Action by Working Families Helps Produce Solid Wins, Noble Losses

Via "Daily Email News" from Texas AFL-CIO Communications Director - Ed Sills

The primary elections yesterday produced strong results for COPE-endorsed candidates in Democratic primaries. Working families honored the COPE theme of "Rise Up! All In!" often in victory, sometimes in "to be continued" runoffs, and a few times in defeat.

A giant turnout, which dwarfed that of an equally hot presidential primary in 2016, is a good omen for Nov. 3. When the numbers are run, we believe the labor vote and the data on our level of activity on behalf of endorsed candidates will be impressive. Moreover, in many large-county battleground districts, Democrats voted at higher levels than Republicans even as both parties had strong turnouts.

Election Day turnouts in several cities overran the capacities of polling places, creating inexcusable lines. In turn, it took long hours to figure out the fate of candidates in major races. 

If you are looking for patterns, one of them is that in congressional races, Democratic challengers who did well in the harbinger election of 2018 and returned for 2020 were rewarded, either winning nomination or leading the way into runoffs. Base-building can carry over. Another pattern: While COPE-backed incumbents did well, in several cases, when voters believed an incumbent is deserting them on key issues, they sent messages.

Case in point: Close losses can be heart-breaking, but the election in Congressional District 28 was a heartening affirmation of labor's commitment to independent action and authentic grass-roots campaigning. In a supreme effort, Jessica Cisneros, the COPE-backed candidate, held U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar under 52 percent -- a result not finalized until the middle of the night. Cisneros dramatically cut Cuellar's typical margin in Webb County and performed exceptionally well in Bexar County, but could not overcome deficits in some of the rural counties. Cuellar - who voted against the PRO Act, extolled the virtues of so-called "right to work" laws and voted against the AFL-CIO positions more than almost any other Democrat in Congress - is the long-time incumbent who controlled the political machinery in the largest portion of Congressional District 28. He had the enthusiastic backing of the House Speaker. Yet he did not enjoy the usual incumbent's money advantage because Cisneros was able to raise $2 million in a massive outpouring of small contributions averaging $26. And Cuellar didn't come close to matching the energetic door-knocking campaign by Cisneros, of which union members were a key part.

In the end, as Cisneros said, "The first thing we had to defeat was the culture of fear - and our movement was victorious in proving we're within striking distance of bringing fundamental change to South Texas." She added that "a movement scared a machine." What an amazing run.

Texas's battleground status has motivated a large number of quality candidates. Central Labor Councils and the Gulf Coast Area Labor Federation will consider potential COPE endorsements for the May 26 runoffs or for the Nov. 3 general election in cases where an endorsed candidate lost on Tuesday or, potentially, where no endorsement was made in the first round. As with the initial COPE endorsements, nothing is automatic. If candidates stand with working families, working families will stand with them.

Here are results of nomination contests in which Texas AFL-CIO COPE endorsees faced competitors. (Congratulations, of course, to all unopposed COPE-backed candidates who won nomination.):

Statewide

Railroad Commissioner - Roberto Alonzo in runoff
Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice - Amy Clark Meachum (dual endorsee) wins
Texas Supreme Court, Place 6 - Kathy Cheng wins
Texas Supreme Court, Place 7 - Brandy Voss falls short
Texas Supreme Court, Place 8 -- Gisela Triana wins
Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 3 - Dual endorsees William Demond and Dan Wood fall short
Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 4 - Tina Clinton wins

U.S. House

CD 2 - Sima Ladjervardian leads into runoff
CD 3 - Dual endorsees Sean McCaffity and Lulu Seikaly in runoff
CD 9 - Rep. Al Green wins
CD 10 - Mike Siegel leads into runoff
CD 12 - Lisa Welch (dual endorsee) wins
CD 14 - Adrienne Bell (dual endorsee) wins
CD 17 - Dual endorsees David Jaramillo and Rick Kennedy in runoff
CD 18 - Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee wins
CD 20 - Rep. Joaquin Castro wins
CD 21 - Wendy Davis wins
CD 22 - Sri Preston Kulkarni wins
CD 23 - Gina Ortiz Jones wins
CD 24 - Dual endorsees Kim Olson and Candace Valenzuela in runoff
CD 25 - Julie Oliver (dual endorsee) wins
CD 28 - Jessica Cisneros falls short
CD 30 - Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson wins
CD 31 - Donna Imam in runoff
CD 33 - Rep. Marc Veasey wins
CD 34 - Rep. Filemon Vela wins
CD 35 - Rep. Lloyd Doggett wins

Texas Senate

SD 11 - Susan Criss wins
SD 13 - Sen. Borris Miles wins
SD 19 - Xochil Peña Rodriguez leads into runoff

Texas House

HD 25 - Mitch Thames falls short (GOP primary)
HD 27 - Rep. Ron Reynolds wins
HD 36 - Rep. Sergio Munoz Jr. wins
HD 37 - Amber Medina falls short
HD 38 - Rep. Eddie Lucio III wins
HD 41 - Rep. Bobby Guerra wins
HD 45 - Rep. Erin Zwiener wins
HD 51 - Rep. Eddie Rodriguez wins
HD 65 - Rep. Michelle Beckley wins
HD 76 - Elisa Tamayo falls short
HD 80 - Rep. Tracy King wins
HD 83 - Addison Perry-Franks wins
HD 92 - Jeff Whitfield (dual endorsee) wins
HD 97 - Elizabeth Beck wins
HD 100 - Rep. Lorraine Birabil leads into runoff
HD 108 - Joanna Cattanach wins
HD 109 - Rep. Carl Sherman Sr. wins
HD 116 - Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer wins
HD 121 - Celina Montoya (dual endorsee) wins
HD 126 - Natali Hurtado wins
HD 128 - Josh Markle falls short
HD 129 - Ryan Lee falls short (Republican primary)
HD 131 - Rep. Alma Allen wins
HD 134 - Ann Johnson wins
HD 138 - Akilah Bacy leads into runoff
HD 139 - Rep. Jarvis Johnson wins
HD 141 - Rep. Senfronia Thompson wins
HD 142 - Jerry Davis in runoff
HD 146 - -Rep. Shawn Thierry wins
HD 147 - Rep. Garnet Coleman wins
HD 148 - Penny Morales Shaw in runoff

Placement