March Primary Election Coverage Live Blog

Texas primary first out the starting gate

Voters enter Ben Hur Shrine Temple to cast a ballot on Election Day (photo by John Anderson)

The 2022 midterm elections cycle kicks off with today's Texas primary. Follow the Austin Chronicle's live election coverage night here, and pick up Thursday's issue for more in-depth primary election analysis.


We’re shutting down the liveblog for the night - and on a cliffhanger, no less, with Travis County Commissioners Court Pct. 4 incumbent Margaret Gómez nudging just past her challenger Susanna Ledesma-Woody in the latest batch of returns. You can track the election results as they're posted on the Travis County Clerk's website. Look for the Chronicle’s official post-election analysis in this week’s issue, on stands and online Thursday.

Update: Wednesday, March 2, 10:20am: With the last batch of returns arriving at 11:55pm, incumbent Margaret Gómez held onto her commissioners seat, besting Susanna Ledesma-Woody by a mere 219 votes.


The Travis County Clerk’s Office has just posted its third run of Election Day results, and it’s moved the needle on the tightest race of the evening:


More scenes from Election Night, courtesy of staff photographer Jana Birchum:

Susanna Ledesma-Woody addresses supporters at Luster Pearl East. She’s in the evening’s tightest race, against sitting Travis County Commissioner Margaret Gómez. (photo by Jana Birchum)
Lulu Flores bested a field of seven to secure the Dem nomination for House District 41. (photo by Jana Birchum)
Greg Casar and partner Asha Dane'el arrive at his victory party. (photo by Jana Birchum)



With Travis County Election Day returns finally rolling around, some victors emerge.


Some more Election Night images from staff photographer John Anderson:

Sitting Travis County Commissioner Pct. 4 Margaret Gómez gathers with supporters at Casa Mari. She’s in a too-close-to-call race against challenger Susanna Ledesma-Woody. (photo by John Anderson)
Travis County Commissioner Brigid Shea (l) greets council member Leslie Pool outside her election party at Violet Crown Clubhouse, Lot of votes still to be counted, but Shea has a dominant lead in Precinct 2 over challenger Bob Libal. (photo by John Anderson)


Read Michael King's Feb. 11 feature on the bizarre race for 419th District Court.



Beto O'Rourke celebrates a decisive victory for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination:


Reporter Lina Fisher reports the mood is "cheery" at the election night party for Susanna Ledesma-Woody, who's in a close race to unseat Travis County Commissioner Margaret Gómez in Precinct 4.


Morgan O’Hanlon checks in on the State Board of Education races, including one involving former Travis County GOP Chair Robert Morrow, currently trailing Mark Loewe for the Republican primary in the SBOE District 5 race.


After finding an alternate route around the elections division's crashed web site, Travis County got its early vote totals out, and they're filled with landslides. In one race that's not, Susanna Ledesma-Woody after EV is 160 votes (1.2%) ahead of seven-term incumbent Margaret Gomez in County Commissioner Pct. 4, so that one will bear watching. But Greg Casar, Lloyd Doggett, Lulu Flores, James Talarico, Erin Zwiener, Brigid Shea, Dyana Limon-Mercado, and all the judges endorsed by the Chronicle can take the rest of the night off. Even Travis County GOP Chair Matt Mackowiak is well positioned to hold his seat, while Justin Berry and Ellen Troxclair head to run-off.

Statewide, the runoffs we expected are in fact poised to happen: AG for both parties (Ken Paxton v. probably George P. Bush, Rochelle Garza v. Joe Jaworski); Land Commissioner for both parties, with Dawn Buckingham (R) and Jay Kleberg (D) in the lead; and a sleeper for Railroad Commission as incumbent Wayne Christian, who's almost as big a clown as Sid Miller, remains under 50%; which unknown opponent will face him in May is a crapshoot. – Mike Clark-Madison



After some weirdness earlier, the Secretary of State's site seems to be getting accurate returns from the counties now, with few surprises: Mike Collier is winning without a runoff in the Lt. Gov race, Rochelle Garza may do the same (she's currently at 45%) for AG, Jay Kleberg will probably lead one of his two female opponents (who are basically tied) into the run-off for land commish. The SOS also shows Greg Casar (TX 35), Lulu Flores (HD 51), and Erin Zweiner (HD 45) with commanding leads. – Mike Clark-Madison


photo by John Anderson

Staff photographer John Anderson captures Travis County Tax Assessor-Collector Bruce Elfant at a watch party showing the downed Travis County Clerk’s Office website to retired State Rep. Elliott Naishtat.



No Travis County early voting results yet, but Bexar County has weighed in on the hotly watched race for U.S. Congressional District 35, giving Greg Casar the early lead.


A few minutes ago, the Travis County Clerk's website showed that there were still substantial lines of people waiting to vote at more than a dozen polling places. That's probably still true, but as of this moment the entire website is knocked out of commission; we'll let you know when that changes. No early vote totals yet...


The Travis County Clerk’s Office reported at 6pm more than 62,000 people have voted in person at 164 polling places on Election Day. Polls close at 7pm, but if you’re in line, you’ll still be able to vote. Early voting returns should be released shortly after polls closed.

This is the first election in Texas since the Legislature passed the restrictive Senate Bill 1. Among other things, the bill rolled back measures taken during the pandemic to increase voter access and introduced new rules regarding ballot-by-mail applications; the Travis County Clerk’s Office reported in mid-January that these new requirements had led to about 50% of ballot-by-mail applications being denied on technicalities.

Common Cause, a nonpartisan watchdog group, released this evening a statement from Executive Director Anthony Gutierrez calling for federal action:

“Texas was already the hardest state to vote in before Republicans passed these laws that made it even harder.

“What we’re seeing today is a small preview of what we can expect to see at a far wider scale in November unless the federal government finally takes real action to intervene.

“We saw vote by mail applications and ballots rejected at unprecedented rates, poll sites opening late or not opening at all due to election worker shortages, and widespread technology issues.

“The state was warned about the potential for these problems when these bills were being heard in committee. Though they had ample opportunity, our Secretary of State instead chose to focus on playing politics and implementation was left to local officials who received little to no guidance or communication from our state’s chief election officer.

“Texas’ democracy cannot go on much longer with such unreliable election infrastructure.

“Too many Texans, through no fault of their own, are running into problems manufactured by hyper-partisan state leadership and for many of them, the amount of time and effort required to navigate these new processes is just too much.

“These issues we’re seeing today will be far bigger problems in November when we have exponentially more people showing up to the polls.”

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