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Obama Endorses Two Openly LGBTQ Candidates in Texas

Former president backs out Democrats Gina Ortiz Jones and Julie Johnson, as well as Lizzie Pannill Fletcher in Houston.

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By Patrick Svitek 

Former President Barack Obama has backed nine more Democratic candidates in Texas as part of his second round of midterm endorsements.

The nine candidates include challengers in two of Texas’ most competitive congressional races: Lizzie Fletcher, who is running against U.S. Rep. John Culberson, R-Houston, and Gina Ortiz Jones, who is taking on U.S. Rep. Will Hurd, R-Helotes. Jones is vying to become the first openly LGBTQ Texan elected to Congress. The Texans that Obama endorsed also include two who are likely to become the state’s first Latina congresswomen: Veronica Escobar, who is running to replace U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-El Paso, and Houston state Sen. Sylvia Garcia, who is vying for the seat being vacated by retiring U.S. Rep. Gene Green, D-Houston.

Rounding out the list of Obama’s latest endorsements in Texas are five state House candidates. One is Dallas state Rep. Eric Johnson, who is running for re-election, and the four others are all in races that Democrats are targeting as pick-up opportunities:

  • Ana-Maria Ramos, who is running to unseat state Rep. Linda Koop, R-Dallas
  • Terry Meza, who is in a rematch with state Rep. Rodney Anderson, R-Grand Prairie
  • Rhetta Bowers, who is running against Republican Jonathan Boos for the seat being vacated by outgoing state Rep. Cindy Burkett, R-Sunnyvale
  • Julie Johnson, who is challenging state Rep. Matt Rinaldi, R-Irving. Johnson would become the fourth openly LGBTQ member of the Legislature.

Jones and Johnson are among 55 openly LGBTQ candidates in Texas this year.

In August, Obama got behind two Texans as part of his first wave of midterm endorsements, backing Colin Allred against U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Dallas, and Adrienne Bell against U.S. Rep. Randy Weber, R-Friendswood. Allred and Bell were alumni of Obama’s administration and 2012 re-election campaign, respectively.

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at https://www.texastribune.org/2018/10/01/barack-obama-endorses-texas-candidates/. Additional reporting by OutSmart staff. 

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