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Stapleton-Barrera launches campaign for District 27 seat following Lucio’s retirement announcement

Sara Stapleton-Barrera participates in a protest for Medicare expansion and against fossil fuel subsidies on September 9, 2021.
Courtesy: Sara Stapleton Barrera For Texas Facebook
Sara Stapleton-Barrera participates in a protest for Medicare expansion and against fossil fuel subsidies on September 9, 2021.

Sara Stapleton-Barrera is once again running for the District 27 state congressional seat, after longtime senator Eddie Lucio Jr. announced his retirement.

An attorney and activist based in Brownsville, Stapleton-Barrera is running on a progressive platform. Notably, she’s campaigning on establishing term limits in the senate, after Lucio — a conservative Democrat who often voted with Republicans — held his seat for over 30 years.

After more than 30 years in office Democrat State Senator Eddie Lucio Jr — who often voted with Republicans — will not seek reelection.

Stapleton-Barrera has been down this road before, forcing Lucio into a runoff during the 2020 Democratic primary. Lucio managed to escape the primary with just over 2,000 votes, the slimmest margin the senator had ever won an election.

Her campaign will be similar to the one she led in 2020.

“I would like to focus on just a little bit more this go around on term limits, finance reform and bringing ethics back into the government,” she told TPR.

Stapleton-Barrera is the only candidate to officially announce a campaign for the District 27 seat, with the election next year. The district was redrawn in the last legislative session, now stretching further into San Patricio and Bee counties and rescinding slightly out of Hidalgo County. State Rep. Alex Domiguez, whose district is in lower Cameron County, has expressed interest in running for the senate seat.

Some of the names Stapleton-Barrera had heard were running was also a factor in her deciding to run. She said that she did not believe they had the district’s “best interest at heart.”

“I had to make a conscious decision: support somebody that I don’t fully have complete confidence in, or just give it a go. So I chose the latter.”

Stapleton-Barrera’s campaign will go against a concerted effort by Republicans to turn the Rio Grande Valley more red. She said she’s prepared for this.

“We still have a slight edge, but it’s certainly going to take all of us coming together and getting people out to register to vote and moving as fast and as hard as we can.”

The primary election will be held in March next year.

Texas Public Radio is supported by contributors to the Border and Immigration News Desk, including the Catena Foundation and Texas Mutual Insurance Company.

Gaige Davila is the Border and Immigration Reporter for Texas Public Radio.