Early voting starts today across Texas for the July 14 Republican and Democratic primary runoffs. It’s your chance to decide the final opponents from each party in November.
Here in North Texas, important statewide and congressional primaries will be decided. This election was delayed from May until July amid concerns about the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Election officials across the state are encouraging residents to vote early to minimize the crowds. Early voting continues through July 10.
The Dallas Morning News editorial board offers summaries here of our recommendations in key contested North Texas primary races. Full versions can be found in the links to the candidates’ names and at https://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/we-recommend/.
Now it’s up to you to go cast your ballots.
State Sen. Royce West sports a long and impressive legislative record that makes him the better choice over MJ Hegar in the Democratic primary runoff for the U.S. Senate. West, 67, is an experienced state legislator who has represented District 23 in Austin since 1993. Despite being a Democrat in a Republican-controlled Legislature, West has worked across the aisle successfully to produce wins for Texans. West was the impetus behind the creation of the University of North Texas at Dallas and a new law school in downtown Dallas. Over the years, he has championed funding for at-risk youth programs, sought greater compensation for victims of violent crime, and improved child care standards. He pushed legislation for dash cameras in patrol cars and helped law enforcement agencies find money to purchase body cameras.
Opponent: MJ Hegar
U.S. HOUSE 3RD DISTRICT
Two strong and capable candidates have emerged in this Democratic primary. We recommend Lulu Seikaly over Sean McCaffity. Both are smart lawyers and self-described progressives, but we found ourselves agreeing with Seikaly that she is a pragmatic progressive. Because of that, we think she would better represent a congressional district with a diversity of political views. Seikaly and McCaffity support a public health care option, a path to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants, increased regulations on gun purchases and pushing America toward a total clean-energy future. But we found Seikaly just slightly less to the left of McCaffity.
Opponent: Sean McCaffity
U.S. HOUSE 24th DISTRICT
In the Democratic primary to replace Kenny Marchant in 24th Congressional District, we recommend retired U.S. Air Force Col. Kim Olson. Olson exudes the leadership required to find bipartisan solutions to chip away at the country’s most pressing problems. Olson, who after retirement led the nonprofit Grace After Fire, which helps women veterans transition to civilian life, calls for incremental steps to address issues that divide even the Democratic Party, such as health care, climate change and tax code reforms.
Opponent: Candace Valenzuela
STATE RAILROAD COMMISSIONER
The Democratic primary for one open seat on the Railroad Commission of Texas showcases the spectrum of views among Texans who lean left, from moderate candidates who would work with industry to uphold environmental standards for oil and gas production, to a candidate who wants to halt fossil-fuel production entirely. Within this group of candidates, we recommend voters choose Chrysta Castañeda for her flexibility to consider new ideas that could both raise the standards for cleaner oil and gas production while ensuring the industry remains healthy.
Opponent: Roberto Alonzo
TEXAS HOUSE DISTRICT 67
Tom Adair stood out as the best choice because of his insistence that Texans can forge a thriving future without political savagery. The attorney and former aide to U.S. Rep. Tom Petri of Wisconsin demonstrates a deep knowledge of school funding, particularly as it relates to Plano ISD in his district. His cooperative posture is central to his appeal.
Opponent: Lorenzo Sanchez
TEXAS HOUSE 100
Voters in southern Dallas and its suburbs have a choice between two candidates with impressive résumés and backgrounds of service in the runoff for state House District 100. We believe Democratic political veteran Lorraine Birabil, 38, is the best choice for this district, because she has a command of the issues and a reasoned vision that district voters are likely to embrace on criminal justice reform, expanding Medicaid and improving schools. Birabil won the seat in a special election runoff. There is no GOP candidate, so the winner will head to Austin.
Opponent: Jasmine Crockett
DALLAS COUNTY CRIMINAL COURT N0. 3
Defense attorney Audra Riley is the best choice over former district court judge Teresa Hawthorne in this runoff for Criminal Court No. 3. We’ve been inspired by Riley’s life in law. A former prosecutor, her mother worked as an administrator for the state corrections department for many years. When it was time for Riley to go to college, she decided to pay her way through by working in the prison system — not in administration, but as a guard in the Polunsky Unit in Livingston. For those unfamiliar with Texas’ prisons, this is the unit that holds male prisoners condemned to death as they await sentencing. Riley attended Sam Houston State University and then put herself through the Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University, graduating with honors.
Opponent: Teresa Hawthorne