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House Matchups in Texas Begin to Take Shape

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© Provided by CQ Roll Call, Inc. Air Force veteran Gina Ortiz Jones won the Democratic nomination for Texas’ 23rd District. (Thomas…

By Bridget Bowman, Roll Call

A number of general election matchups in Texas were set following Tuesday’s runoff elections, including a few expected to be competitive in the fall.

Democrats saw new opportunities in the Lone Star state after Hillary Clinton carried three Republican-held seats in 2016. Each of those races on the Democratic side went to a runoff after no one took more than 50 percent of the vote in the March 6 primary. A slew of Republican retirements sparked crowded GOP primaries, which led to runoffs in five open seats. The winners of most of these contests are likely to come to Congress from the Republican-leaning districts.

Check back for updates as the runoffs are called.

GOP-held districts that backed Clinton

Democrats are targeting three districts represented by Republican lawmakers that Clinton carried in 2016.

23rd District

Former Air Force intelligence officer and Iraq War veteran Gina Ortiz Jones won the Democratic runoff in the 23rd District, defeating former high school teacher Rick Treviño. She will face two-term GOP Rep. Will Hurd in November.

With 46 percent of precincts reporting, Jones had 67 percent of the vote to 33 percent for Treviño when The Associated Press called the race.

Democrats have unsuccessfully targeted the seat the past two cycles, but believe Jones’ military service can help counter Hurd’s experience as a CIA officer.

Jones was added to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s Red to Blue program for promising challengers after she finished first in the March primary. If elected, she would be the first Filipina-American to serve in Congress and the first openly gay woman to represent Texas in Washington.

Clinton carried the district by 3 points in 2016. Inside Elections rates the race a Toss-up.

32nd District

Former NFL player Colin Allred won the Democratic runoff in the 32nd District on Tuesday, defeating fellow Obama administration alum Lillian Salerno, who was backed by EMILY’s List.

With 54 percent of precincts reporting, Allred led Salerno, 70 percent to 30 percent, according to the AP.

The DCCC added Allred to its Red to Blue program in late March, signaling it considered Allred the stronger challenger to Republican incumbent Pete Sessions. Clinton carried the Dallas-area district by 2 points in 2016. Inside Elections rates the race Likely Republican.

GOP-held open seats

Five open seats are hosting GOP runoffs Tuesday. In four of them, the winners will be strongly favored for November in the Republican-leaning districts.

The races attracted attention from outside groups. The political arm of the conservative Club for Growth spent nearly $1.5 million in four of the contests. The political arm of the House Freedom Caucus backed candidates in two of the runoffs.

2nd District

Navy veteran Dan Crenshaw won the GOP runoff for Texas’ 2nd District over state Rep. Kevin Roberts. GOP incumbent Ted Poe is not running for an eighth term.

With 22 percent of precincts reporting, Crenshaw led Roberts, 68 percent to 32 percent when the AP called the race.

He next faces Democrat Todd Litton, a nonprofit executive, in November.

President Donald Trump carried the Houston-area seat by 9 points in 2016. Inside Elections rates the race Solidly Republican.

21st District

While the GOP race was still too close, Army veteran and entrepreneur Joseph Kopser won the Democratic nomination for the seat. Democrats are targeting the 21st District and see Kopser as a strong candidate.

With 83 percent of precincts reporting, he led pastor and former teacher Mary Street Wilson, 59 percent to 41 percent, according to the AP.

Trump carried the district by 10 points in 2016 and Inside Elections rates the race Likely Republican.

27th District

Michael Cloud won the GOP nomination in Texas’ 27th District, which opened up after GOP Rep. Blake Farenthold stepped down amid allegations of sexual harassment.

With 88 percent of precincts reporting, Cloud, a former Victoria County GOP chairman, had 61 percent of the vote to 39 percent for former state Water Development Board Chairman Bech Bruun.

Bruun had been endorsed by former Texas Gov. Rick Perry while Cloud was backed by the political arms of the House Freedom Caucus and the Club for Growth, as well as former Texas Rep. Ron Paul.

Cloud will be heavily favored to win the general election against former congressional aide Eric Holguin, who won the Democratic runoff Tuesday. Trump carried the district by 24 points in 2016. Inside Elections rates the race Solid Republican.

Other races

The Democratic nominees in a few Solid Republican races were also decided Tuesday.

31st District

Mary Jennings “MJ” Hegar won the Democratic nomination to take on GOP Rep. John Carter in the 31st District in November.

With 80 percent of precincts reporting, Hegar led Christine Mann, 62 percent to 38 percent, according to the AP.

Democrats have been cautiously optimistic about the seat though the DCCC has not yet added it to its target list. During a 2009 tour of Afghanistan as a search-and-rescue pilot, Hegar saved three of her passengers after her helicopter was shot down by the Taliban, which earned her a Distinguished Flying Cross with Valor Device and a Purple Heart.

Trump carried the 31st District by  13 points in 2016.

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Politics - U.S. Daily News: House Matchups in Texas Begin to Take Shape
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