AUSTIN (KXAN) — It’s been more than two decades since a Democrat has won the office of Texas Attorney General. Democratic voters headed to the polls for the primary runoff election to choose a candidate they hope can end that streak: Rochelle Garza. The runoff race pit the former ACLU attorney against Joe Jaworski, a former mayor of Galveston.
Garza received 303,450 votes (62.72%), while Jaworski got 180,378 (37.28%).
Jaworski said his three decades of experience as a trial lawyer makes him the most qualified candidate. He emphasized wanting to refocus the office toward consumer protection, specifically working to hold private health care insurance companies to account.
Garza, a Brownsville native, highlights herself as someone who “deeply understands” Texas working families and the issues they care about — especially when it comes to Texans’ grievances with the health care system.
Garza pointed to a case she won before the U.S. Supreme Court as evidence she can have success in major legal battles. In Azar v. Garza, she represented a teenage, undocumented immigrant in U.S. custody who was denied access to abortion.
“I’m the only one that has been able to reinforce reproductive rights,” Garza said. “With Roe [Roe v. Wade] at risk this summer, we’re going to need someone like that. We’re going to need someone like me, a champion who knows how to fight these cases … knows how to ensure that we protect civil rights.”
Her case before the high court resulted in the “Garza notice,” a requirement that teenagers in immigration custody must be informed of their right to access abortion.
“I think we’re all substantially on the same page when it comes to the major ticket items that appear on cable news every night. But my specific request to Democratic voters is restore the Texas Attorney General’s Office to that of a consumer protection law firm,” Jaworski said.
“If Democrats want to win in November, then I’m going to respectfully suggest that they support Joe Jaworski, an attorney who not only will get every Democrat to vote, as Ms. Garza may be able to say, but also moderate Republicans and independents,” Jaworski added.
Garza said ahead of the runoff her vote count made her confident Texans will choose her in May.
“We pulled in over 400,000 votes, more than double the next two opponents. The people of Texas are saying something. They’re saying that they’re ready for representation; they’re ready for a woman to take on this position, a Latina,” Garza said.