Early voting for Texas primaries begins
Monday marks the first day of early voting for Texas' March 1 primaries, in which voters will choose the candidates who will face off in the Nov. 1 election.
Why it matters: The Republican primaries for statewide office amount to a test of Donald Trump's hold on the party.
- The winner of the Republican primary in these races is a good bet to win the general election — no Democrat has won statewide for nearly three decades.
- The incumbents are brandishing their Trump endorsements to ward off challengers, some of whom are proud MAGA supporters.
Details: Gov. Greg Abbott is facing challenges related to his handling of the pandemic from his right flank, including former state senator and DFW-area businessman Don Huffines and former state GOP chair Allen West, among others.
- Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, embroiled in a series of investigations, is squaring off against Land Commissioner George P. Bush — nephew and grandson of the former presidents — former state Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman, and far-right U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert.
- Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, whose right-hand man was recently indicted on felony theft charges, is being challenged by East Texas lawmaker James White and another Republican.
Congressional, state House and Travis County commissioner seats are also among the long list of spots up for grabs.
Here are some Austin-area contested races we're watching:
- In the heavily Democratic 35th Congressional District, which takes in part of Travis County, there is the face-off between former Austin City Council Member Greg Casar and Texas House Rep. Eddie Rodriguez.
- Seven candidates are vying to replace Rodriguez in Texas House District 51, which includes parts of Central and East Austin. They include lawyer Lulu Flores, data scientist Matt Worthington, state worker Cynthia Valadez-Mata and progressive organizer Cody Arn.
- Brigid Shea hopes to hold on to her Travis County commissioner, Precinct 2 seat against community organizer Bob Libal, and Margaret Gómez faces a challenge on her left from Del Valle school board member Susanna Ledesma-Woody.
Before you head to the polls:
- Double check that you're registered to vote. Texas' deadline to register is 30 days prior to an election, meaning if you're not yet registered, you'll have to vote with a provisional ballot.
- Go over your party's ballot. It's long. Travis County voters can find their personalized ballots here.
- Review the state's list of acceptable forms of ID, including a driver's license, passport and Texas handgun license.
Of note: If no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote, the top two vote-getters will compete in a May 24 runoff.
- You must vote for the same party's runoff that you selected for the primary.
Early voting runs from Feb. 14-25.
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