As the race for a critical seat in the Texas House of Representatives nears its conclusion, prominent politicians have thrown their support behind each candidate in the upcoming runoff.
Democrat Eliz Markowitz, the leading vote-getter on Nov. 5, and Republican Gary Gates will square off in a runoff election Jan. 28, with early voting scheduled for Jan. 21-24. Several high-profile names have gotten behind each candidate as they vie to replace Republican John Zerwas, who vacated the seat in July.
In a seat that many view as a harbinger for the future of the state’s political climate, Democratic
presidential candidate and former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg spent time going door-to-door with Markowitz’s campaign last week.
Former Vice President Joe Biden, another Democrat who’s running for the Oval Office, endorsed Markowitz on Monday.
Former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, a Democrat and former presidential candidate, will also be in Fort Bend County Jan. 11-12 to advocate on Markowitz’s behalf as she seeks to turn the seat from red to blue.
“I’m glad to support her & hope everyone in her district will get out and vote to help turn this critical seat blue,” Bloomberg tweeted Dec. 29.
Gates has received endorsements from prominent Republicans such as Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and current Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls, who is running for the District 22 seat in the U.S. House of Representatives that will be vacated by the retiring Pete Olson.
“Gary’s years of work in charity and in business has given him a keen insight on public safety issues,” Nehls previously said. “Gary will fight hard to protect people from crime.”
According to a report from Houston Public Media, which cited Rice political science professor Bob Stein, there are at least 17 competitive Republican statehouse seats in the 2020 cycle. Stein said Republicans won roughly half of those seats in 2018, including HD-28, with margins of fewer than 5 percentage points. Fort Bend has been a largely Republican county for decades, but has begun to trend the other direction over the last few election cycles.