Lesbian wins Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD race
DAVID TAFFET | Senior Staff Writer
Early voting in state primary runoffs begins Monday, May 16, and runs through Friday, May 20. Runoff day is Tuesday, May 24. The runoffs will determine which two candidates will face off in November to replace Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson in Congress, and which Democrat will replace Jasmine Crockett — one of the candidates to replace Johnson — in the state House.
Local elections were held for school boards and area city councils on May 7. In the race for the Carrollton/Farmers Branch Independent School District, where voters were choosing three board of trustees members out of five candidates running, Ileana Garza-Rojas was the top vote-getter. Garza-Rojas and her wife have lived in Farmers Branch for 11 years. They have two children. She describes herself as a child advocate and said her wife is an NICU nurse.
Another high-profile member of the community barely lost her race for Denton City Council. Amber Briggle is the mom of a trans teen who famously invited the Paxtons (as in Attorney General Ken and state Sen. Angela) over to dinner several years ago. Although the dinner went well, the Briggles earlier this year found themselves the subject of one of the first child protective services investigations ordered by Gov. Greg Abbott, who ordered the investigations based on Ken Paxton’s non-binding opinion that gender-affirming health care for trans youth is child abuse.
Although she didn’t win her election, Briggle has been busy since the election. She can be seen in a new ad that the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation is running in Texas and a few other states where right-wing lawmakers are trying to pass anti-trans legislation. The Briggles made news this week when Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke went to their house to make dinner and hang out. That dinner seems to have gone better than dinner with the Paxtons.
Statewide, congressional, legislative and local candidates will be selected in runoffs that begin with early voting Monday through Friday followed by Election Day on May 24. Polls will be open 7 a.m.-7 p.m. for early voting, and Dallas County voters may vote at any polling location.
The race that’s gotten the most attention locally is the one to decide who will replace Congresswoman Johnson, who is retiring. The Democratic race is between state Rep. Jasmine Crockett, whom Johnson has endorsed, and Jane Hope Hamilton, former chief of staff for Rep. Marc Veasey.
On the Republican side in that race, James Harris faces James Rodgers.
The district is heavily Democratic and has been represented by Johnson since the 30th District was created in 1993.
The race to replace Crockett in the state house is between openly gay candidate Venton Jones and Sandra Crenshaw. In addition to the Stonewall endorsement, Jones has the backing of the LGBT Victory Fund, which labeled him a spotlight candidate.
If elected, Jones will become the first out Black member of the Texas Legislature.
Several other openly LGBTQ legislative candidates are in runoffs around the state, including Lorenzo Sanchez who is running for District 70 in McKinney. Jolanda Jones is running for a seat in southeast Houston and would become the first out Black lesbian in the Legislature if elected. Christian Manuel Hayes is running for District 22 in Beaumont.
Four other LGBT candidates have already secured the Democratic Party’s nomination for seats from Tarrant County, Bastrop, Fredricksburg/New Braunfels and one southwest of Houston. Five of six members of the House LGBTQ Caucus are also running for re-election. The caucus would more than double in size if each of these candidates is elected in November.
The House LGBTQ Caucus member not seeking re-election is state Rep. Celia Israel. Israel is instead running to become mayor of Austin.
While most local elections are held in May, Austin changed its election to November to increase voter turnout. Houston is the only other major city in Texas that holds its local elections in November.
Texas has yet to send an LGBTQ person to Congress. This year, we could send two.
Mary Woods won the March 1 Democratic primary to face Rep. Pete Sessions in November. While representing a Dallas district that included part of Oak Lawn, Sessions once famously claimed there were no LGBTQ people in his district. Now he’ll spend the fall debating and campaigning against one for his Waco district.
Claudia Zapata is in a runoff to be the nominee to face U.S. Rep. Chip Roy. Before entering Congress, Roy was Sen. Ted Cruz’s chief of staff.
All statewide positions are up for grabs in the November election. The candidate for a number of those positions will be determined in the runoff.
The Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor — either state Rep. Michelle Beckley or Mike Collier — will be decided in the runoff. Collier has Stonewall’s endorsement. The winner will face Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.
Both parties will decide their nominees for attorney general in the runoff. On the Democratic side, the race is between former Galveston Mayor Joe Jaworski and Rochelle Garza. Jaworski has the Stonewall endorsement. Running on the Republican side, George P. Bush faces indicted Attorney General Ken Paxton.
For state comptroller, Stonewall has endorsed Janet Dudding in her race against Angel Vega. And for commissioner of the general land office, Jay Kleberg was endorsed by Stonewall over Sandragrace Martinez.
And one race of note on the Republican side is that for railroad commissioner. When she had no money to run a competitive race in the primary, Sarah Stogner bared it all and posted a video on TikTok of herself riding an oil derrick nude. It got her into the runoff and brought in enough money to buy her some TV ads.
A lot of TV ads.
TV ads where she claims she’s been fighting the liberals in Texas for 14 years. At least, she claims, she favors Midland not Moscow.
The Democratic candidate in another local congressional race will be decided in the runoff. For U.S. District 24, Stonewall endorsed Derrik Gay over Jan McDowell to face Rep. Beth van Duyne in November.
In an additional state House race, Stonewall endorsed John Bryant over Alexandra Guio for District 114, which covers the area around White Rock Lake. Guio came in first in the primary. Bryant served in the Texas House for nine years before being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives where he served seven terms.
Several local Dallas County races have yet to be decided. Stonewall has endorsed incumbent County Clerk John Warren over Ann Cruz. For county commissioner precinct 2, Stonewall favors Andrew Sommerman.
Oak Lawn Library and Grauwyler Recreation Center are the early voting locations in and near Oak Lawn. Oak Cliff Government Center and Martin Weiss Recreation Center are both in North Oak Cliff.