Several state House members from South Texas, including Lucio’s son Rep. Eddie Lucio III (D-Brownsville), have already endorsed LaMantia, and Lucio himself recently attended one of her campaign events.
Asked about the event, Lucio told The Texan, “I have endorsed her, but I just cut a commercial, you know, endorsing her.”
“I feel very good about her background. I consider her a moderate Democrat and I think that she will do good for South Texas,” said Lucio.
“I certainly, with all due respect, looked at her two opponents in the primary. One’s a Scientologist and the other young man is an incumbent state representative,” said Lucio, referring to Rep. Alex Dominguez (D-Brownsville). “I can put my voting record next to his and it doesn’t match much, unfortunately, on some of the family value issues and conservative issues that I would hope I could have from a state senator.”
Lucio is well known for his moderate positions, supporting Republicans when it comes to pro-life legislation.
For instance, Lucio voted for Senate Bill (SB) 8, or the Texas Heartbeat Act, the landmark law that passed the state legislature last year banning abortions after cardiac activity is detectable.
LaMantia says she has a different position than Lucio on the issue.
“I have great respect for Senator Lucio and have benefitted from his counsel,” LaMantia told The Texan in a statement. “I differ with him on SB 8, however, and would have voted against it, just as his son did in the House. I am one of five sisters and believe the state should respect the autonomy of women to make personal healthcare decisions for themselves.”
Asked how she thinks her position would affect her ability to legislate in a GOP-controlled Senate, LaMantia said, “I would expect my colleagues in the Senate to extend me the respect for voting my principles and my district, just as I would extend that respect to them.”
Lucio, who has placed importance on pro-life issues in connection with his faith, says that he is hopeful LaMantia’s views might change.
“You know, she hasn’t voted yet,” said Lucio. “And I think she hasn’t listened to the debate. I feel confident that hopefully after she does, she might be able to meet people in the middle and try to work things out where it benefits her constituents.”
“But then again, I do not want to, obviously, say that she will do that,” added Lucio. “I’m just hoping.”
Lucio contrasted LaMantia with the other Democrats in the race — namely Dominguez and his previous primary challenger, Sara Stapleton Barrera — who have both taken strong stances on the other side of the abortion issue.
Salomon Torres is a fourth Democratic candidate in the primary, though his position on abortion is less clear. His campaign did not respond to an inquiry at the time of publishing.
“I chose LaMantia because she’s a good businesswoman. I think she’s a great attorney. And her family has contributed to the welfare of the people in the Valley through philanthropic contributions,” said Lucio.
Asked to give a specific example of legislation she would support, LaMantia pointed to Medicaid expansion.
“Health care is critical to the security of every family, but in South Texas we have a crisis with among the highest percentages of uninsured in the state,” said LaMantia. “I believe we can devise a Medicaid expansion plan tailored to Texas, that incentivizes working, extends coverage, and helps bring back billions in federal tax dollars to Texas.”
LaMantia said that her business experience sets her apart from the other candidates in the race, contending that she is “the only with real business experience who knows what it takes to support 1,200 jobs.”
“I also approach decision-making by looking at the data, improving processes, and increasing efficiencies. I don’t come to this race with a political resume, I come with business experience and the drive and know-how to get things done,” said LaMantia.
The race may not be a shoe-in for Democrats come November, though.
After redistricting, Senate District 27 was left as the most competitive Senate seat in Texas.
It still leans toward Democrats, who garnered an average of 57 percent of the vote against Republicans within the new district lines over the last two elections.
But South Texas, where the district is located, is ground zero for Republican attempts to gain more political seats.
“Senate District 27 became a little bit more competitive,” said Lucio. “I wish that other districts in the Valley would have been the same. I think it’s healthy for us to have competitive districts that way the public has a chance to voice their opinions on issues, present the issues to those running, and then go with a choice.”
Three Republicans are competing for the nomination: Adam Hinojosa, Raul Torres, and Isreal Salinas.
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Daniel Friend is the Marketing and Media Manager for The Texan. After graduating with a double-major in Political Science and Humanities, he wrote for The Texan as a reporter through June 2022. In his spare time, you're likely to find him working on The Testimony of Calvin Lewis, an Abolition of Man-inspired novel and theatrical podcast.