Texas voters headed to the polls Tuesday in a handful of runoff elections, including the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor, a string of House seats and the attorney general. Polls closed at 8 p.m. ET.
Texas law specifies that to win an election, a candidate must garner over 50% of the vote. The runoffs were held after a number of races in Texas’ March 1 primary didn't reach that threshold.
Voting got off to a rocky start in March with confusion over newly implemented voter laws amid low turnout. Heading into Tuesday's runoffs, the early vote tally was predictably lower, with fewer runoff contests across the state.
Overall, compared to the March 1 primary, early voting turnout was down by more than half, going from 9.6% of the state’s registered voters casting ballots to 4.32%. However, compared to a similar point in 2018’s runoffs, the cumulative turnout from both parties was actually up.
In the runoff for attorney general, Land Commissioner George P. Bush was in a hard-fought battle with one of the nation’s most high-profile attorneys general -- incumbent Ken Paxton -- who was a leader of failed legal efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Paxton had former President Donald Trump’s backing.
However, Paxton went into the runoff engulfed in scandals including an indictment for securities fraud, FBI investigations into malfeasance and marital infidelity, among others. He denies all allegations.
In the March 1 primary, Paxton received more than 676,000 votes and Bush received more than 354,000.
Meanwhile, progressive Democrats pushed Jessica Cisneros against the last anti-abortion Democrat in the House, Rep. Henry Cuellar.
The initial matchup between Cuellar and Cisneros took center stage given news of an FBI raid on Cuellar's home and campaign office (Cuellar has said he did nothing wrong), in addition to it being a repeat faceoff from when Cisneros lost to Cuellar by just 4% in 2020.
Cisneros, a 28-year-old immigration attorney, was backed by nationally prominent progressives including New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who both traveled to Texas throughout the campaign cycle to stump for her. She also had the support of Massachusetts' Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Ayanna Pressley.
Cuellar was backed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn. Amid the fallout of the leaked decision regarding Roe v. Wade, Cisneros called on Democratic House leadership to revoke support for Cuellar despite him being the incumbent.
In the March 1 primary, Cuellar received 1,005 more votes than Cisneros, or 48.7% of the vote to her 46.6%.