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14 Democratic state, local candidates meet in Smith County ahead of primary election

Published: Jan. 8, 2022 at 7:26 PM CST
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - The morning was filled with gatherings, music, and learning more about each of these Democratic candidates running for office. Dr. Nancy Nichols, a member of the state Democratic Executive Committee for Senate District 1 and the event organizer, said she was inspired by a similar event in another county.

“It’s important for everyone to understand that every vote counts. It’s important for us as voters to know who we’re voting for. To come out and meet the candidates and tell the candidates what we want them to know about Smith County, about East Texas,” Nichols said.

The candidates started in Smith County and moved onto Van Zandt, Henderson, and Anderson counties throughout the day. Lee Merritt is a civil rights attorney running for Texas Attorney General. Of the 50 Texas AGs, he said the majority have been Democrats, but more recently, Republicans have held the office.

“We hit a dip back in the early 90s, and we’ve seen that gap narrow from 25 percent to just under 4 percent in the last election. I think we’re going to close that gap. In order to do tha,t we’re going to have to turnout what’s called low-propensity or unlikely voters,” Merritt said. “We’re going to have to turn out voters of color and that’s part of the reason I’m running. I have a high-profile practice that is a known commodity throughout Texas, and I’m hoping to inspire voters who have previously sat out.”

Those who came out got to hear a little about the background of each candidate and what their plans are. Cody Grace, a local man who is running for Texas House District 6, said he feels it’s important to meet the other candidates and hear what the constituents want.

“Smith County needs representation, and I don’t feel like we have that right now. We see a lot of people with no insurance. We see a lot of economic issues here, see a lot of things that are not being addressed at the state level, and I’m running to represent those things,” Grace said.

Some Democratic candidates for governor met with voters, but not in attendance was the likely Democratic gubernatorial nominee Beto O’Rourke. A recent poll by Quinnipiac University shows Governor Greg Abbott leading O’Rourke, 52 to 37 percent.

Early voting for the primary election starts Feb. 14 and goes through Feb. 26. Election Day is March 1st.

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