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TOP builds progressive momentum across Texas, fueled by voters of color

Tonight, the Texas Organizing Project is celebrating historic high turnout among voters of color in the Democratic primary elections in Texas, a result we’ve been working on for nearly a decade by focusing on turning out and engaging Black and Latino voters. Voters of color were 51.9 percent of the electorate in this Democratic primary, compared to 39.7 percent in 2016.

This cycle alone, we reached out to 195,000 mostly Black and Latino voters in Texas’ largest counties – Harris, Dallas and Bexar. This was our most concerted primary effort to date because it’s critical to ensuring that our democracy is alive, accessible and reflective of our values. The stakes are too high to not have a say on who will be on the ticket in November.

“The future of Texas is evident tonight,” said Michelle Tremillo, executive director of TOP. “The future of Texas is young, Black and Latino. And the future is now.”

Our voters helped deliver Sen. Bernie Sanders, our first ever endorsement in the presidential primary, to the brink of victory. We endorsed Sen. Sanders because his commitment to structural change resonated with our members.

While the outcome of the Jessica Cisneros race for Congressional District 28 is not clear, we are excited about the challenge we helped mount against one of the most conservative Democrats, and remain hopeful that when the votes are tallied, we will have helped propel a young, energetic progressive woman of color to victory.

In Harris County, we’re proud of the role we played in helping Commissioner Rodney Ellis win despite the Republicans and police union’s robust support of his opponent and their attempt to portray Ellis’ role in passing misdemeanor bail reform as a negative. We’re also proud of Christian Menefee’s strong showing over incumbent Vince Ryan for county attorney, who under the previous county administration fought against bail reform.

Other endorsed candidates who benefitted from TOP’s get-out-the-vote efforts included Bexar Sheriff Javier Salazar, Bexar County Commissioner Justin Rodriguez, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez, and Natalia Cornelio for district judge, We also helped get Penny Morales Shaw in HD 148 and Te’iva Bell for district judge and Roland Gutierrez running for Texas State Senate into runoffs.

In Dallas County, our endorsees Jasmine Crockett for Texas House District 100 and Audra Riley for Dallas County Criminal District Court No. 3, comfortably made it to runoff races.

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Texas Organizing Project organizes Black and Latino communities in Dallas, Harris and Bexar counties with the goal of transforming Texas into a state where working people of color have the power and representation they deserve. For more information, visit organizetexas.org.