The Texas Organizing Project, a progressive non-profit organization and political action committee of Black and Latino community organizers, announced their endorsement of Civil Rights Attorney Lee Merritt for Texas Attorney General.
TOP is one of the largest minority driven organizations in the state and organizes around issues including healthcare, immigration, housing affordability, mass incarceration, education, and voting rights.
The Signal spoke with Merritt, also known as the people’s lawyer, and TOP’s Co-Executive Director Brianna Brown about the endorsement and next steps for the Democratic primary.
“The heartbeat of our theory of change is about expanding the electorate of color throughout Texas with an emphasis of concentration on Black and Latino voters,” Brown said. “So Lee’s candidacy for AG is an amazing illustration of what can happen when we are punching with two fists: people power and political power.”
Likewise, Merritt said this endorsement from the Texas Organizing Project means the world to him and he looks forward to changing Texans viewpoints of the office.
“It’s always been a goal of the Texas Organizing Project and of our campaign to turn out unlikely voters or voters who aren’t typically engaged,” Merritt said. “That means we’re going to have to teach people a lot about how important the AG office is. Organizations that I’ve worked with like TOP who serve the people of Texas look at the AG’s office as one of the opponents to justice and I’m looking forward to implementing a motto, where that office is a people’s firm and people see it as a resource for obtaining social good.”
In the last election cycle, TOP ran one of the largest independent voter outreach programs in the state and said in 2022 the plan is to go even bigger. Brown said operations of knocking on doors, phone calls, text messages, and digital outreach are already starting to form in counties across the state including Harris, Bexar, Fort Bend, Dallas and more.
“One of the lessons that we learned even in the pandemic is that we need to make face to face contact with people. The real gold standard of engaging our community is at their doors,” Brown said. “We have a goal of raising a multi-million dollar budget both in the primary and the general.”
Merritt is up against Galveston-based attorney Joe Jaworski in the race for the Democratic primary. The date for primary elections in the state is set for March 1, 2022.