Green group steps up involvement in Texas elections

The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) Action Fund is increasing its investments in Texas elections, endorsing a Democrat running in a crowded primary for an open House seat.

LCV Action Fund announced Tuesday that it’s endorsing Democrat Veronica Escobar in the race to replace Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas), who is leaving the seat for a Senate bid.

Escobar will be featured on the group’s GiveGreen website, which helps raise money for candidates who back policies protecting the environment. If Escobar wins, the former El Paso County judge would be the first Latina from Texas to serve in Congress.

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But she’ll need to get through a contested primary first, and former El Paso school board president Dori Fenenbock is her strongest competitor. Fenenbock has been a strong fundraiser who has also been able to self-fund. The primary also includes attorney Enrique Garcia and public radio executive John Rene Carrillo.

O’Rourke, whom LCV endorsed last week, is facing an uphill battle to unseat Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote The Hill’s Morning Report – Trump’s public standing sags after Floyd protests GOP senators introduce resolution opposing calls to defund the police MORE (R-Texas).

“[Escobar] has a strong history of public service and working to combat environmental injustices,” Tiernan Sittenfeld, the group’s senior vice president of government affairs, said in a statement provided to The Hill.

“In Congress we know Escobar will continue to advocate for all Texans, particularly the border communities and communities of color, and it is long past due time that Texas sends a Latina to Congress.”

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Escobar has earned O’Rourke’s support and other influential endorsements from Democratic groups including EMILY’s List, Democracy for America, Latino Victory Fund and End Citizens United.

Escobar raised about $332,000 in her first fundraising quarter as a candidate and has just shy of $300,000 cash on hand as of Sept. 30. Fenenbock has raised nearly $600,000 over two fundraising quarters, which includes a loan of $100,000. She has $405,000 in the bank as of Sept. 30.

O’Rourke’s El Paso-based district is a safe Democratic seat, and whoever wins the nomination will be the front-runner in the general election. The primary is on March 6.

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