Chronicle Endorsements for the May 24 Democratic Run-Offs
From Congress to land commissioner, here are our picks
In the March Democratic primary, the Chronicle Editorial Board endorsed several candidates who've made it into this month's run-offs (including both of our endorsees in the attorney general race). We make the following recommendations.
U.S. Congress, District 21: Claudia A. Zapata
Running as the Democratic nominee in hard-right U.S. Rep. Chip Roy's district – made much redder in redistricting, with far fewer Austin voters – can't be the most fun a candidate could have, but it's worthy work. Activist Claudia Zapata, who explored running in TX-35 (the district almost certain to be won in November by Greg Casar) before settling on the TX-21 race, deserves your support.
Lieutenant Governor: Mike Collier
Collier was the Dem nominee to face Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick in 2018, didn't embarrass himself then, has been running basically nonstop since (with a pause to be part of Joe Biden's Texas campaign team), and for his trouble drew not one but two last-minute opponents in the primary. He still came in first, more than 10% and 100,000 votes ahead of Rep. Michelle Beckley of Carrollton, who kicked off her run-off by demanding Collier drop out, since he "obviously doesn't excite the base." Dismissed as "furniture" by Texas Monthly in its 2021 best/worst legislators roundup, Beckley saw her Denton County seat wiped out in redistricting, so now she's here trying to fail up. Collier and Texas deserve better.
Attorney General: Rochelle M. Garza
Brownsville attorney Garza, formerly of the ACLU of Texas, got more than twice as many votes as runner-up Joe Jaworski, the former mayor of Galveston, who himself barely edged past Dallas civil rights attorney Lee Merritt. All would be two orders of magnitude better than GOP incumbent Ken Paxton, who will almost certainly win his own run-off against hapless George P. Bush, but Garza clearly has consensus backing in the party and can make a clear contrast.
Comptroller: Janet T. Dudding
We no-endorsed in this race in March because incumbent Glenn Hegar, though a pro-life Republican, is the only competent GOP statewide official. Dudding, unlike her run-off opponent Angel Luis Vega, is a CPA at least.
Land Commissioner: Jay Kleberg
Kleberg was our clear choice in March when we thought Houston activist Jinny Suh would be his likely run-off opponent. Instead, random candidate Sandragrace Martinez claimed the second spot, which makes Kleberg an even stronger pick now to fix the General Land Office, left in tatters by the clumsy and cringey Bush princeling. His likely opponent in November will be outgoing state Sen. Dawn Buckingham, R-Lakeway.