Progressive women working to flip Texas in 2020

Women candidates Texas
2018 was the year of the woman in Texas, but it was just the beginning.

Texas women in key, flippable districts won big in the March Democratic Primary, an election that saw some of the highest primary turnout in recent memory and the first time in a long time that Democratic turnout outpaced Republicans

Texas progressives are electing more women, ensuring that our representatives reflect our communities. And if all 63 (or 64) women are successful in November, 42% of the Texas House would be women, and we have an opportunity to increase our number of Texas women in Congress. 

Only 168 women have ever been elected to the Texas Legislature as of 2019, and in the most recent legislative session, 33 lawmakers were women. A majority of those were Democrats, but it shows how far we have to go. 

And it’s not just about women. As the Democratic party becomes more progressive, and as progressives turn out to vote in higher numbers, we must ensure that our lawmakers look like us. That means supporting more progressive candidates who are Black, Brown, or AAPI. More progressive candidates who identify as LGBTQIA+. And more candidates who have historically been underrepresented. Because when our laws and policy are created by electeds who look like the state of Texas as a whole, everyone wins. 

The recent retirements by mostly white, older, Republican men pose an opportunity for Texas women this November. The only plausible explanation for this Texodus is that these Republicans see the writing on the wall. They know when their time is up, and rather than waste money on a campaign they know they are bound to lose, they are quitting while they’re ahead.

And with more open seats, we have an opportunity to elect progressive women in races across the state. 

This Women’s History Month, we honor the 168 women who have made history by serving our state. Let’s also look toward the progressive women we have an opportunity to put into office in November. 

Here’s a look at the women vying to represent Texans on the 2020 ballot in races we’re watching.

This list does not include endorsements on behalf of Progress Texas. All women, Democratic candidates in races we’re watching are listed.

* - did not return our Certified Progressive questionnaire.

U.S. Senate (runoff)

Incumbent: Sen. John Cornyn (R) since 2002.

MJ Hegar


MJ Hegar (in a primary runoff with Royce West)



U.S. Congress

District 7 (Houston) - Targeted by Republicans

Lizzie Fletcher


Lizzie Pannill Fletcher* (incumbent since 2019)


District 21 (Austin) - Flippable District
Incumbent: Chip Roy (R) since 2019.

Wendy Davis


Wendy Davis 


District 23 (Helotes) - Flippable District
Open seat vacated by Will Hurd (R).

Gina Ortiz Jones


Gina Ortiz Jones


District 24 (Coppell) - Flippable District (runoff)
Open seat vacated by Kenny Marchant (R).

Kim Olson


Kim Olson


Candace Valenzuela


Candace Valenzuela*


District 25 (Austin) - Flippable District
Incumbent: Roger Williams (R) since 2013.

Julie Oliver


Julie Oliver


District 31 (Round Rock) - Flippable District (runoff)
Incumbent: John Carter (R) since 2003.

Donna Imam


Donna Imam*


Christine Eady Mann


Dr. Christine Eady Mann


Texas Railroad Commissioner (runoff)

Incumbent: Ryan Sitton (R) since 2014.

Chrysta Castañeda


Chrysta Castañeda (in a primary runoff with Roberto “Beto” Alonzo*)


Texas Senate

District 19 (Pleasanton) - Flippable District (runoff)
Incumbent: Pete Flores (R) since 2018.

Xochil Pena Rodriguez


Xochil Peña Rodriguez* (in a primary runoff with Roland Gutierrez)


District 27 (Brownsville) - Interesting Race (runoff)

Sara Stapleton Barrera


Sara Stapleton Barrera (in a primary runoff with Eddie Lucio, Jr.*, incumbent since 1991)


Texas House

District 26 (Sugar Land) - Flippable District (runoff)
Open seat vacated by Rick Miller (R).

L. Sarah DeMerchant


L. "Sarah" DeMerchant (in a runoff with Dr. Suleman Lalani*)


District 28 (Richmond) - Flippable District
Incumbent: Gary Gates (R) since 2020.

Dr. Eliz Markowitz


Dr. Elizabeth “Eliz” Markowitz


District 45 (Driftwood) - Targeted by Republicans

Erin Zwiener

Erin Zwiener (incumbent since 2019)


District 47 (Austin) - Targeted by Republicans

Vikki Goodwin


Vikki Goodwin (incumbent since 2019)


District 54 (Killeen) - Flippable District 
Incumbent: Brad Buckley (R) since 2019.

Keke Williams


Likeithia "Keke" Williams*


District 64 (Denton) - Flippable District 
Incumbent: Lynn Stucky (R) since 2017.

Angela Brewer


Angela Brewer


District 65 (Carrollton) - Targeted by Republicans

Michelle Beckley


Michelle Beckley (incumbent since 2019)


District 66 (Plano) - Flippable District 
Incumbent: Matt Shaheen (R) since 2015.

Sharon Hirsch


Sharon Hirsch 


District 93 (Fort Worth) - Flippable District
Incumbent: Matt Krause (R) since 2013.

Lydia Bean


Lydia Bean


District 94 (Arlington) - Flippable District
Incumbent: Tony Tinderholt (R) since 2015.

Alisa Simmons


Alisa Simmons


District 97 (Fort Worth) - Flippable District
Incumbent: Craig Goldman (R) since 2013.

Elizabeth Beck


Elizabeth Beck*


District 102 (Richardson) - Targeted by Republicans 

Ana-Maria Ramos


Ana-Maria Ramos* (incumbent since 2019) 


District 105 (Irving) - Targeted by Republicans

Terry Meza


Terry Meza (incumbent since 2019)


District 108 (Dallas) - Flippable District 
Incumbent: Morgan Meyer (R) since 2015.

Joanna Cattanach


Joanna Cattanach


District 112 (Richardson) - Flippable District 
Incumbent: Angie Chen Button (R) since 2009.

Brandy Chambers


Brandy Chambers


District 113 (Garland) - Targeted by Republicans 

Rhetta Andrews Bowers


Rhetta Andrews Bowers (incumbent since 2019)


District 115 (Carrollton) - Targeted by Republicans

Julie Johnson


Julie Johnson* (incumbent since 2019)


District 121 (San Antonio) - Flippable District
Incumbent: Steve Allison (R) since 2019.

Celina Montoya


Celina Montoya


District 126 (Spring) - Flippable District
Incumbent: Sam Harless (R) since 2019.

Natali Hurtado


Natali Hurtado


District 132 (Katy) - Targeted by Republicans

Gina Calanni


Gina Calanni (incumbent since 2019)


District 134 (West University Place) - Flippable District
Incumbent: Sarah Davis (R) since 2011.

Ann Johnson


Ann Johnson


District 138 (Houston) - Flippable District
Open seat vacated by Dwayne Bohac (R) 

Akilah Bacy


Akilah Bacy


Jenifer Rene Pool


Jenifer Rene Pool*



* - did not return our Certified Progressive questionnaire.

This list does not include endorsements on behalf of Progress Texas. All women, Democratic candidates in races we’re watching are listed.

For more information on our plan for flipping Texas in 2020, view our Special Report and sign up for updates.

Candidates Pictured in cover photo:
Top Row, L-R: Wendy Davis (TX-21), Julie Oliver (TX-25), Gina Ortiz Jones (TX-23), Chrysta Castañeda (Railroad Commission).
Bottom Row, L-R: Dr. Elizabeth “Eliz” Markowitz (HD 28), Sara Stapleton-Barrera (SD 27), Alisa Simmons (HD-94), Celina Montoya (HD-121), Natali Hurtado (HD-126).