Rep. Carl Sherman enters Senate primary

Crowded in here all of a sudden.

Rep. Carl Sherman

State Rep. Carl Sherman, D-DeSoto, announced Saturday he is running for U.S. Senate, becoming the latest Democrat to launch a campaign to challenge Republican Sen. Ted Cruz.

Sherman, a pastor, jumped in the race calling for higher salaries for police officers and more hospitals in rural areas of the state.

“Texas needs a United States senator who will stand up for all of us, our children, our families, small-business owners and the working people of Texas. We need more good paying jobs in Texas, not just jobs, but good-paying jobs,” Sherman said.

Sherman joins a primary that already includes two prominent Democrats in U.S. Rep. Colin Allred of Dallas and state Sen. Roland Gutierrez of San Antonio. Nueces County District Attorney Mark Gonzalez resigned Tuesday to also run in the primary.

Sherman was first elected in 2018 to represent House District 109, a solidly blue district south of Dallas. He previously was mayor of DeSoto.


Sherman did not emerge as a potential candidate until late June. He has shrugged off any disadvantage from the late start.

“If God is calling you to do something, then it’s never too late,” Sherman said in a Dallas TV interview that aired last month.

Well, if I actually had put money on Rep. Sherman staying in his safe legislative seat, as I had said before, I’d be a little poorer today. I maintain my skepticism of his viability in a campaign that includes Colin Allred, but that’s his problem and not mine. With the earlier entrance of now-former Nueces County DA Mark Gonzalez, we have a real four-candidate race. There are at least three other candidates out there, but these are the four that matter. If nothing else, I hope that generates a lot of interest and attention.

Along those lines, here’s some more about Rep. Sherman and his intentions, per this preview story from the DMN:

Sherman set a press conference at the DeSoto town center to make what his campaign described as a major announcement about his political future. Dallas County Democratic Chairman Kardal Coleman, among others, said Friday they expect it to be a campaign launch.

Sherman signaled as much, promising that he would be joined by the mayors of DeSoto and Wilmer, along with Alissa Charles-Finley — sister of Botham Jean, a Dallas man shot and killed by a Dallas police officer — and Lee Merritt, lawyer for the Jean family.

“This will affect the race in a positive way,” Coleman said. “We have a lot of strong Democrats throughout the state, specifically here in Dallas County, who voters are excited to see take on Ted Cruz.”


Coleman isn’t worried about the rivals splitting support in their home county, adding that with Allred and Sherman in the race, Black turnout is likely to grow in the primary.

“Primaries are healthy,” he said. “People in Texas, specifically in Dallas County, are ready to see Ted Cruz go home.”


“Welcome to the fight,” Gutierrez said in a campaign statement. “It’s going to take every single one of us to beat Ted Cruz and get Texas back on track.”

Democrats viewed the growing field as a sign of enthusiasm for ousting Cruz, who barely survived a challenge from former El Paso Rep. Beto O’Rourke in 2018.

“Long shot races don’t attract as much interest as competitive races do,” said Kathleen Thompson of Progress Texas.

“The fact that there are so many qualified candidates shows that Ted Cruz is beatable.”

There’s a lot of optimistic quotes from Dems in this story, which is both understandable and mostly reasonable. Generating excitement among the base and making people believe that Ted Cruz can be beaten are both achievable goals. I expressed some doubts about the need for Mark Gonzalez’s candidacy when he entered. I have those same doubts about Carl Sherman. The question isn’t just “Would I be a better Senator than Ted Cruz”, which is a bar that can be cleared by a three-day old loaf of sourdough, it’s also “Am I a better candidate than the others already in this race”. You could say that’s what the primary is for, and that’s fair. I view it as if we’ve already got one or more entrants that are broadly acceptable and have no obvious red flags, then I’m not sure what the value is in just adding more similar choices. Obviously, not everyone sees it that way, and your mileage may vary.

If nothing else, we’re creating a larger pool of candidates who have run statewide, which ought to be of help in 2026. I can’t say I’m convinced that the larger field will generate excitement and draw attention, but I’m intrigued by the possibility. I don’t really know Gonzalez or Sherman, they may surprise me. I don’t agree that longshot races don’t attract as much interest as competitive races do – we’ve had some multi-candidate fields for dark red Congressional districts in recent years – but I would agree that competitive races draw more interest from quality candidates. Something is telling all of these guys that they can beat Ted Cruz. Let’s listen to them and see what we think.

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2 Responses to Rep. Carl Sherman enters Senate primary

  1. Ginger says:

    The DMN should have added to this that Lee Merritt isn’t just the lawyer for Botham Jean’s family, he’s a civil rights activist here in Dallas. A Black candidate for Senate from our part of Texas with ties to the Black civil rights community here puts a noticeable face on what these folks think of Allred’s candidacy.

  2. Joel says:

    Can we be done with new candidates now? I would already have a sign in my yard, but all the announcements are making me do more research first.

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