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Government/Politics

Results: RGV 2022 March Primary Election

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Gaige Davila
/
Texas Public Radio
Sara Stapleton-Barrera, a Democratic candidate for Senate District 27, reacts to voting results at a watch party in Brownsville surrounded by family and friends.

This post was last updated at 1:00 a.m. on Wednesday, March 2.

Races we're watching

Refresh this page to update results. Click on one of the races in the bulleted list below to jump to its results.

State Senate District 27

The District 27 race is serving as one of several litmus tests for the future of the Rio Grande Valley's politics. Democratic incumbent Eddie Lucio Jr.–who held the seat for over 30 years–announced his retirement last September, opening the playing field for candidates wishing steer the seat away or towards the conservative-leaning legacy of Lucio.

Contesting for the open seat is returning candidate Sara Stapleton-Barrera. As she did in 2020, Stapleton-Barrera offered a unabashedly progressive platform to voters, calling for a new era in South Texas politics. She championed abortion rights, government transparency and limiting term limits for state senators, a dig at Lucio’s reign in South Texas.

Stapleton-Barrera’s message carried well. When she ran against Lucio two years ago, she narrowly lost the primary to the senior senator by just 2,000 votes in a runoff election. Lucio went on to beat his Republican challenger for what is now his last term in office.

Alex Dominguez, current state house representative for District 34, vied for the senate seat after two terms in the house. In a previous interview with TPR, Dominguez said he and Lucio differed on abortion rights–Dominguez is an abortion rights advocate; Lucio opposes abortion rights– but wants to continue some of the same things Lucio advocates for: more infrastructure and manufacturing jobs and stronger public education.

In that regard, Dominguez pursued the seat as a self-described “real Democrat,” an antidote to Lucio’s Blue Dog politics that are a staple of South Texas elected officials. But the conservative Democrat grip on District 27 wasn’t letting loose just yet, as evidenced by Morgan LaMantia’s campaign.

LaMantia, who provides legal counsel to her family’s business, L&F Distributors, was a notable presence in the race. LaMantia enjoyed several endorsements from sitting Rio Grande Valley legislative members, including Lucio.

That influence carried over in finance, too, receiving $25,000 from the Texas for Lawsuit Reform PAC on the last day of early voting. The PAC, which mostly donates to Republicans, donated over half a million dollars to Lucio throughout his terms.

LaMantia's campaign focused on affordable health care and supporting small business, giving a particular focus to South Texas families. Like Stapleton-Barrera and Dominguez, LaMantia supports abortion rights.

Solomon Torres, a Harlingen business consultant and a former migrant farm worker, opposes using state funds for abortions. His Democratic campaigned on strengthening energy and civil infrastructure, mentioning last year’s winter storm and subsequent power outages throughout the primary race.

Republicans vying for the D27 seat were Israel Salinas, Adam Hinojosa and Raul Torres.

Congressional District 15

Initially running for re-election in Texas’ 15th congressional district–spanning from McAllen up towards San Marcos–Vicente Gonzalez opted to run for the 34th congressional district after last year's redistricting. This left the district open to more than a dozen Democrat and Republican candidates.

The Republican frontrunner, Monica De La Cruz, brought significant interest from the GOP to South Texas. De La Cruz,—who's endorsed by former President Donald Trump, Senator Ted Cruz, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy—nearly unseated Gonzalez in 2020, showing Republican turnout in the RGV was increasing.

Progressives took an interest, too. Michelle Vallejo, who co-owns the La Pulgas Las Portales in her hometown of Alton, was selected by LUPE Votes "We The Pueblo" campaign to run for the seat.

Congressional District 34

District 34—which runs from Brownsville then north to Gonzalez County—is another district laid bare for campaigning after incumbent Filemon Vela announced his retirement last year.

Vicente Gonzalez—District 15's current representative—opted to run for District 34, after redistricting made District 15 more competitive for Republicans. With seven Democrats on the primary ticket, Gonzalez is leading the race.

Mayra Flores, the Hidalgo County GOP Hispanic Outreach Chair and a respiratory care practitioner, is the Republican frontrunner. Flores' approach to campaigning is the same rightwing populism of former President Donald Trump.

State Rep 37

Incumbent Alex Dominguez pursued a senatorial run for District 27, leaving his coastal district open for a few contenders.

Leading the Democratic ticket is Ruben Cortez Jr., the current District 2 Stade Board of Education member and Luis Villarreal Jr., a former administrator in Eddie Lucio Jr's office.

Republicans running for the race include Janie Lopez and George Rivera.

Here's the latest on Bexar County, congressional and statehouse races.