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U.S. Rep. Ronny Jackson, R-Amarillo, recently launched Spanish-language TV ads in his reelection campaign — an unexpected use of campaign resources given that he is sitting in one of this election season’s safest congressional districts in the state.
Jackson, best known as the doctor to former President Donald Trump, launched the TV spots last week in a bid to introduce himself to Latino voters. While his rural, Panhandle district is predominantly white, his campaign says it is an effort to grow his appeal with an ascendant voting bloc statewide.
That could be because he’s interested in running for a higher office. U.S. Sen. John Cornyn is not up for reelection until 2026, but Jackson is already considering running for the Senate seat, according to two people familiar with his thinking who were not authorized to speak on the record. Jackson did not respond to a request for comment, and Cornyn’s campaign declined to comment.
Cornyn has taken a hit with Republican voters in the state after he led GOP negotiations on the bipartisan gun restriction bill that Congress passed after the Uvalde school shooting in May.
Voting FAQ: 2022 midterms
When is the last day to register to vote?
The deadline to register to vote in the 2022 primary election is Oct. 11. Check if you’re registered to vote here. If not, you’ll need to fill out and submit an application, which you can request here or download here.
When can I vote early?
Early voting runs from Oct. 24 to Nov. 4. Voters can cast ballots at any polling location in the county where they are registered to vote during early voting. Election day is Nov. 8.
How do I know if I qualify to vote by mail?
This option is fairly limited in Texas. You’re allowed to vote by mail only if: You will be 65 or older by Election Day, you will not be in your county for the entire span of voting, including early voting, you cite a sickness or disability that prevents you from voting in person without needing personal assistance or without the likelihood of injuring your health, you’re expected to give birth within three weeks before or after Election Day or you are confined in jail but otherwise eligible (i.e., not convicted of a felony).
Are polling locations the same on election day as they are during early voting?
Not always. You’ll want to check for open polling locations with your local elections office before you head out to vote. Additionally, you can confirm with your county elections office whether election day voting is restricted to locations in your designated precinct or if you can cast a ballot at any polling place.
How can I find which polling places are near me?
County election offices are supposed to post on their websites information on polling locations for Election Day and during the early-voting period by Oct. 18. The secretary of state’s website will also have information on polling locations closer to the start of voting. However, polling locations may change, so be sure to check your county’s election website before going to vote.
What form of ID do I need to bring to vote?
You’ll need one of seven types of valid photo ID to vote in Texas: A state driver’s license, a Texas election identification certificate, a Texas personal identification card, a Texas license to carry a handgun, a U.S. military ID card with a personal photo, a U.S. citizenship certificate with a personal photo or a U.S. passport. Voters can still cast votes without those IDs if they sign a form swearing that they have a “reasonable impediment” from obtaining a proper photo ID or use a provisional ballot. Find more details here.
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Since his election two years ago, Jackson has wasted little time making allies in the Texas congressional delegation, and his well-known association with former President Donald Trump has strengthened his stature. He has doled out endorsements, cut checks and hosted events in competitive races, lending a Trump-backed credibility to candidates eager to court the former president’s most loyal supporters.
At the same time, Jackson has emerged as one of the top fundraisers in the delegation, collecting $3.8 million so far this election cycle — a hefty amount for a member in a safe seat.
Armed with Trump’s backing, Jackson weathered a storm of controversy during his first race for the 13th Congressional District in 2020. Much of it stemmed from when Trump nominated Jackson to be secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs in 2018, which surfaced workplace misconduct allegations against him, including that he drank too much on the job and improperly handled medication. He denied the allegations but withdrew from consideration for the job.
In May, congressional ethics investigators announced they had found “substantial” evidence that Jackson had misused campaign contributions to pay for a private dining club in Amarillo. Jackson did not cooperate with the investigation, but his lawyer challenged the findings, saying Jackson complied with all campaign finance regulations.
Jackson’s Spanish-language TV ad, which started airing last week, is mostly biographical, calling Jackson an “America-first firefighter” and recapping his background as a U.S. Navy rear admiral and doctor to three presidents.
Jackson is currently spending about $27,000 on the TV buy through Oct. 25, according to AdImpact, a media-tracking firm.
“Dr. Ronny Jackson will always fight back against the Democrats’ radical policies that are destroying our country,” a narrator says, “and he will fight to put America — and Texas — first.”
Cornyn has been unapologetic about the gun bill, which all but one Texas Republican in Congress opposed. He got booed at the state party convention while the bill was under negotiation, and polls began to show his approval rating declining with GOP voters.
Jackson was especially vocal about the legislation. After President Joe Biden signed it into law, Jackson tweeted a video of himself clutching two guns and daring Biden to “come and take it.”
Few other names have come up publicly as potential Cornyn challengers in 2026, if he runs for reelection. One name is Attorney General Ken Paxton, who has sparred with Cornyn over Paxton’s personal legal troubles and who has criticized the gun bill. An anti-Cornyn group, Defend Texas Liberty PAC, polled a hypothetical Cornyn-Paxton race in July and found Paxton comfortably ahead.
Jackson, meanwhile, is set to cruise to a second term in a district that voted for Trump by 46 percentage points in 2020. He was unopposed in his primary, and his Democratic opponent is Kathleen Brown. His redrawn district notably picked up some of Denton County in the Dallas suburbs, giving him more of a presence in the state’s largest media market.
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