Texas poised to elect first two Latina congresswomen in its history


The Lone Star State's congressional delegation is finally starting to look more like Texas.

In the nearly two centuries of its statehood, Texas has never sent a Latina to Congress. Now, Democratic voters there have decided to elect not one, but two.

In Texas' El Paso-based 16th Congressional District, where incumbent Democrat and rising star Beto O'Rourke just officially clinched the nomination for Senate, voters have given former county judge Veronica Escobar the nod to replace him in the House.

And in Houston, state Sen. Silvia Garcia took the nomination for Texas' 29th Congressional District. "I wanted Latino girls and boys to to know this is a state of opportunity and it's a welcoming state," said Garcia. "You have to work hard and believe in yourself and you can do it."

Both of these congressional districts are heavily Democratic, and Escobar and Garcia will be facing only token opposition in the general election — all but assuring they will join the Texas delegation.

And the new bench of Latina candidates is only the beginning.

Democrats all over Texas had cause to celebrate last night, as they finished off their primaries with record high midterm turnout — an 84 percent increase over 2014, versus just a 13 percent increase for the GOP.

As Cook Political Report's Dave Wasserman notes, Lone Star Democrats still have an uphill battle in statewide races, but turned out their voters in all the cities and suburbs they need for a shot at defeating vulnerable Republican House incumbents, like John Culberson of Houston, Pete Sessions of Dallas, and Will Hurd of San Antonio.

The nomination of Escobar and Garcia also marks the leading edge of a wave of women running for office. Thirty-six women declared runs for congressional seats in Texas alone this cycle.

The primary results in Texas are yet another sign that America is on the cusp of a political sea change. And the electorate is just getting started.