Activist/Attorney Lulu Flores Claims House Seat She Sought 20 Years Ago

And other State Representative results


Lulu Flores wins her Democratic primary for House District 51 on March 1 (Photo by Jana Birchum)

Unlike a lot of open-seat contests for offices such as state rep, the Texas House District 51 primary to replace Eddie Rodriguez (whose attempt to move up to Congress was soundly rebuffed) featured an embarrassment of riches for the voters of the southeast district, which though mostly Latinx stretches well into Anglo Central Austin as far as Rainey Street. Yet Maria Luisa "Lulu" Flores, who nearly beat Rodriguez back in 2002 the last time this seat was vacant, built up two more decades of advocacy and engagement among Travis County's Democratic leaders (especially the women) and won this time in a walk. Del Valle Community Coalition leader Matt Worthington and organizer and Lege staffer Cynthia Valadez-Mata came in well behind and could not force a run-off; nobody else cracked 10%. As may have also been the case in the county commissioner Precinct 4 race that covered many of these same precincts, organizing Del Valle and the Eastern Crescent does not yet deliver enough votes to buoy up candidates from those neighborhoods. Two or four years from now, that may change.


The few other contested Dem primaries for House seats proved to be much ado about nothing, as Reps. Erin Zwiener, D-Driftwood, and James Talarico, D-Wells Branch, easily won in newly drawn districts intended to be safely Democratic. More interesting are the local GOP contests for the districts that got reddened by redistricting. In HD 19, which now includes most of Western Travis County and several Hill Country counties, former Austin City Council Member Ellen Troxclair leads Austin Senior Police Officer Justin Berry into the May run-off; Berry, who came within 1% of unseating Rep. Vikki Goodwin in 2020, was indicted last month on assault charges stemming from the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests at Austin's police headquarters on Eighth Street. South of town, Barron Casteel of New Braunfels (son of a former rep) ­narrowly leads Carrie Isaac of Dripping Springs (wife of a former rep) into the run-off for HD 73, which includes the red-leaning Western Hays communities formerly represented by Zwiener. And to the southeast, in the HD 17 seat being vacated by retiring Rep. John Cyrier, R-Lockhart, former Trump and Rick Perry aide Stan Gerdes narrowly leads Bastrop County Judge Paul Pape into May's second round.

Got something to say? The Chronicle welcomes opinion pieces on any topic from the community. Submit yours now at austinchronicle.com/opinion.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More by Mike Clark-Madison
Austin at Large: We Knew This Was Trouble
Austin at Large: We Knew This Was Trouble
Institutional Democrats fail their parenting tests at the dawn of the Dobbs era

July 1, 2022

Your Best Midterm Bets in the Dobbs Era
Your Best Midterm Bets in the Dobbs Era
Vote hard, with a vengeance

July 1, 2022

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Eddie Rodriguez, Justin Berry, Cynthia Valadez-Mata, Lulu Flores, Ellen Troxclair, Barron Casteel, Carrie Isaac, Erin Zwiener, James Talarico, Stan Gerdes, Paul Pape

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle