WASHINGTON — Election Day is in two months and Democratic momentum is surging across the country — particularly in Texas. Democrats need to flip just nine seats to win a majority in the Texas House for the first time in nearly two decades, and Republicans are running scared in their former stronghold. In light of Democrats’ advantage in the state, the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee is unveiling the full slate of Spotlight Candidates who will flip the Texas House blue in November.
“Republicans are openly panicking about Texas, and it’s not hard to see why,” said DLCC President Jessica Post. “Trump’s toxic unpopularity and the GOP’s abject failure to tackle the issues Americans face is dragging down candidates at all levels of the ballot. Texas Republicans have been retiring left and right and we’re challenging more districts than the GOP for the first time in recent memory. Make no mistake, the momentum is on our side, and we have an incredible slate of challengers who are going to flip Texas blue in November.”
During his 2018 Senate bid, Beto O’Rourke carried nine Republican-held districts in the Texas House, giving Democrats a clear path to victory this fall. The full slate of Spotlight Candidates includes 29 community leaders who will hold the extremist Texas GOP accountable in just two months. The 21 new additions include:
- Sarah DeMerchant (HD-26), a community activist and equal pay advocate who founded an app to combat the gender wage gap.
- Dr. Eliz Markowitz (HD-28), a health care expert and educator who’s running to support public schools and eliminate health disparities across the state.
- Representative Vikki Goodwin (HD-47), a small business owner who has advocated for Medicaid expansion and fair redistricting.
- Representative James Talarico (HD-52), an eighth generation Texan and former public school teacher who is committed to educational opportunity.
- Representative Michelle Beckley (HD-65), a small business owner who defeated a Republican incumbent in 2018 and has fought to expand Medicaid.
- Sharon Hirsch (HD-66), an advocate for stronger schools who came within 400 votes of flipping this seat in 2018.
- Lorenzo Sanchez (HD-67), a first-generation American and small business owner who is fighting to protect equal access to education for all Texans.
- Jeff Whitfield (HD-92), an Air Force veteran and Texas native who is fighting for affordable health care and fully-funded schools.
- Lydia Bean (HD-93), an educator and nonprofit founder who’s running to stand up to politicians who prioritize special interests.
- Alisa Simmons (HD-94), a nationally-renowned expert on the 9-1-1 public safety system who is running to bring transformative leadership to the legislature.
- Joe Drago (HD-96), a lawyer who is fighting to reform the criminal justice system and stand up for reproductive rights.
- Representative Ana-Maria Ramos (HD-102), a first-generation American who flipped her seat in 2018 to give underprivileged Texans a voice in Austin.
- Representative Terry Meza (HD-105), an educator who has spent her adult life fighting for better conditions for women and minorities.
- Joanna Cattanach (HD-108), a Texas native and educator who came within 220 votes of flipping this seat in 2018.
- Brandy Chambers (HD-112), a respected attorney who is fighting to tackle climate change and reform the criminal justice system.
- Representative Rhetta Andrews Bowers (HD-113), a former educator who understands the importance of strong public schools and has fought to expand access to health care.
- Representative John Turner (HD-114), an experienced attorney who has fought to increase education funding and support first responders.
- Celina Montoya (HD-121), a small business owner who is running to expand Medicaid and address Texas’s unacceptable maternal mortality rate.
- Natali Hurtado (HD-126), a community advocate who worked in the legislature and saw firsthand how the GOP has failed to resolve the issues facing Texans.
- Representative Jon Rosenthal (HD-135), a mechanical engineer who defeated a 12-term incumbent and has fought to expand Medicaid.
- Akilah Bacy (HD-138), an advocate and attorney who led the charge against workplace distrimination and is working to ensure access to affordable health care.
The Texas House is one of the top targets in the DLCC’s $50 million “Flip Everything” campaign to win Democratic majorities this year. Since Trump’s election, the DLCC and state Democrats have flipped over 450 seats and 10 chambers from red to blue.