Throughout the 2022 Texas Democratic Convention, candidates up and down the ballot had a chance to reconnect with the activists and volunteers that fuel the party. Now, with the convention in the rear-view, candidates are making the mad dash to November, touting the importance of their races not only for Texas, but the nation.
The Signal was on the ground throughout the Convention. Almost every speaker noted the importance of the November midterm election. The stakes in Texas are high, and many local and statewide candidates are echoing that crucial message.
Luke Warford, who at 32 is the youngest person running for statewide office in decades, sees his run for the Railroad Commission, which regulates the oil and gas industry, as game-changing for the state and country. Just days before the Convention started, the Electrical Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) warned about a strain on the power grid.
“We should not be living on the brink of total grid collapse,” said Warford in an interview with the Signal. He also noted that in addition to being unreliable, power in Texas is becoming unaffordable. Texans are paying more than their counterparts in Louisiana and Oklahoma.
As extreme heat continues throughout Texas, fears of another grid collapse are looming. The Railroad Commission has the power to enact meaningful reforms to curb climate emissions, something that took a step back on the federal level thanks to West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin.
“I’ve been frustrated by the lack of federal action on climate emissions, for better or worse it’s up to states,” said Warford to Signal. For anyone, in Texas or the country, who really wants to make an impact on the climate, he stresses winning this seat is a pivotal step.
On the local level, candidates are also amplifying the importance of their races. John Lira is running for Congressional District 23, one of just a few potential swing districts in Texas. The race received renewed attention after the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, which is in the district. “We have a pathway to victory,” Lira told the Signal.
Republican incumbent Tony Gonzales did vote for the limited gun safety package that was recently signed by President Biden. Lira cited recent polling and pressure for Gonzales’s decision to vote on that package. “In a lot of ways, it was a race to the bottom as to what are the most minimal things they can do just to say they did something,” he said.
Gonzales did not vote for a more robust gun safety package, the Protecting Our Kids Act, which Lira said he would support along with other measures to curb gun violence. Post-Uvalde, Lira is also seeing anti-incumbent trends in this congressional district. While he acknowledges some in Texas might see the district as too red, he is seeing the opposite on the ground. “This is a district that matters, that is worth fighting for,” he told the Signal.
For Lira, the leadership of the district has national and even worldwide consequences. The 23rd includes over 800 miles of the Texas-Mexico Border, five major ports of entry, the Permian Basin, and even the space program Blue Origin. “What’s happening here impacts not only us but the country at large and in some cases the globe,” stresses Lira.
For Jasmine Crockett, a current state representative and democratic nominee for the 30th congressional district, Democrats are truly “in a fight for our lives.” She cites recent deadly failures, from the COVID-19 pandemic to school shootings to the failed grid as the consequences of keeping Republicans in power. “The reality is that so long as we flip Texas, we save the entire country, not just our state,” she told the Signal.
Early voting in the November election begins in 99 days.