Endorsement watch: Two uphill battles

Two new endorsements from the Chron, in races that aren’t likely to be competitive but whose primaries feature a candidate who’s going to give their best shot and a candidate who’s literally nothing but a name on the ballot. First up in CD22 is Marquette Greene-Scott.

Marquette Green-Scott

When the Texas lawmakers redrew the 22nd Congressional District in 2021, they effectively attempted to carve up any hope that Democrats had of winning that seat.

What was once a purplish district with a heavy Asian American population instead was redrawn to loop in rural, whiter, Republican-leaning counties such as Wharton and Matagorda. The intent was clear: after two election cycles in 2018 and 2020 in which Democrats ran competitive races in the 22nd, Republicans wanted to ensure that the GOP incumbent, U.S. Rep. Troy Nehls, would be safe for years to come. Their strategy, so far, has proved successful. Nehls trounced his nominal Democratic opponent in 2022 by 27 points.

Based on that lopsided result, conventional wisdom is that the odds are stacked against Marquette Greene-Scott, an attorney and Iowa Colony City Council member running this year to be the district’s Democratic nominee. Yet Greene-Scott, 52, isn’t wired to take anything for granted. Show her Nehls’ margin of victory in the 2022 election, and she’ll point out that the Democrat in that race won 35% while barely even campaigning. Show her the district’s homogenous political representation, and she’ll counter that the district is still majority-minority — roughly 30% Latino, 11% Black and 15% Asian — and relatively well educated — nearly half the district has a bachelor’s degree or higher — demographics that could, in theory, bode well for a competitive race. The challenge, she said, will be ensuring that all of these potential voters are registered, motivated to turn out and open-minded enough to believe a Democrat can win.


“I’m not naive, I understand what I’m up against,” Greene-Scott told the editorial board. “I’m not taking anything for granted. I’m putting in the leg work, I’m doing everything I need to do to be successful.”

It helps that Greene-Scott has local government experience as a City Council member in Iowa Colony. She doesn’t indulge in activist rhetoric that could turn people off or push unrealistic policies that won’t stand a chance in Washington. She is a self-described fiscal conservative with socially liberal views that are in line with most mainstream Democrats: she wants to enhance subsidies for the Affordable Care Act to make health insurance more widely available, as well as support programs for military veterans and their families.

One of her top priorities is protecting voting rights, namely by codifying the Voting Rights Act’s “preclearance” requirement, which the Supreme Court struck down in 2013. That provision required states, such as Texas, with a history of voter discrimination to submit voting rules changes or proposed district maps to the federal government before they took effect.

And the second is over in SD07 with NAsir Malik.

Nasir Malik

Nasir Malik isn’t afraid of an uphill battle.

He came to this country as a teenager, settling with family in Amarillo. He worked mornings at the Holiday Inn and evenings at a grocery store.

“I was promoted, just like ‘Coming to America,’” said Malik, from busboy to room service, back in the days when Holiday Inn had room service.

His path from there to here, running to represent Democrats in the race for District 7 of the Texas Senate against Republican incumbent Paul Bettencourt, is not straightforward. He went to community college, went back home to Pakistan, returned to Texas and picked up an accounting degree, moved to Dallas to work at the stately Anatole Hotel with its own underground tunnel for presidents and senators, made his way to Houston and even opened a burger joint at one point. Now semi-retired from his custom home building business, Malik, 56, also had a roundabout political journey as well. In 2014, he ran for Justice of the Peace as a Republican. But the causes that motivated him then — getting school truancy cases out of the courts — weren’t so far from the Democratic Party he found a home in shortly after losing that election. Today, he still champions the public schools that he credits for helping raise his successful children. In addition, he prioritizes gun safety, a reliable electric grid and restoring women’s reproductive rights.

It’s been 10 years since Bettencourt first took office after the previous officeholder, Dan Patrick, moved up to lieutenant governor. The district has changed a bit since then but still holds some of the fast-growing areas of northwest Harris County, including parts of Cypress, Klein, Tomball and up into Montgomery County. Not exactly an easy area to flip, but Malik pointed to the growing population of non-white residents in the area, who make up the majority, as a potential strength for Democrats.

Looking beyond the primary, Malik has his eyes on Bettencourt, a committed school voucher proponent.

“The current senator will have a rude awakening,” said Malik, who never campaigns without his slightly oversized Texas lapel pin.

Greene-Scott’s website is here, Malik’s is here. Both are running against terrible incumbents, who deserve to have actual engaged opponents. These are clear choices.

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