The statewide LGBTQ advocacy group Equality Texas and its Texas Equity political action committee were 10 for 10 in Tuesday’s primary elections.
“The Empower Texans crowd (supporters of bathroom bills, school vouchers, and immigration bills like SB4) did not have the night they were hoping to have,” said Chuck Smith, CEO of Equality Texas. “Of 36 candidates they funded (to the tune of $5 million across various PACs and donors) in the House and Senate, 19 lost outright, 10 won, and seven will go to a runoff in May.”
Meanwhile, five state-level candidates endorsed by the Texas Equity PAC won contested primaries: Mark Phariss in Senate District 8, Beverly Powell in Senate District 10, Nathan Johnson in Senate District 16, Mary Gonzalez in House District 75, and Julie Johnson in House District 115. Two other Texas Equity-endorsed candidates, Justin Nelson for attorney general and Steven Kirkland for Texas Supreme Court, were unopposed in the primary.
Additionally, two of three Equality Texas-endorsed federal candidates advanced to the general election— Beto O’Rourke for U.S. Senate race and Veronica Escobar in Congressional District 16—while a third, Gina Ortiz Jones, will be in a runoff in Congressional District 23.
Smith noted that Escobar and state Sen. Sylvia Garcia, D-Houston, are likely to become the first Latina members of Congress from Texas. Both won their primaries in heavily Democratic districts.
Ortiz Jones could become the third Latina—and the first LGBTQ Texan—elected to Congress if she can win her runoff and defeat Republican incumbent U.S. Rep. Will Hurd.