The March 6th Primary election will see a large number of candidates competing for open Congressional seats. In Texas alone, eight seats are open, and the ones of most interest in this area area TX29, Gene Green’s seat, and TX2, Ted Poe’s seat.
Green is a Democrat, but seven Democrats and four Republicans will be on the ballot in March for this position.
Poe is a Republican, and nine Republicans and five Democrats will try to win a spot on the November general election for this position.
Also contested in the primary and general election will be Senator Ted Cruz, up for re-election after his first six year term. He is opposed by four Republicans, and three Democrats including front-runner Beto O’Rourke from El Paso.
These elections have national significance, as the House and Senate could lose their Republican majorities in November. Another interesting Texas race is the governor, where 10 Democrats are running in the primary to oppose Governor Greg Abbott, and two Republicans. Because of the large numbers of candidates running in each of these races, it is anticipated that there will be a run-off election in some, which is scheduled for May 22. Candidates for the TX29 seat given up by retiring Congressman Gene Green include Democratic frontrunner State Senator Sylvia Garcia, real estate agent Dominique Garcia, Houston Attorney Roel Garcia, school teacher Hector Morales, and Beaumont area businessman Tahir Javed.
The 29th District was originally set-up to represent the 77% Hispanic population in that area of Harris County, and runs from Greenspoint and Aldine through East Harris County and Pasadena. It includes all of the cities of Galena Park, Jacinto City, and South Houston, and parts of Baytown, Houston, and Pasadena. With all the Garcia-named candidates running, there is a strong possibility this year that an Hispanic will end up as the candidate. Up until now Gene Green, a non-Hispanic, has won the seat every 2 years since 1992, a testament to his responsiveness to his constituents and their needs. The first year, 1992, he won by only 180 votes out of 31,000 cast in a run-off, but since then he has had solid victories. The population of the 29th District is approximately 758,000 people.
Since all the Democratic candidates but Javed have Hispanic names and heritage, it is likely that this district will finally be represented in Congress by a Hispanic, and perhaps a woman. State Senator Sylvia Garcia laughs at so many Garcias running, and says “You’re talking to the real Garcia” when asked to comment. Green has endorsed Sylvia Garcia for the position shortly after announcing his retirement. One other possible candidate was State Representative Armando Walle, who worked for Green for several years, but Walle has decided to return to the State Legislature instead.
Two candidates will be on the Republican primary ballot, Robert Schafranek and Phillip Aronoff. However, the voters in the district are heavily Democratic.
In District 2, retiring Congressman Ted Poe’s seat will be competed for by Rick Walker, Kathaleen Wall, David Balat, and six other Republicans and five Democrats.
Early voting for the Primary starts February 20th, earlier than most other states, and may determine the outcome. It is expected that nearly half the votes will be cast early.