Progressive Coalition Turns on Moderates Democrats
Three progressive organizations — the Texas Organizing Project, the Working Families Party, and the Communications Workers of America — are putting $250,000 into a new coalition called Texans for Better Dems to depose Democrats who do not “reflect the values and beliefs of what [they] have fought for.”
The coalition “will target districts where Democratic House and Senate members have shown that they can’t be trusted to uphold the basic rights of Texans, as well as fight for policies that reflect their priorities and values,” their press release states.
No specific targets were named by the group but votes on marquee legislation could provide a projection. One Democratic senator, Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr. (D-Brownsville), and one Democratic representative, Rep. Ryan Guillen (D-Rio Grande City), voted for the Texas Heartbeat Act that has drawn fervent criticism from the left since it went into effect on September 1.
After a dismal 2020 at the state level, Democrats in the Texas legislature are hoping to replicate the wave of 2018 during which they flipped two seats in the Senate and 12 in the House. But this time, their party is the one in unitary power at the federal level. And so, progressive Democrats are looking to push their current incumbents leftward.
Democrats Oppose ‘Decimation’ of Senate District 10
The Texas Senate’s redistricting map passed that chamber on October 4. All but one Republican voted for it, Sen. Kel Seliger (R-Amarillo) who is facing a Trump-endorsed primary challenger, and three Democrats, Sens. Juan Chuy Hinojosa (D-McAllen), Lucio, and Judith Zaffirini (D-Laredo), supported the bill.
But each of the chamber’s 13 Democrats, including the resisting three, issued a statement of opposition to certain parts of the plan — specifically the proposed map of Senate District 10 that moves it from a slight Democratic advantage to a strong Republican seat.
“[W]e unanimously oppose specific aspects of the plan, most notably, the decimation of Senate District 10,” the journal statement reads.
“In the proposed plan, 19 of the 31 Senate districts, or approximately 60 percent, in effect would be controlled by Anglos, who comprise less than 40 percent of our current population. … Under CSSB 4, the voting strength of minority citizens in SD 10 are intentionally destroyed, and rural Anglo voters are installed as the controlling majority in the district.”
The Senate plan shores up support for most incumbents in both parties, save for SD 10 currently held by state Sen. Beverly Powell (D-Burleson). It now must pass the House before it heads to the governor’s desk for his signature.
Wesley Hunt Pulls in High-Profile Endorsements for Congressional Run
Republican Wesley Hunt lost a close race in Texas’ 7th Congressional District in 2020, coming within 3.5 percent of incumbent Rep. Lizzie Fletcher (D-TX-07). But Hunt will be back in 2022, this time running for the newly drawn 38th Congressional District that Texas gained from the 2020 Census count.
Hunt has already drawn a broad slate of national GOP figures. They include:
- Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)
- Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR)
- Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
- House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA-23)
- House GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik (R-NY-21)
Hunt announced he’d raised $1 million in the third fundraising quarter of 2021. In announcing his TX-38 bid, Hunt said, “The path to stopping Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi is to win back the house, and I’m confident that the voters of Texas’ 38th Congressional District will agree.”
“I have served our country once before and with the support of the voters I look forward to serving again.”
An internal poll by the Hunt campaign has him at 38 percent in a prospective field with second place John Culberson at 19 percent and third place Kathleen Wall at 9 percent.
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Brad Johnson is a senior reporter for The Texan and an Ohio native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2017. He is an avid sports fan who most enjoys watching his favorite teams continue their title drought throughout his cognizant lifetime. In his free time, you may find Brad quoting Monty Python productions and trying to calculate the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow.