Olson, Valenzuela Face-Off for Chance to Flip Longtime GOP-Held House Seat

Democrats hope to flip the seat that has been held by Republican Rep. Kenny Marchant since 1987

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Voters will know by next week whether Kim Olson or Candace Valenzuela will be the Democratic candidate for Texas' 24th congressional district, a seat retiring Republican Kenny Marchant has held since 1987.

The primary runoff election is Tuesday, while early voting is already underway.

“I am rooted in Texas’ 24th district, I  am rooted in the community here, I have lived here for years, I am raising my family here,” said Valenzuela, a former Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD school board member.

Valenzuela, who was homeless at one point as a child, pointed to accomplishments while she served on the school board, including a push for safer schools and better technology. She said she believes the technology helped when classrooms went virtual due to COVID-19.

“A lot of our kids were able to go home and continue their education, even under difficult circumstances, because they had access to their iPads, they had access to their computers, but more than that they had access to their teachers,” she said.

“I am going to carry their (constituents) hopes, their dreams, their values, their fears to DC,” said Olson, who has experience in North Texas school districts and in the Air Force.

Olson's experience includes time on the Weatherford ISD school board and as the human resources director for Dallas ISD. She was also in the first generation of female pilots in the U.S. Air Force.

“It speaks to a battle-tested experience in crisis situations, which I would offer that we are in right now with COVID, she said. "The economic collapse and with the social justice we need to tackle."

Valenzuela, has big-name endorsements, including U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-Atlanta) and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). Among her first priorities is the pandemic.

“Unfortunately in 2021 when I’m sworn in, we’re still going to be dealing with COVID, so my priorities are going to be delivering relief to families, delivering relief to our local governments and delivering relief to our small businesses,” she said.

Olson has been endorsed by The Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

“I think the first thing we need to tackle is to ensure that we have something that we can help rebuild our economy that works for all of us," she said. "I think again what COVID has done is shown the entire chasm that we have between the haves and the have most."

Whoever wins the race, will run against former Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne, who has the backing of President Donald Trump.

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