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2nd Place In Texas Democratic Primary For Attorney General Remains Unsettled; Runoff Election To Be Set On March 13

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) - The Democratic primary runoff for Texas Attorney General will be set March 13 after the Texas Democratic Party certifies the primary election.

Candidate Rochelle Garza, a former ACLU Staff Attorney, will be in the runoff after coming in first place Tuesday night, March 1, after winning 423,212 votes or 43%.

But the race for second place remains unsettled.

Attorney and former Galveston Mayor Joe Jaworski is in second place after earning 196,463 votes or 19.6%, while Civil Rights Attorney Lee Merritt received 195,045 votes or 19.46%.

In an interview Friday, Merritt said the race isn't over yet. "We know that there are tens of thousands of ballots being counted. Right now, it's the reason that no one has called the election yet, because we're down to less than 1,400 ballots between Mr. Jaworski and I."

Whoever wins the runoff May 24 will face the winner of the Republican primary runoff: either incumbent Ken Paxton or George P. Bush, the current Texas Land Commissioner.

Merritt told CBS 11, his campaign is calling voters to make sure they know if their mail in ballots were rejected, they have until Monday to correct them.

On Friday afternoon, Jaworski said he's doing the same thing.

While he said he respects what Merritt is saying, Jaworski doesn't think there are that many votes outstanding.

"I think that this time next week, we're going to see Joe Jaworski firmly in the runoff as the second-place vote getter, and it'll be a new race," he said.

If they make the runoff against Garza, both men have their message to voters.

Merritt said, "If we're going to win Texas statewide, we're going to have to engage non-traditional voters, we're going to have to engage voters under 30. That's what our campaign has always been about. That's why we've had over 10,000 non-traditional donors, small-dollar donors given to our campaign, which is more than any other candidate involved in the race."

Jaworski said, "I think it matters that local government experience, as a lawyer, and then having run before and earned votes. This is what's going to cause moderate Republicans, Independents, and all Democrats to come together to get more of a vote count than Mr. Paxton. Well, I don't think Miss Garza can say that."

In an interview Friday, Garza pointed to the fact she received 235,749 more votes than Jaworski in the first round.

"Our message resonated with the people of Texas," Garza said.

She said she's looking ahead to the general election in November.

"43.1% of the vote is a resounding statement from the people of Texas. We're laser focused on November and ensuring that we go after Ken Paxton and that we unseat him."

Garza, Merritt, and Jaworski all said they believe Paxton will defeat Bush in the Republican primary runoff.



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