Last week the Texas Citizen Journal profiled the top Republican congressional primaries to watch in Texas. As promised, here are the most noteworthy congressional primaries on the Democratic side of the aisle:
Congressional District 28
District 28th Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-TX) is widely considered to be one of the most moderate Democrats in the U.S. Congress. Representing a district stretching from San Antonio to Laredo, Cuellar has avoided the excesses of the far left in order to appeal to culturally conservative Hispanics in South Texas who are trending Republican. However, Cuellar’s moderation earning him a tough primary challenge in 2020 from progressive Jessica Cisneros, whom he very narrowly defeated. Cisneros is back this cycle for a rematch, and she may be aided by a recent FBI raid on Cuellar’s office. The Cuellar vs. Cisneros rematch is a textbook progressive vs. establishment Democrat battle. However, a Cisneros win would increase GOP chances of flipping the district in November.
Congressional District 35
With Congressman Lloyd Doggett (R-TX) opting to run in the newly created 37th District, his old 35th District is wide open. Based in Austin and connected to San Antonio by a narrow strip running along I-35, Texas’ 35th District is one of the most gerrymandered districts in the country. It is also among the most progressive, and the Democratic primary features a contest between left and far left.
The two front-runners are State Rep. Eddie Rodriguez (D-Austin), who’s left-wing credentials in the legislature are unquestionable. However, Rodriguez seems like a conservative compared to his main opponent, Austin City Councilman Greg Casar, a legit socialist. Casar touts endorsements from a number of national far-left figures such as Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D-NY), Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), and U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). Rodriguez has attacked Casar’s record regarding the City of Austin’s homeless encampments. If Casar wins, he would be one of the most radical members of Congress in the entire country.
Congressional District 30
After decades in D.C., longtime Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (R-TX) is retiring. Her handpick successor in the 30th district, based in Dallas, is State Representative Jasmine Crockett (D-Dallas), a rising star in the Texas Democratic Party. Crockett is the clear front-runner in this race, however, it made the list because the retirement of Johnson and the passing of the torch to a new face is worth noting.
Texas Democrats will have two congressional primaries, the 28th and the 35th, that will provide a clear ideological contrast between more conventional Democrats and far-left socialists. The ideological battle on the Democratic side is much more stark than that in the GOP primaries, where the candidates differ regarding degrees of populism or undivided loyalty to former president Donald Trump rather than dividing along any kind of coherent ideological divide.
The results of the Democratic primaries will be revealing: Will they pursue more of a big tent strategy to appeal to the broader public, or will they continue their march ever further leftward?
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