Feb 15, 2024 - News

Bexar County races to watch in Texas' primary election

Illustration of a pencil filling in a ballot with the checkbox in the shape of the state of Texas.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Early voting for Texas' primary election begins Tuesday and runs through March 1.

Why it matters: While many voters will turn out for the presidential contest, Bexar County voters will also cast ballots in multiple local races of note.

  • Below are some to watch.

Details: Find a list of Bexar County early voting locations and sample Democratic and Republican ballots online.

  • Election Day is March 5.

U.S. Senate

State Sen. Roland Gutierrez, D-San Antonio, wants to take on Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz — but first faces U.S. Rep. Colin Allred, a Democrat whose district includes Dallas.

Why it matters: Cruz has been considered one of the few vulnerable Senate Republicans in 2024, with groups spending big in hopes of booting him from office.

Details: There are seven other candidates on the ballot, but Gutierrez and Allred are considered frontrunners.

Yes, but: Nearly 40% of Democratic primary voters were recently undecided in the race, per a recent poll from the Hobby School of Public Affairs at the University of Houston.

Zoom in: Allred has taken a bipartisan stance, while Gutierrez has been unabashedly liberal.

U.S. House District 23

Incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Tony Gonzales represents this sprawling border district that runs from the outskirts of San Antonio to West Texas.

  • He faces four challengers on the Republican ballot: Victor Avila, Julie Clark, Brandon Herrera and Francisco Lopez.

Why it matters: The Texas GOP censured Gonzales last year for diverging from the party on gun safety laws following the mass school shooting in Uvalde, part of his district.

  • Since then, Gonzales has fallen more in line with Republicans, particularly on immigration, the New York Times reported.

Zoom in: Gonzales is a U.S. Navy veteran first elected in 2020.

  • Avila is a former U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent.
  • Clark is a businesswoman and former chair of the Medina County Republican Party.
  • Herrera is a firearms manufacturer.
  • Lopez worked for U.S. Border Patrol and served in the Army.

Texas House District 121

Republican incumbent Rep. Steve Allison is facing a primary challenge from Marc LaHood and Michael Champion in this north San Antonio Texas House district.

Why it matters: Allison voted against Gov. Greg Abbott's school voucher plan last year.

  • Abbott is now spending big this primary season to undercut fellow Republicans who defied him — including Allison.

Zoom in: Allison is a business attorney first elected in 2018.

  • LaHood's name is also familiar to voters. The criminal defense attorney lost an election to unseat Democratic District Attorney Joe Gonzales in 2022.

Texas House District 118

Two Democrats are vying to take on Republican incumbent Rep. John Lujan in this south San Antonio Texas House district.

Why it matters: The district is closely watched as one of the few competitive state House races left after the last round of redistricting, per the Texas Tribune.

Details: Lujan, a former firefighter and sheriff's deputy, won a special election in 2021 and was reelected narrowly in 2022. Before that, the seat was held by a Democrat.

  • Democrats Kristian Carranza and Carlos Quezada face off in the March primary.

Zoom in: Carranza has worked in politics across the country after growing up on the South Side.

  • Quezada is a former judge and trustee for Harlandale Independent School District.

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