Primary Results for Women in Texas

March 7, 2018

The Texas primary is not over. Sixteen women candidates – one for governor and 15 for the U.S. House – will compete in May runoffs for their party’s nomination. However, another 17 women – 3 for statewide elected executive offices and 14 for the U.S. House – were successful in securing nominations to compete in the November’s general election.

Based on these results, it is very likely that the number of women in the Texas congressional delegation will increase by at least two – from 3 to 5 of 38 members – in the 116th Congress. Those 2 likely additions are both Latina Democrats – Veronica Escobar (TX-16) and Sylvia Gonzalez (TX-29) – who would be the first Latinas to represent Texas in Congress. According to the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP), just 13 Latinas from 7 states have ever served as voting members in Congress. Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL) was the first Latina elected to Congress in 1989. She is not running for re-election this year.


All 3 (1D, 2R) women candidates for the U.S. Senate lost their primary bids in Texas this year.


In the Texas primary, more than half of the women candidates for U.S. House (29 of 50) either won nomination or secured a position in a primary runoff contest.

Fourteen (12D, 2R) of the 50 (37D, 13R) women candidates for the U.S. House secured their party’s nomination. This matches the total number of women nominees for U.S. House from Texas (after runoff contests) in the 2012 election.

Of these nominees:

  • 3 (2D, 1R) are incumbents likely to win re-election in November.
  • 2 (2D) more, both Democrats, secured nominations for open seats that are solidly Democratic, according to Cook Political Report. Both of these women – Veronica Escobar (TX-16) and Sylvia Garcia (TX-29) – would be the first Latinas ever elected to Congress from Texas.
  • 9 (8D, 1R) women will be challengers to incumbents in the general election.

Another 15 (13D, 2R) women candidates will compete in May runoffs for House nominations in Texas. Of these candidates:

  • 6 (4D, 2R) are competing for nominations in open seat contests in House districts. Three of these women – all Republicans – were the top vote-getters in the first primary contest. Among these women candidates, just one – Republican Bunni Pounds (TX-5) – is competing for nomination in a House district that highly favors her party; Pounds came in second in the first primary vote count.
  • 9 (9D) are competing for nominations to run as challengers to 7 House incumbents in November. In both TX-7 and TX-31, women are both candidates in the runoff contests. Of these contests, just one – TX-7 – appears competitive for the female challenger in November’s election. Democrat Gina Ortiz Jones (TX-23) – is running in a district deemed slightly competitive by Cook Political Report. If she wins the Democratic nomination, Jones will challenge Representative Will Hurd (R) in a district won by Hillary Clinton in 2016. In TX-32, Democrat Lillian Salerno came in second in the first primary vote. She is running in a House district that currently leans Republican. The remaining four districts are rated solidly in favor of the incumbents.

The remaining 21 (12D, 9R) women candidates for the U.S. House were defeated in the primary election.


Two (1D, 1R) women were candidates for gubernatorial nominations in the TX primary election. Democrat Lupe Valdez lead Democratic primary with 43% of the vote; she will face Andrew White in a May runoff for the Democratic nomination. Republican Barbara Krueger was defeated by incumbent Greg Abbott.


Three (2D, 1R) women candidates ran for statewide executive offices other than governor. Each of them won their party’s nominations; incumbent Railroad Commissioner Christi Craddick secured the Republican nomination for re-election; Democrat Kim Olson was unopposed in seeking nomination to challenge incumbent Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller; and Democrat Joi Chevalier will be her party’s nominee to challenge incumbent Comptroller Glenn Hegar.