“I believe that District 37 needs a representative who will not only represent the public during the legislative session but will also work in coordination with the County Commissioners Court and city commissions to bring much-needed jobs, infrastructure, and exposure of what this area has to offer for the full two years of the term,” said Dominguez in a statement on his new website.
The Brownsville Democrat has the support of former state Sen. Wendy Davis, who is acting as his campaign treasurer.
“It’s time for a new voice in #SD27, one that reflects the educational, economic and healthcare (including reproductive) needs of the community,” tweeted Davis.
Dominguez began exploring a bid after the House redistricting process left him paired in the district of a fellow retiring Rio Grande Valley representative, Rep. Eddie Lucio, III (D-Brownsville), but before the SD 27 incumbent and his colleague’s father, Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr. (D-Brownsville), announced his retirement.
The state representative is not likely to earn the support of the outgoing incumbent, though.
Lucio, Jr. — known for his pro-life stance that often put him at odds with other Democrats — reportedly told the Texas Observer that he wants someone to succeed him who “has compassion for people — especially the unborn.”
Dominguez lists his top priorities as education, transportation, and jobs and the economy, but he has toed the party line on abortion, voting against measures that Lucio, Jr. has gone so far as to author himself.
In a detailed Rio Grande Guardian interview earlier this year, Lucio, Jr. was critical of Dominguez’s consideration of running for his Senate seat, saying that the Brownsville Democrat “is making a big mistake because he doesn’t have a resume.”
Dominguez will be running against at least one other Democratic candidate in the primary race: Sara Stapleton-Barrera, who ran an aggressive primary race against Lucio, Jr. in 2020.
Currently held by the most moderate Democrat in the Senate, SD 27 still leans safely toward Democrats, though the district — like the rest of South Texas — is on a rightward trend.
That trend was accelerated through the recent redistricting process.
The Texas Partisan Index rating — a metric based on election results in 2018 and 2020 — for SD 27 shifted from a seat where Democrats carried about 63 percent of the vote (D-63%) to D-56% after the new Senate map was signed into law, making it the most competitive Senate district in the state.
Broken down by election year, Democrats on the ballot in the district garnered a median vote of 58 percent against Republicans in 2018 and 54 percent in 2020.
Dominguez’s decision to officially run in the Texas Senate race will leave both his current House district, HD 37, and the one he was drawn into, HD 38, open for freshmen members to fill.
Under the new maps, HD 37 has a TPI rating of D-53% and HD 38 has a rating of D-69%.
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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.