas this cycle. Granger is being challenged from the right by Chris Putnam, a former Colleyville councilman who has the support of anti-tax group The Club for Growth. Putnam has questioned Granger’s pro-choice credentials. Granger has the endorsement of President Trump, but hasn’t had a viable challenger in decades. The district covers parts of Tarrant and Wise counties and all of Parker County.
Kay Granger (incumbent)
U.S. House District 24
Rep. Kenny Marchant is retiring after serving since 2005. He had a surprisingly close win in 2018, defeating Jan McDowell by just three points. This will be one of the most competitive U.S. House races in Texas. The district includes Coppell, H-E-B, and parts of Carrollton, Irving, Addison and Dallas. McDowell has much more competition to win the Democratic nomination this go round, notably Air Force veteran Kim Olson. Olson ran for agriculture commissioner in 2018 and came within five points of defeating the GOP incumbent. Former Irving mayor Beth Van Duyne is the bold faced name on the GOP side. She’s been endorsed by President Trump.
Beth Van Duyne
U.S. House District 32 – Republicans
Rep. Colin Allred knocked off longtime incumbent Pete Sessions in a competitive 2018 general election campaign. Democrats look to keep the seat, as Allred runs unopposed in a primary, while the GOP wants it back. Candidates that have the most attention, so far, are Genevieve Collins and Floyd McLendon. She’s is an executive at an education tech firm her father runs while he’s a retired Navy SEAL and worked for AG Ken Paxton. The district includes Dallas, the Park Cities and parts of Richardson, Garland, Sachse and Wylie.
Texas House District 66 – Democrats
Incumbent Matt Shaeen had a shockingly close win in this Plano district, less than one percent, in 2018. The GOP hopes that margin was a Beto O’Rourke-influenced fluke. Texas Democrats need to flip this seat to take control of the Texas House for the first time in nearly two decades. Hirsch was the Democratic nominee in 2018.
Aimee Garza Lopez
Texas House District 67 – Democrats
Incumbent Jeff Leach won this Plano seat by less than three percent in 2018. This is another seat Democrats are hoping to flip in their quest to take control of the Texas House. The 2018 Democratic nominee in this district isn’t running in 2020, so Leach will have a fresh opponent in the general election.
Rocio Gosewehr Hernandez
Texas House District 92
Arguably the most polarizing figure in the Texas House, Rep. Jonathan Stickland, isn’t running for re-election. He won his Bedford seat by less than three percent in 2018 and it is a major Democratic target – both for it’s symbolic meaning and a seat they need to flip control of the House. Stickland’s 2018 Democratic challenger, Steven Riddell, is running again but has an opponent. Stickland has praised former Bedford councilman Jeff Cason, but hasn’t endorsed in the race. Jim Griffin is a former Bedford mayor and Taylor Gillig is a veteran and small business owner.
Texas House District 108 - Democrats
Democrats believe this Park Cities/Dallas seat is ripe for the taking after Rep. Morgan Meyer won by less than one percent in 2018. Joanna Cattanach nearly knocked Meyer off in the 2018 general election, but she faces a competitive Democratic primary in 2020. Shawn Terry has a well-funded campaign and the two are battling, but could wind up in a runoff.
Shawn D. Terry