Inside/Outside Politics (May 23)

Update 273— Inside/Outside Politics: Texas Draw; History in Georgia

Last night’s primary replicated an emerging pattern: contests in which the two top vote-getters are one establishment or party-backed candidate and one insurgent.

In Georgia, Stacey Abrams won 76.5 to 23.5 percent, a 54 point margin, and made history by becoming the first black woman to win a gubernatorial nomination of a major political party. She is a graduate of Yale Law School and the author of several romance novels.

More on yesterday’s primaries below.






Update on the Senate race: Rep. O’Rourke easily won his primary with 62 percent of the vote and will face of against Sen. Ted Cruz for his seat in November. While O’Rourke remains somewhat unknown to many Texans, an assertive fundraising and advertising campaign is underway to change that. In a recent conversation, Beto identified health care as the issue that Texas voters tell him is the most important economic policy issue facing them today.

TX-23: Ortiz Jones vs. Rep Hurd

    • 2016 Pres. Election Results: Clinton 50/Trump 46
    • 2012 Pres. Election Results: Romney 51/Obama 48
    • 2016 House Results: Hurd (R) 48/Gallego (D) 47
    • Cook PVI: R+1

In TX-23, Gina Ortiz Jones was victorious against Rick Treviño, endorsed by Bernie Sanders, coasting to an easy 68 to 32 percent win. Next, Ortiz Jones will face Republican Rep. Will Hurd in a district that is the Democrats’ best chance to flip a House seat in Texas. She faces a tough but winnable fight against a two-term incumbent opponent who holds a substantial fundraising advantage.

Ortiz Jones’ economic policy platform focuses on job creation, affordable education, and the protection of Social Security and Medicare. As the first lesbian, first Iraq War veteran, and first Filipina-American to represent Texas in Congress, Ortiz Jones would be transformational should she win in November. This race will be down to the wire, but Democrats will need to win this seat to retake the House.

TX-32: Allred vs. Rep. Sessions

    • 2016 Pres. Election Results: Clinton 49/Trump 47
    • 2012 Pres. Election Results: Romney 57/Obama 41.5
    • 2016 House Results: Sessions (R) 71/Rankin (D) 19
    • Cook PVI: R+5

Civil rights attorney and former NFL player Colin Allred won handedly against entrepreneur and attorney Lillian Salerno in yesterday’s TX-32 runoff contest, 70 to 30 percent. Allred will now face 10-term incumbent Rep. Pete Sessions in what stands to be a tight race in northern Dallas.

Allred relied on a progressive economic platform that includes infrastructure spending, increasing the minimum wage to 15 dollars, and paid family leave. Now he will turn this message against the conservative Sessions, who supports a balanced budget amendment and wants to audit the Fed. Given this matchup, TX-32 might serve as a bellwether for economic preferences in Texas.

TX-07: Pannill Fletcher vs. Rep. Culberson

    • 2016 Pres. Election Results: Clinton 49/Trump 47
    • 2012 Pres. Election Results: Romney 60/Obama 39
    • 2016 House Results: Culberson (R) 56/Cargas (D) 44
    • Cook PVI: R+7

After a first round of primary voting in March, TX-07 concluded its runoff voting yesterday, handing an easy 67 to 33 percent win to attorney Lizzie Pannill Fletcher against insurgent candidate Laura Moser. The Emily’s List-backed Pannill Fletcher’s moderate economic platform focuses on the promotion of green technology, investment in STEM education, and the creation of vocational schools.

Observers see the rapidly changing 7th district as an in-play district for Democrats.  While the district has produced Republican stalwarts George H.W. Bush and Bill Archer, Hillary Clinton beat Trump in the Houston-area district by one point in 2016 and recent polling saw incumbent Rep. Culberson trailing the Democrat in a generic ballot.

TX- 21: Kopser vs. Roy

  • 2016 Pres. Election Results: Trump 52/Clinton 42
  • 2012 Pres. Election Results: Romney 60/Obama 38
  • 2016 House Results: Smith (R) 57/Wakely (D) 36
  • Cook PVI: R+10

In TX-21, Democrat Joseph Kopser, an entrepreneur, Army veteran and former Republican, is pitted against Chip Roy, a former Chief of Staff to Sen. Ted Cruz in this Republican haven. In spite of his conservative past, Kosper has led with progressive economic issues, primarily paid family leave, ending the capital gains preference, the creation of a financial transaction tax, and restructured public school funding. While he is far from Bernie Sanders, he is running on an economic platform that has unmistakable populist overtones.

TX-22: Kulkarni vs. Rep. Olson

    • 2016 Pres. Election Results: Trump 52/Clinton 44
    • 2012 Pres. Election Results: Romney 62/Obama 36
    • 2016 House Results: Olson (R) 59/Gibson (D) 41
    • Cook PVI: R+10

Sri Preston Kulkarni, one of the more progressive Democrats in the field of candidates for TX-22, will face off against incumbent Rep. Pete Olson for the southern Houston district. Sri was commissioned as a Foreign Service Officer following college and served for 14 years, with overseas tours in five different countries. A PCCC candidate and an outspoken advocate for addressing economic inequality, Kulkarni has railed against the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act as a giveaway to corporations and the wealthy and as a fiscally irresponsible bill that will hurt entitlements going forward.


The most important result from last night’s Georgia primary lies outside of our usual focus on House races. Stacey Abrams, Georgia State House Minority Leader, won a landslide victory in the Georgia gubernatorial race. Abrams campaigned on the principle that voters in urban areas of the state need to be enfranchised into the political process. Her more moderate Democratic opponent campaigned on reaching out to voters in suburban and rural parts of the state.

This November, Abrams can make history as the first female governor in Georgia’s history and the first black female governor in US history. Abrams’ vision on economic mobility includes the establishment of a state earned income tax credit, expanding childcare tax credits, protecting workers from abusive on-call scheduling, and creating programs to encourage saving.

GA-06: McBath and Abel Head to a Runoff

    • 2016 Pres. Election: Trump 48/Clinton 47
    • 2012 Pres. Election: Romney 61/Clinton 38
    • 2016 House: Price (R) 62/Stooksbury (D) 38
    • Cook PVI: R+8

In GA-06, where Democrat Jon Ossoff lost a close special election race to replace Tom Price last year, prominent gun-control activist Lucy McBath is heading to a runoff with local businessman Kevin Abel. McBath claimed the top spot with 36 percent of the vote to Abel’s 30. McBath is pushing to increase the minimum wage and expand the federal earned income tax credit. Abel pledges to apply his experience leading an IT consulting company to improve conditions for workers. The runoff will take place on July 24.


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