Elections 2020 | KERA News

Elections 2020

The little girl ran up to her, wide-eyed and giddy.

“Are you Charisse Davis?” the fourth grader asked.

Davis was stunned. A former kindergarten teacher and librarian, she was more accustomed to shuttling her two sons to basketball practice than being seen as a local celebrity.

With less than 100 days until Election Day, here's where things stand:

LM Otero / Associated Press

The headlines are pretty clear:

  • MJ Hegar got past Dallas state senator Royce West in the Democratic runoff and now sets her sights on U.S. Senator John Cornyn this fall.

Keren Carrión / KERA News

Tuesday’s primary runoff election was a bit of a test run for November. There were bumps in the road, from issues with mail-in ballots to stories of polling places shutting down at the last minute because workers were too afraid of COVID-19 to show up.


During Tuesday’s primary runoff, voters renewed a long-standing sales tax that will help pay for extra police protection in Fort Worth.

Alex Brandon / Associated Press

An ally who worked for President Trump in the White House won the Republican runoff for a Congressional seat in the Texas Panhandle.

U.S. Senate candidate MJ Hegar wears a Baby Yoda mask while early voting on July 9th.
Eric Gay / Associated Press

M.J. Hegar, the former Air Force pilot from the Austin suburb of Round Rock, narrowly defeated Royce West, the Dallas state senator, in the Democratic runoff to face Republican U.S. Sen. John Cornyn this fall.

Updated at 4:45 a.m. ET on Wednesday

Jeff Sessions has lost a bid to regain his old Alabama U.S. Senate after falling from grace as President Trump's attorney general.

Sessions had been hoping for redemption after enduring months of relentless ridicule from Trump that eventually led to his resignation as the country's top lawyer.

Keren Carrión / KERA News

It's the first time Texans are voting amid the coronavirus pandemic. KERA News reporters asked people what brought them to the polls and how voting felt different.

There is no Republican candidate, so whoever wins Tuesday's Democratic runoff for El Paso DA , James Montoya (left) or Yvonne Rosales (right), will ultimately take office.
JamesMontoya.com and Facebook: Yvonne Rosales Campaign Facebook

Nationwide protests sparked by the police killing of George Floyd have led to renewed calls for criminal justice reform, and shined a spotlight on the role district attorneys play in shaping how the law is enforced on a local level.

David J. Phillip / Associated Press

Voting is complicated during a typical election season, but the coronavirus pandemic has made the situation even more confusing. From what’s on the ballot to where to vote, here’s a helpful guide on what you need to know to vote on July 14 in North Texas’ runoff elections. 

Mail-in voting, which tens of millions of Americans are expected to use this November, is fraught with potential problems. Hundreds of thousands of ballots go uncounted each year because people make mistakes, such as forgetting to sign the form or sending it in too late.

Chanda Parbhoo is the founder of SAAVE, South Asian Americans for Voter Education + Engagement + Empowerment.
Shelby Tauber for The Texas Tribune

When Chanda Parbhoo attended high school in Dallas’ Highland Park suburb in the early ’80s, there were only two South Asian American families in her school district, including her own.

“We didn't really have a voice,” Parbhoo, 54, said. “We were often overlooked, probably because there weren't that many of us.”

Texas House of Representatives chamber Nov. 20, 2018.
Marjorie Kamys Cotera for The Texas Tribune

After a string of Texas House primary seasons featuring broad intraparty combat, the 2020 one is coming down to three runoffs Tuesday where hardline conservatives are out for a much-needed breakthrough.

Texas voters are not required to wear masks while casting their ballots in person for the primary runoffs, the first statewide election during the coronavirus pandemic.
Jordan Vonderhaar / The Texas Tribune

A lack of workers willing to run polling sites as Texas continues to report record coronavirus infections is forcing election officials in two major counties — Tarrant and Bexar — to scale back plans for the July 14 primary runoff elections.

David J. Phillip / Associated Press

Friday is the last day of early voting in the primary runoff election. And while face masks are in wide use at the polls, Gov. Greg Abbott isn’t requiring them. It’s one of the exceptions to his executive order to wear masks in public places

Bret Jaspers / KERA

Nathaniel Aranda of Fort Worth and his wife made a commitment to vote no matter what, because they want their voices heard. Life is complicated, though. 

President Donald Trump and Democratic candidate for president Joe Biden.
Jonathan Ernst: Trump | Xavier Collin: Biden via REUTERS

President Donald Trump would beat former Vice President Joe Biden in Texas by 4 percentage points if the election were held today, according to a new poll from the University of Texas and the Texas Politics Project.

The Railroad Commission of Texas might be one of the most powerful government agencies you’ve never heard of. That’s because, despite the name, the commission regulates the Texas oil and gas industry.

At Victoria Park in Irving, volunteers with the group Dems Care Vote Safe pack Ziploc bags with gloves, face masks and hand sanitizer to pass out to voters before the July runoff election.
Syeda Hasan / KERA News

On an overcast Saturday morning at Victoria Park in Irving, a couple dozen volunteers sit at picnic tables, packing Ziploc bags with gloves, face masks and hand sanitizer. 

MJ Hegar has been the front-runner throughout Texas' Democratic primary race for the U.S. Senate. Hegar, who first ran for office during a wave of women seeking office following the Me Too movement, won 22% of the vote in the crowded March primary.

Bret Jaspers / KERA News

Years ago, when his kids were young, Texas Sen. Royce West remembers getting stopped by a cop.

Texas has open primaries, meaning you don't have to be a registered member of either party to cast a ballot in a primary runoff.
Michael Stravato / For The Texas Tribune

On July 14, Texas will hold its 2020 runoff elections to decide the final spots for Democrats and Republicans on the November general election ballot. 

Updated at 9:05 a.m. ET Sunday

In his first big campaign event since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States, President Trump reached back into his culture war playbook to paint an image of a left-wing extremist dystopia that will take hold if he is defeated and Democratic opponent Joe Biden is elected this November.

Ahead of the July 14 runoff election, Democrats MJ Hegar and Texas State Sen. Royce West debated in Austin Saturday evening.

Is 2020 The Year Texas Becomes A Battleground State?

May 12, 2020
Former Vice President Joe Biden
Associated Press

Texas has voted for a Republican in every presidential election since 1980. But that decades-long hold may be eroding, according to some political experts.

Donald Trump won Texas by less than 9% of the vote in 2016. And the margin was even smaller for Sen. Ted Cruz in 2018, the year of the last statewide contest.

Former U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions
Angela Piazza for The Texas Tribune

As Pete Sessions seeks a return to Congress, he has spent over $80,000 in campaign funds on legal fees, illuminating a wrinkle in campaign finance law while drawing increasing criticism from his Republican primary runoff opponent.

Former Vice President Joe Biden formally began the process of selecting a running mate on Thursday morning, releasing the names of former and current Democratic officials who will lead his search for a vice presidential candidate, who Biden has said will be a woman.

Former Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd, Delaware Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Cynthia C. Hogan, a top aide to Biden in the Senate and White House, will lead the search over the coming months.

Courtesy of Izcan Ordaz

Izcan Ordaz voted for the first time in Texas’ Democratic primary on March 3, or Super Tuesday. As an 18-year-old high school senior, he was excited for this milestone in his young life.

That was just before the U.S. became an epicenter in the coronavirus pandemic.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, center, and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., far right, participate in a Democratic presidential primary debate at CNN Studios in Washington on March 15, 2020.
Associated Press

Preparations for the 2020 general election debates are proceeding “according to schedule” despite the coronavirus outbreak.