It's Primary Day in Texas and all eyes are watching races across the state as GOP leaders are challenged by their own party.
This is the official start of the 2022 Midterm Election, and for voters in the Lone Star State, one of the first tests of newly-imposed voting restriction laws. Candidates running for congressional and state legislative seats are also navigating new political district maps.
Texas is critical to the 2022 midterm season, because it gained two seats in the House thanks to redistricting. As Democrats fight to maintain their narrow margins of control in the House, those seats will matter.
The state's election is already off to a contentious start with the US Department of Justice suing for its redistricting plan and thousands of voters reporting issues with new ballot laws and requirements.
Polls close at 7 p.m. local time.
These are four key races to watch.
28th District –– south San Antonio
This race is between two Democratic candidates: progressive immigration attorney Jessica Cisneros who is challenging incumbent Rep. Henry Cuellar–– who is currently dealing with an unspecified FBI probe.
Texas' 28th district stretches between the south ends of San Antonio through Laredo. Cuellar has represented the district for nine terms, and only narrowly beat Cisneros in the 2020 midterm. Progressive heavyweights including Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez have put their support behind Cisneros.
15th District –– east San Antonio
The race for the 15th District is a competitive one, with the new districting maps skewing it slightly more Republican. The 15th district spans easter San Antonio through McAllen.
Current Democratic Rep. Vicente Gonzalez is running for the nearby 34th District –– which is more securely blue seat, NPR reported.
For the 15th, Republicans are supporting Monica De La Cruz, who is facing legal controversy after her estranged husband accused her of "cruel and aggressive conduct" against their daughter. De La Cruz denied the claim and cannot return to the home they share until April, NPR reported.
Donald Trump and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy have publicly thrown their support behind De La Cruz.
The Race for Governor
Republican Gov. Gregg Abbott is looking to run the state for a third term but is facing fierce challenge from other far-right members of the GOP.
While polls have Abbott leading among other Republicans, he could face a blockbuster General Election match up between former presidential candidate Rep. Beto O'Rouke, who almost unseated Ted Cruz in 2018.
Attorney General's Race
The race to be Texas' top lawyer is on as embattled Republican incumbent Ken Paxton is challenged by fellow Republicans including Rep. Louie Gohmert, former state Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman and Land Commissioner George P. Bush –– former president George W. Bush's nephew.
Paxton has served as Texas' AG for two terms and is currently polling at 42% compared to Bush's 21% which is higher but not enough to avoid a May runoff.
Trump backs Paxton after he supported the false claims about the 2020 Presidential Election. Paxton was one of many Trump loyalist by the 45th president's side at the January 6, 2021 rally that kicked off the deadly attempted insurrection by members of far-right organizations.
Among Democrats, civil right attorney S. Lee Merritt, former ACLU lawyer Rochelle Garza, and former Galveston mayor Joe Jaworski are all running.
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