In Texas, democratic socialist Greg Casar cruised to victory in his primary while Jessica Cisneros forced a longtime conservative incumbent into a runoff—welcome news for those taking on the Democratic Party establishment.

By Nick Vachon, In These Times

On Tuesday night, Texas Democratic primary voters handed a victory to one progressive candidate and sent another to a May 24 runoff against a conservative incumbent. Austin Councilman Greg Casar, a democratic socialist running in the state’s 35th congressional district, won his race against three other candidates including Eddie Rodriguez, a longtime state House representative endorsed by the centrist New Democrat Coalition. Casar trounced his opponents with over 60 percent of the vote.

A few miles south, in a district spanning the San Antonio suburbs to the rural Rio Grande Valley, immigration attorney Jessica Cisneros won enough of the vote to force nine-term incumbent Rep. Henry Cuellar to a runoff election. Cuellar — who Cisneros dubbedTrump’s favorite Democrat” for his anti-abortion stance, support for the border wall and embrace of Koch money — previously beat his left challenger in the 2020 Democratic primary.

greg casar and supporters

The candidates were endorsed national progressive figures and groups such as Sen. Bernie Sanders (D‑Vt.), Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D‑N.Y.), Justice Democrats and the Working Families Party. Both are young: Cisneros is 28 and Casar is 32. (The average age for a U.S. House representative is 58.) And both candidates ran on left-wing platforms including Medicare for All, stronger unions, a higher minimum wage, reproductive rights and support for communities of color.

This victory in Texas wasn’t just about my name on the ballot,” Casar told In These Times on Wednesday. ​I think this victory shows that progressive policies are popular when we stand by them. It was really our shared vision of 15 dollars an hour, Medicare for All, restoring reproductive rights, and restoring voting rights that won last night.”

Last night shows that the path forward in the South is for us to keep organizing and pushing for what working families actually need,” Casar, a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, added. ​We’ve been building a movement for progressive change here from Austin to San Antonio for years.”

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