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Tuesday, September 29, 2020

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Texas primary election results to determine what’s coming in November


Jiselle Santos/The Cougar

Jiselle Santos/The Cougar

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic and blistering summer temperatures didn’t stop Texas voters from turning out in record numbers to cast their ballots in the primary runoff election on July 14.

More than 224,000 people in Harris County voted in that week’s election, with more than 154,000 opting to vote early. In total, 43,208 people submitted ballots early for the Republican party, while 111,105 submitted early for the Democratic party, according to Click2Houston. 

The high Democratic turnout gives College Democrats president Blake McNeill hope for the November election. 

“We are incredibly excited about the results from the runoff!” McNeill said. “This high turnout shows signs of energy and enthusiasm among the democratic voter base.” 

Several key outcomes emerged from the election results.

Air Force veteran M.J. Hegar won the U.S. Senate Democratic primary runoff against state Sen. Royce West of Dallas with 52.1 percent of the vote. If Hegar secures victory over Sen. John Cornyn in November, it will be the first time a Democrat has won statewide office in 25 years. 

U.S. House of Representatives races across the state included several candidates backed by President Donald Trump or incumbents departing from office.

Former White House physician Ronny Jackson won Texas’ 13th Congressional District Republican primary runoff against lobbyist Josh Winegarner with 55.6 percent of the vote. 

As Trump’s preferred candidate Trump, Jackson ran a campaign based on his close relationship with the president. Jackson will face off against Democrat Gus Trujillo, an office manager for the Amarillo Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, in November. 

After being ousted from his congressional seat in Texas’ 32nd Congressional District in 2018, Pete Sessions returned to his hometown of Waco and won the state’s 17th Congressional District Republican primary runoff against incumbent-endorsed Renee Swann with 53.5 percent of the vote. 

Sessions will have to go up against Democrat Rick Kennedy before he can reclaim a role in the House. 

Fort Bend County sheriff Troy Nehls beat out conservative activist Kathleen Wall in the 22nd Congressional District Republican primary runoff with 70 percent of the vote. Nehls will run against Democrat Sri Preston Kulkarni in November. 

In the 23rd Congressional District Republican primary runoff, the Trump-backed Tony Gonzalez won over Sen. Ted Cruz’s pick, Raul Reyes, by less than 10 votes. Gonzales will face off against Democrat Gina Ortiz Gonzalez in November. 

Educator and mother Candice Valenzuela won the 24th Congressional District Democratic primary against former Air Force fighter pilot Kim Olsen with 50.4 percent of the vote. If she beats Republican candidate and former Irving mayor Beth Van Duyne in November, Valenzuela will become the first Afro-Latina member of Congress. 

The general election in November will determine the candidates that serve Texas and its diverse communities in the House and Senate for the upcoming years. McNeill stresses the importance of voting as a way for college students to make a change in the country.

“Given the unprecedented times that we are currently living through, with everything from social justice movements to the literal health of the country … If you are dissatisfied with the trajectory of the country, then the most important thing you can do is go vote on November 8,” McNeill said.

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