Democratic Socialist Greg Casar Wins Primary in Progressive Texas District

Greg Casar, a progressive Democratic candidate running in Texas’s 35th congressional district, cruised to an easy victory in his primary election on Tuesday, defeating three other candidates and attaining a victory margin well over the 50 percent threshold needed to advance to the general election.

Casar secured 61.2 percent of the vote, or 25,313 ballots out of 41,330 that were cast. That percentage was well beyond the tally of the primary candidate who came in second place, Eddie Rodriguez, who only received 15.6 percent of the vote.

It’s unclear who Casar will face in the general election come November — in the Republican primary, no candidate could attain a 50 percent margin, so that race will require a run-off to determine who Casar will be up against. But the district is decidedly progressive — one of the most progressive, in fact, in the state of Texas — which means Casar is all but certain to become the next congressional representative for the district.

“Tonight we won, but it wasn’t about me. This election was about us, the power of the people and the power of our movement,” Casar, a Democratic socialist, said in his victory speech. “Let’s celebrate the progressive movement in Texas.”

Pedro Lira, who serves as co-director of the Texas Working Families Party, lauded Casar’s win.

“Greg Casar shows up for working people, and they showed up for him,” Lira said in a statement. “This victory is a result of the work he put in as a public servant. We were with Greg from day one, and look forward to working with him to make America work for all of us.”

Casar has proven himself to be a progressive lawmaker with an eye for institutional changes. As a member of the Austin city council since 2014, he and his colleagues made cuts to the police budget and used those funds to purchase housing for individuals experiencing homelessness. The council also established an independent forensics lab that works separately from the police department.

“There were not that many cities that actually responded to the call to transform police budgets,” Casar said to Truthout in 2021, “and in those like Austin that did step up to that call in a significant way, we can now start showing the community the results.”

During his campaign, Casar received support from many prominent progressives, including from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York), who campaigned for him and other candidates in Texas last month. The New York Democrat explained to rally-goers at the time that it was important to send candidates who care about voters’ needs, like Casar, to Congress.

“If we send a Democrat who doesn’t give a damn about people, why would we expect people to vote for that person? How can we win when we don’t stand for anything? We have to stand for something in order to bring it home,” Ocasio-Cortez said at the time.

Another candidate Ocasio-Cortez endorsed in Texas, Jessica Cisneros, who ran in the 28th congressional district primary, did not fare as well as Casar but will advance to a run-off election against incumbent Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar. That race was extremely tight, and will likely be watched closely when the two go head-to-head in the run-off race in May.