Texas Primaries 2022: A Case Study In Polarization

first state primary of 2022 on Tuesday
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In the first state primary of 2022 on Tuesday, Trump-backed Republicans surged and progressives had strong performances in key, traditionally moderate Democratic districts in Texas.

Incumbent Gov. Greg Abbott, who moved even more sharply to the right in the last year, handily fended off a bevy of challengers from his right to win. Similarly, Lieutenant Gov. Dan Patrick, who has a close relationship with Trump that he has used to build influence, also sailed to his party’s nomination.

Progressives also had a strong showing. In the closely watched 28th Congressional District, Jessica Cisneros, an immigration lawyer backed by the Democratic Party’s progressive wing, and Rep. Henry Cuellar, the last anti-abortion Democrat in Congress, are headed to a runoff. In the open 35th District, former Austin city council member Greg Casar easily avoided a runoff.

In another race attracting national interest, former Senate and presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke also avoided a runoff, defeating his closest rival by more than 85 percentage points.

The success of opposing wings of both parties reflect just how polarized newly drawn Texas electoral maps are — and that’s by Republican design. Some blue districts have become bluer, but mostly in the service of simultaneously making safe Republican districts even safer. Read more.

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