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Democrats pull out all the stops to keep Southside district blue in Tuesday's Texas House runoff 

click to enlarge Democrat Frank Ramirez speaks Sunday at his campaign headquarters. - SANFORD NOWLIN
  • Sanford Nowlin
  • Democrat Frank Ramirez speaks Sunday at his campaign headquarters.
With Texas Republicans focused on flipping a blue-leaning Texas House seat in South San Antonio, Democrats dispatched more than a dozen elected officials over the weekend to turn up the heat.

High-profile Democratic state lawmakers plus a slate of candidates for statewide office showed up Sunday to block walk for former city council staffer Frank Ramirez, who's locked in a runoff to claim the District 118 seat opened by the resignation of former Democratic Rep. Leo Pacheco.

Ramirez is running against Republican John Lujan, a veteran firefighter who's pulled the endorsement of Gov. Greg Abbott plus an influx of GOP campaign cash. Early voting has already closed for the runoff, and election day is Tuesday, Nov. 2.

Republicans targeted the seat as part of a strategy to offset a loss of suburban voters dismayed by the party's hard-right turn by targeting South Texas Latinos. Democrats want to thwart that attempt to stave off GOP gains in the Texas Legislature and send a signal before the 2022 election cycle.

"This is an all-hands-on-deck election," Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa said at Sunday's campaign event. "We've got to win this election. There is no scenario where we can lose."

Joe Biden beat Donald Trump in the district by a 14-point margin in 2020. However, in the general election for the Texas House seat, Democratic and Republican candidates were virtually tied.

What's more, Democratic officials worry that complications from Gov. Greg Abbott's late calling of the election such as separate polling places for the runoff and a vote on Texas constitutional amendments could keep voters away. A listing of polling places for the runoff is available online from the Bexar County Elections Department.

During Sunday's event, Ramirez and others hit on the theme that Democrats can't take the seat for granted.

"It's more than just me, it's more than just the people standing behind me," said Ramirez, flanked by a Who's Who of Texas Democrats. "It's everybody in the state of Texas that's relying on us to be the voice of reason, to be the vision of the future and the progress of our state."

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January 12, 2022

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