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Two Dems poised to make history as first Texas Latinas in Congress

The Hill logo The Hill 3/7/2018 Lisa Hagen
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Two Democratic candidates who won their respective primaries on Tuesday night are likely to make history in November as the first Latinas from Texas to serve in Congress.

Candidates Veronica Escobar and Sylvia Garcia won the Democratic nominations in their respective races, which are both safe seats that Democrats are expected to easily hold in the general election.

There are five Latinos currently serving in Texas' congressional delegation. And in 2012, Sen. Ted Cruz (R) became the first Latino from Texas to serve in the Senate. But Texas has never elected a woman of Latino heritage to serve in Congress.

In the race to replace Democratic Rep. Beto O'Rourke, Escobar won the nomination over five other Democratic candidates with nearly 61 percent of the vote.

Escobar, a former El Paso County judge, was endorsed by EMILY's List and was backed by O'Rourke, who vacated the seat to mount a Senate campaign against Cruz.

She'll face Republican Rick Seeberger in the general election, but is expected to easily win the El Paso-based district. The last time a Republican won the district was in 1963.

Meanwhile, Garcia won the nomination with more than 64 percent of the vote in the race to replace retiring Democratic Rep. Gene Green. She was endorsed by both Green and EMILY's List.

Garcia, a state senator, was initially seen as having a clear path to the nomination in the Houston-area district. But the entrance of another candidate backed by Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) appeared to threaten her ability to avert a May runoff.

Health care executive Tahir Javed loaned his campaign $800,000 since jumping into the race last year. But Garcia was able to win a majority of the vote to secure the nomination.

It appears likely that two Republican candidates, Phillip Aronoff and Carmen Montiel, will advance to a May 22 runoff to see who will square off against Garcia in November.

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