Texas’ March 5 primary election is around the corner, and if you’re voting in Harris County, there are at least 10 LGBTQ candidates on the ballot. From incumbent contenders to hopeful newcomers, local queer politicians are determined to advance to their respective November general elections. Read on to learn more about the LGBTQ candidates vying for office.
Charles A. Spain
for Justice of the 14th District Court of Appeals
Justice Charles A. Spain is running for reelection for the Place 4 judge of the Texas 14th District Court of Appeals. The court covers 10 counties in Southeast Texas, including Harris. When he was first elected in 2018, Spain, who is gay, made history as the first LGBTQ appellate judge in Texas. Prior to serving as judge, Spain worked as an associate municipal court judge in Houston and as a senior staff attorney with the Texas 1st District Court of Appeals.
For more info, visit spainforjustice.com.
for Texas Senate District 15
Houston-born Molly Cook—an ER nurse, community organizer, and an advocate for a more sustainable Texas—is running in the Democratic primary for Texas Senate District 15. In 2022, Cook, a bisexual woman, ran for the same senate seat against incumbent John Whitmire, who is now mayor of Houston. In that election, Cook took 42 percent of the vote, giving Whitmire his narrowest margin of victory since the early 1990s.
For more info, visit mollyfortexas.com.
for Texas House District 134
Representative Ann Johnson is running for reelection in Texas House District 134, a West Houston district. Johnson, who is a lesbian, is a member of the Texas House LGBTQ Caucus, a legislative caucus dedicated to defending the rights of queer Texans. While in office, Johnson has passed legislation protecting doctors who perform emergency abortions and laws adding six new criminal courts in Harris County.
For more info, visit annjohnson.com.
for Texas House District 139
Known for her unwavering dedication to social justice and community empowerment, Mo Jenkins is running to represent Texas House District 139 in Northwest Houston. The Black trans woman and proud Texas native is a graduate of Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi. She currently serves as the committee director for the Texas House Corrections committee, where she helped defeat school vouchers and establish the Open Burn Pits Registry Fund.
For more info, visit mojenkins.com.
Lauren Ashley Simmons
for Texas House District 146
Hoping to create “a seat at the table” for all, Lauren Ashley Simmons is running to represent Texas House District 146 in Southwest Houston. Endorsed by Equality Texas—an organization that works to secure the rights of LGBTQ Texans—Simmons is a queer Black woman, mother, and activist. Simmons currently organizes Black low-income women and migrant women to get fair wages, improved working conditions, and better job security.
For more info, visit laurenashleysimmons.com.
Ashton P. Woods
for Texas House District 146
Civil-rights activist Ashton P. Woods is running for Texas House District 146. Woods, a gay man, is the co-founder and lead organizer of Black Lives Matter Houston. He was also a part of the first cohort of Mayor Sylvester Turner’s LGBT Advisory Board. Woods’ campaign platform includes voting rights, gun reform, criminal justice reform, climate change initiatives, and more.
For more info, visit ashtonpwoods.com.
for Texas House District 147
Representative Jolanda Jones is running for reelection to Texas House District 147, which includes parts of downtown Houston, the Washington Ave. Corridor, the Museum District, EaDo, and South Houston. After winning a special election in May 2022, Jones became the first out LGBTQ Black representative in the Texas Legislature. Prior to taking office, the Houston attorney served as a school board and Houston City Council member.
For more info, visit jolandajones.com.
for Judge of Criminal District Court 178
Judge Kelli Johnson is running for reelection to serve as judge for the 178th Criminal District Court. Since taking her oath of office in 2017, Johnson has presided over cases ranging from low-risk state jail felonies to capital murder. Prior to serving as a criminal judge, Johnson was a former assistant district attorney in the Harris County District Attorney’s Office.
For more info, visit judgekellijohnson.com.
for District Attorney
District Attorney Kim Ogg is running for a third term. After being elected in 2016, Ogg, a lesbian, became the nation’s highest-ranking openly LGBTQ law-enforcement official. Ogg is endorsed by the LGBTQ+ Victory Fund, an organization that works to increase the number of out queer elected officials at all levels of government.
For more info, visit kim-ogg.com.
for Judge of Probate Court 5
Attorney, mediator, and judge Fran Watson is running to serve as judge of Probate Court 5, Harris County’s newest probate court. Watson, who has 14 years of legal experience, has worked in private practice, served as associate municipal judge for the City of Houston, and is now working as a staff attorney for Harris County Probate Court 2.
For more info, visit franwatsonforjudge.com.
Election Day is March 5. Early voting runs February 20 to March 1. For
polling places, visit harrisvotes.com.