With the primary elections in Texas quickly approaching, some groups are calling on Democrats to cross over and vote in Republican primaries in order to thwart conservative candidates.

While establishing closed primaries—in which voters may only vote in the primary elections for the party they are affiliated with—has been a legislative priority of the Republican Party of Texas, the state instead operates an open primary system.

Voters of any party can choose which party’s primary they would like to vote in, although they may not vote in both in the same year.

In some districts, that means Democrats voting in Republican primary elections in safely red districts in order to elect more moderate candidates.

While the issue has been a priority of the Texas GOP, it hasn’t gotten traction in the state legislature. 

In recent weeks, however, new attention has been placed on the issue, after an internal memo from presidential hopeful Nikki Haley’s campaign revealed that Democrat support in open primary states like Texas could boost her chances.

And it’s not just national politics.

Pastors for Children—a group that advocates against parental choice in education—encouraged Democrat voters in a social media post this week to vote in Republican primary elections in order to defeat pro-school choice candidates.

In Belton, where State Rep. Hugh Shine (R–Temple) is facing opposition from a pro-school choice challenger, a local Democrat was caught encouraging Democrats to vote in the Republican primary election.

Similar calls have also been seen in State Rep. Glenn Rogers’ (R–Graford) district.

Christine Welborn, the executive director of the election integrity advocacy group Advancing Integrity, said it’s past time for closed primaries in Texas.

“Each party must be able to choose candidates that best represent the values of that party. We must close the primaries and end the sabotage,” said Welborn.

State Rep. Brian Harrison (R–Midlothian) agreed.

“Texas must (finally) stop letting Democrats select our Republican candidates,” said Harrison. “CLOSE OUR PRIMARIES!”

Brandon Waltens

Brandon serves as the Senior Editor for Texas Scorecard. After managing successful campaigns for top conservative legislators and serving as a Chief of Staff in the Texas Capitol, Brandon moved outside the dome in order to shine a spotlight on conservative victories and establishment corruption in Austin. @bwaltens