More than half of the women running for Congress in Texas won in Tuesday's primary elections, outperforming expectations and setting a new record.
Nearly 50 female candidates were on the ballot for Tuesday's voting, The Associated Press reported. Winning Democratic candidates include former El Paso County Judge Veronica Escobar and state Sen. Sylvia Garcia (D), who would be the first Latinas to represent Texas in Congress. Escobar attributed the surge in voter turnout and support for women candidates to a backlash against President Trump.
"I've spoken to innumerable senior citizens, retirees, parents of disabled children, people who understand what this administration means to their families," Escobar told AP. "And they're afraid."
Turnout among Democratic voters surged higher than any non-presidential year primary in 24 years, AP noted, as the party aims to flip three Republican congressional seats this fall. Moreover, much of those extra votes supported the female candidates; in some districts, May runoffs will see two women competing against each other. In Houston's congressional race, liberal activist Laura Moser and lawyer Lizzie Pannill Fletcher will face off this fall, while in southwestern Texas, Iraq War veteran Gina Ortiz-Jones advanced to the runoff as well, with the ultimate goal being to challenge incumbent Rep. Will Hurd (R) in November.
On the other side of the aisle, GOP candidate Kathaleen Wall failed to clinch the nomination, despite outspending all eight of her competitors and being endorsed by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R). Abbott will be challenged by either former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez, Texas' first Hispanic, lesbian sheriff, or Andrew White, the son of former Texas Gov. Mark White (D).