Silver Linings: 10 Texas progressive positives from the 2022 midterm
There are things to celebrate!
If you’re feeling down after seeing Texas’ election results, you’re not alone. We set high expectations going into the 2022 midterm, and while we didn’t reach some of our goals, there are still results to celebrate.
Here are some positive outcomes to keep in mind while we rest up and prepare for the 2023 session of the Texas Legislature:
- Texas Democrats held the line: Texas Democrats protected the gains made in recent years and held on to all legislative and state senate seats. While there was one loss in each chamber, those were due to redistricting and decided by politicians well before election day.
- The Texas House gains more diversity: Voters elected Democrats Salman Bhojani and Suleman Lalani as the first South Asian/Muslim representatives in the Texas Legislature. Voters also elected Democrats Christian Manuel Hayes and Venton Jones, the first openly gay Black men in the Texas Legislature.
- The first Latino to represent Austin in Congress: Democrat Greg Casar won the election for Texas Congressional District 35.
- Jasmine Crockett goes to Congress, representing a generational shift in Dallas. The state legislator becomes a federal legislator as she prepares for her new tenure in Congressional District 30.
- Democrat Lina Hidalgo was reelected as Harris County Judge, narrowly fending off Republican opponent Alexandra Mealer. Hidalgo’s win was a big deal considering Mealer was backed by far-right megadonors, including Tim Dunn and Farris Wilks, the two West Texas oil billionaires and Christian nationalists pushing Texas to the far right.
- Five Texas cities voted to decriminalize marijuana: San Marcos, Denton, Elgin, Killeen, and Harker Heights. This was thanks to grassroots efforts by Ground Game Texas and other marijuana reform groups.
- Democrat Mihaela Plesa won purple Collin County, becoming the new state representative for House District 70. This district was the only seat to flip from red to blue in Texas, and by winning the election, Plesa flipped the district from anti-abortion to pro-abortion.
- Big wins in key counties: Voters elected the first ever all-Democratic Dallas County Commissioners Court. Multiple Hays County offices flipped from Republican to Democratic, and progressives protected important Democratic seats in the Bexar County area.
- Democratic U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez defeated Republican Mayra Flores in the race to represent Texas Congressional District 34 and held off the GOP’s attempt to turn South Texas red.
- Nationally, progressives stopped the red wave and made significant gains:
- Five states voted to protect the right to abortion: California, Michigan, Vermont, Montana, and Kentucky.
- Democrats picked up governor’s seats in Maryland and Massachusetts, are on track for a third in Arizona, and held important seats in Kansas, Michigan, and Wisconsin.
- Gen Z voters turned out nationally and held off the “red wave.” Exit polls show Gen Z was the only voter group to vote overwhelmingly in support of Democrats in the midterms.
- Democrat John Fetterman defeated Republican Dr. Oz in Pennsylvania.
- The U.S. Congress gains more diversity: Florida Democrat Maxwell Frost will become the first Gen Z member elected to Congress. Pennsylvanians elected Democrat Summer Lee, making her the first Black woman to represent the state in Congress. Democrat Delia Ramirez made history as the first Midwestern Latina to head to Congress. California Democrat Robert Garcia will become the first out LGBTQ+ immigrant in Congress. Vermont voters elected Democrat Becca Balint to the U.S. House, making her the first woman and first openly gay person to represent the state in Congress.
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