Texas voters deciding upon presidential and senate candidates in primaries

Border crossing debates have been among the key issues discussed between Biden and Trump

President Joe Biden, left, speaks on Aug. 10, 2023, in Salt Lake City, and former President Donald Trump speaks on June 13, 2023, in Bedminster, N.J. Biden and Trump made dueling trips to the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas on Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024, following the failed border deal that was opposed by the Republican front-runner. (AP Photo) (Andrew Harnik, Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

WASHINGTON – Less than a week after staging rival events on the banks of the Rio Grande River along the U.S.-Mexico border, President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump faced voters on the Texas primary ballot in a state that has openly clashed with the Biden administration over how to address a record number of illegal border crossings.

The dueling Rio Grande trips are an indication not only that Biden and Trump are already looking beyond the primaries to a likely rematch of their 2020 campaign but also that the issues of immigration and border security will continue to be a dominant topic as in recent elections.

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Trump has made illegal immigration a central theme of all his presidential campaigns. Earlier this year, he helped scuttle a bipartisan Senate package that coupled border security measures with aid for Ukraine, arguing it would hand Democrats a political win and calling it a “ death wish for the Republican Party.”

For his part, Biden recently has adopted a more aggressive tone on the issue, saying he would shut down the border if he could and mulling unilateral executive actions that progressives in his party have said are reminiscent of Trump.

Texas is one of the biggest electoral prizes on Super Tuesday, when 16 states and American Samoa hold nominating contests to help anoint the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates to compete in November. Trump once again will face former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, who won her first contest Sunday in the D.C. primary but faces a tough map on Super Tuesday. Biden faces U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips and self-help author Marianne Williamson, neither of whom has cracked into double-digit territory in any contest where Biden has appeared on the ballot.

Texans will also decide several key state races on Super Tuesday, most notably the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate, where U.S. Rep. Colin Allred of Dallas and state Sen. Roland Gutierrez of San Antonio lead a crowded field of candidates hoping to unseat Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz in November. Democrats view Texas as one of their only opportunities to upset an incumbent and preserve their fragile majority. The race heads to a May 28 runoff if no candidate wins a vote majority. Cruz, who faces relatively unknown challengers in his primary, survived a surprisingly strong challenge in 2018 from former Democratic U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke by only 2.5 percentage points.


The Democratic presidential candidates are Biden, Phillips, Williamson and five others. The Republican candidates include Trump, Haley, Florida businessman David Stuckenberg, “uncommitted” and former candidates Ryan Binkley, Chris Christie, Ron DeSantis, Asa Hutchinson and Vivek Ramaswamy. Among the notable state races are the Democratic primary for U.S. Senator, various primaries for U.S. House, state Senate and state House, judicial offices, railroad commissioner and the state board of education.

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