Two Latinas are making history in the Lone Star State. On Tuesday, Veronica Escobar and Sylvia Garcia won the Democratic nominations in their respective races, and with both districts favoring their party, they are expected to easily win the general elections in November, which would make them the first Tejanas to serve in Texas’ congressional delegation.
In El Paso, former county judge Escobar beat out five other candidates running to replace Democratic U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, who is campaigning for the U.S. Senate.
“We did it,” the 48-year-old, EMILY’s List-backed candidate tweeted Tuesday. “I’m so honored to be your Democratic nominee, El Paso! We’re going to make history by electing the first Tejana to Congress in November, and I couldn’t have done it without all of you.”
WE DID IT!! I’m so honored to be your Democratic nominee, El Paso! We’re going to make history by electing the first Tejana to Congress in November, and I couldn’t have done it without all of you! pic.twitter.com/Chan9bJW4N
— Veronica Escobar (@vgescobar) March 7, 2018
Back in September, a short time after Escobar, who grew up working on a dairy farm near the U.S.-Mexico border, threw her hat in the ring, she stressed the need for more Latina politicians in her state, which is 40 percent Latinx.
“It means a lot, especially now with what you hear from the national level to really be that first Latina from Texas. … It’s important for me, it’s important for my family and it’s important for my daughter to see a person who’s like her in that role,” she told the Huffington Post.
But Escobar won’t be alone — not that she wants to be.
Across the state in Houston, Garcia, a state senator, won the nomination with more than 64 percent of the vote. The EMILY’s List-supported candidate is poised to replace retiring Democratic Rep. Gene Green. The congressman, who ran and won against Garcia for the seat in 1992, also endorsed the Mexican-American long-time politico.
“This is not my victory. This is all of our victory,” Garcia, 67, said at her post-election party on Tuesday. “I wanted people to feel like they are a part of something positive and wonderful, and I hope they did.”
I can't thank #TeamSylvia enough for the numerous contributions they made to our campaign. With your support, our grassroots, progressive movement proved that people speak louder than money. I'll always continue standing on the front lines of equality & justice. #SiSePudo pic.twitter.com/ryw5e8JTBk
— Sylvia R. Garcia (@SenatorSylvia) March 7, 2018
There are currently five Texas Latinos in Congress. Should Escobar and Garcia win the general elections in November, they would be the first Latinas to serve in the state’s congressional delegation as well as the first class of Texas freshmen women elected to a full term in Congress in more than two decades. They could even be joined by more women, from both parties, as well as another Latina, San Antonio Democrat Gina Ortiz Jones, who is running in a tough race for a district seat currently held by Republican Will Hurd.