AUSTIN (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — Texas Democrats elected the state’s first two Latina congresswomen and flipped at least two GOP-controlled House seats in the midterm elections on Tuesday.
Here’s what you need to know about the Texas ballot:
HISTORY IN THE MAKING
Texas’ booming Hispanic population is on pace to outnumber white residents as soon as 2022.
Garcia, a former county commissioner and state legislator, will represent Texas’ 29th Congressional District in the Greater Houston area.
Escobar, a former teacher and county judge, will represent Texas’ Congressional District 16, which covers El Paso and the surrounding suburban communities. She takes the U.S. House seat left vacant by Rep. Beto O’Rourke.
Although the Lone Star State has long been home to the second-largest Hispanic electorate in the nation, until Tuesday, Texas voters had never elected a Latina to serve in either chamber of Congress.
Democrat Gina Ortiz Jones was still alive in her bid to become Texas’ first Filipina-American and openly gay member of Congress. With all precincts reporting early Wednesday, Hurd led her by 689 votes out of more than 209,500 cast.
Democrats needed to pick up 23 seats to retake the House, and Texas was positioned to possibly help them get there.
Democrats took aim at three seats held by Republican incumbents whose districts when for Hillary Clinton in 2016. They got two when Colin Allred defeated House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions in Dallas and Lizzie Pannill Fletcher defeated John Culberson in Houston.
Republican Will Hurd of San Antonio was in a close battle to hold onto his swing district on the Mexico border. The Associated Press had previously called the race for Hurd but later determined it was too close to call.
Women looked to make gains in Texas, where men hold all but three of the states’ 36 seats in Congress. Fletcher snagged one of them, but longtime GOP incumbent John Carter held onto his typically safe district near Austin, defeating Democrat MJ Hegar, a combat veteran and pilot.
ABBOTT GETS A SECOND TERM
Republican Gov. Greg Abbott won another four years following one of the most uneventful Texas gubernatorial races in decades. Democrat Lupe Valdez, the former Dallas County sheriff, barely raised money and her campaign was nonexistent to many voters.
But Abbott’s real test comes after Election Day, when his power will be tested in a divided Republican-controlled Legislature that shrugged off many of his demands before going home.
TEXAS’ INDICTED AG SEEKING RE-ELECTION
Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was re-elected despite spending nearly his entire term in office under indictment for securities fraud.
Democrat Justin Nelson staked his campaign on reminding voters that Paxton still faces trial over allegations that he duped investors in a startup before becoming Texas’ top law enforcement officer.
But Paxton, who has pleaded not guilty, has regained his footing within the GOP as his criminal case has languished in court for three years. Paxton’s wife, Angela Paxton, is also on the cusp of joining the state Senate in her first run for office.
TURNOUT COULD SET NEW RECORD
Like other states in what has been a deeply divisive election year, Texas shattered early voting records in big cities for a midterm election. Fewer than 5 million voters in Texas cast ballots in the 2014 and 2010 midterms, but this cycle could be closer to a high-turnout presidential year.
O’Rourke needed to bring out historically unlikely voters to unseat Cruz, whose campaign had made little overtures outside his conservative base. It wasn’t enough as Cruz held on to win another six-year term.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)