Primary Election: Ogg out; Teare, Lee, Cantu in

HARRIS COUNTY – Former prosecutor Sean Teare ousted Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg from the November ballot Tuesday following a bruising Democratic primary campaign that saw progressive county and city officials back the challenger.

In his bid for re-election to the Harris County Department of Education board, East Aldine District’s Richard Cantu won by getting 64% of the vote.

In other races of interest, for Sheriff incumbent Ed Gonzelez won with 67% of the vote; in Constable races Al Rosen won 75% of the vote in Precinct 1; Jerry Garcia won76% in Precinct 2; and Sherman Eagleton won 82% of the vote in Precinct 3. For County Attorney incumbent Christian Menefee received 70% of the vote.

Running unopposed were Judge Joe Stephens, and State Representatives Armando Walle, Senfronia Thompson and Ana Hernandez. State Senator Carol Alvarado ran unopposed, as did Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia. Some of these democrats will face opponents in the November general election, though.

On the Republican ticket, Briscoe Cain beat challenger Bianca Gracia for Texas House District 128.

Aiming for a third term, Ogg conceded the race shortly before 9 p.m., before any Election Day votes had been tallied. She only received 25% of the vote, to Teare’s 75%.

In her speech, Ogg touted her record as district attorney and argued financial support from outside of Houston as the reason Teare prevailed.

“I have made some powerful enemies for all the right reasons,” Ogg said.

The early voting and absentee ballot returns staked Teare to a 50 percentage point lead that proved impossible for Ogg to overcome.

Teare, who resigned from a leadership position in the district attorney’s office to run against Ogg last year, now has to win the November general election against former prosecutor Dan Simons to take charge of his former workplace.

“I’m really excited because I know I’ve taken one step closer to actually being in the office and implementing some real change,” Teare said.

Meanwhile, longtime U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee swatted away a spirited challenge by attorney and former Jackson Lee intern Amanda Edwards.

After a crushing loss in the Houston mayoral runoff in December, Jackson Lee was seen as vulnerable by Edwards, who argued Congressional District 18 voters are ready for a fresh face.

In full but unofficial vote tallies reported late Wednesday morning, other primary upsets emerged, including six incumbent state district judges who lost their benches to challengers.

The elections are part of 241 Democratic and Republican primary races across Harris County, according to County Clerk Teneshia Hudspeth, along with thousands more across Texas and 14 other states holding primaries or caucuses on Super Tuesday.

Other Harris County results include: Harris County District Attorney

Teare resigned from his leadership post in Ogg’s office last year and announced his election bid with hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign funds and the backing of Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, Precinct 1 Commissioner Rodney Ellis and other Houston-area Democrats.

Ogg, who first was elected in 2016, cruised to victory in her last Democratic Primary in 2020. In the four years since, however, a series of high-profile case losses, a lingering backlog of criminal cases and public feuds with Commissioners Court left Ogg abandoned by the left flank of her party.

Teare claimed Ogg weaponized her office against political opponents and ran as a self-professed progressive who will bring criminal justice reform to bear in the county.

That message appeared to be breaking through to voters by the second day of early voting.

Juan Paloma, a 76-year-old who lives in Midtown, said he voted for Teare primarily as a vote against Ogg.

“I had never heard of him before he started running, I was just determined to vote for anybody but Kim Ogg,” Paloma said.

Ogg said she had taken steps to reform the county’s criminal justice system already and the political process was being weaponized against her for simply following the law.

Teare vastly out-raised Ogg to jump-start his campaign. Ogg criticized Teare for his high-dollar donors, including nearly $700,000 from billionaire George Soros’ Texas Justice and Safety PAC.

In 2016, Ogg was backed by that same PAC in her successful election challenge of Republican incumbent Devon Anderson.

Congressional District 2 U.S. Rep. Dan Crenshaw defeated far-right challenger Jameson Ellis by a comfortable margin in the Republican primary.

Crenshaw, a former Navy SEAL, has held the seat since 2018, and was initially a Republican darling after receiving national attention when a Saturday Night Live skit made fun of the eye patch he wears to cover a wound received while in service.

Since then, Republicans have soured on Crenshaw.

Ellis ran as the “America First choice to challenge Dan Crenshaw.”

Congressional District 18, Jackson Lee declared victory Tuesday evening at a watch party prior to most Election Day results being reported.

Edwards, in a speech around the same time, said she was waiting for more results to be reported. With final results released Wednesday, Jackson Lee’s lead remained largely unchanged.

Jackson Lee jumped straight from a bruising campaign for Houston mayor to the strongest challenge of her incumbency throughout her nearly 30 years in office. She ended up having an easier time defeating Edwards, a former Houston city council member, than a University of Houston Hobby School of Public Affairs poll last month had suggested. That survey had the well-funded Edwards within 5 percentage points of the incumbent.

The congresswoman and 42-year-old Edwards largely agree on policy, but Edwards said the district is ready for a change after decades of representation by Jackson Lee.

While there was speculation Jackson Lee might retire rather than run for reelection after the mayor’s race, Jackson Lee said she remains committed to fighting for her district in Washington, D.C.

Texas House District 128

GOP state Rep. Briscoe Cain defeated community activist Bianca Gracia by a wide margin in the safely Republican district.

Gracia challenged Cain with the backing of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who Cain voted to impeach last year. Paxton has funded primary challengers to supporters of his impeachment across Texas.

Harris County Attorney First-term Harris County Attorney Christian Menefee easily bested civil rights attorney Umeka “UA” Lewis in the Democratic primary.

Lewis brought a higher name ID to the race because of a false arrest lawsuit she filed and won against the city in 2019, but fell far behind Menefee in early returns.

Harris County Sheriff

Sheriff Ed Gonzalez easily defeated three Democratic Primary challengers, well above the 50 percent threshold needed to avoid a runoff.

On the Republican side, former At-Large Houston City Council Member Mike Knox bested three others for the opportunity to face Gonzalez in the November.

U.S. Senate

U.S. Rep. Colin Allred, D-Dallas, won the Democratic Primary for U.S. Senate, setting up a November race against Sen. Ted Cruz. State. Sen. Rolad Gutierrez, D-San Antonio, came in a distant second.

Cruz easily defeated his two primary challengers.

U.S. President

President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump continued their march to their parties’ nominations for the second presidential election cycle in a row.

Both men easily won their primaries in Texas easily, with Trump brushing aside former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and Biden not facing any serious challenger.

— With Ed Cagley, Houston Landing

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