On Tuesday, a special election was held in Texas for an open seat in the Texas state House. The Democratic candidate, Eliz Markowitz, was supported by five people who have campaigned for the presidential nomination: Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Michael Bloomberg, Julian Castro, and Beto O’Rourke, as well as former Attorney General Eric Holder. But Markowitz was decimated in the election by GOP candidate Gary Gates, losing by 16 points, and on Thursday, Texas Governor Greg Abbot exuberantly told Neil Cavuto of Fox News that despite all the support from Democratic luminaries and the fact that Democrats view Texas as the “political holy grail,” Markowitz got “creamed.”
Cavuto prompted Abbott by asking, “Why do you think Democratic candidates are focusing on Texas so much? You think it’s a matter of trying to push Republicans to drain their resources in an otherwise safe state, or they’re sensing something’s going on; it’s not just Austin, the state is turning? What do you think?”
Abbott responded, “Well, listen, Democrats view Texas as the political holy grail. If they were ever able to win Texas, they know that they would be able to run the table nationally. And as a result, a lot of money is coming in. But there was a special election in a Texas House seat last night that took place where Beto O’Rourke went all-in. Eric Holder gave money; Eric Holder campaigned. We had five presidential candidates on Democratic side come in and campaign for a Texas House member, and that Texas House member won by far more than his predecessor Republican won. He won by 16 percentage point margin, creamed the Democrats, pointing out to the Democrats they’re wasting their money trying to come into the state of Texas and campaign in Texas.”
The Democrats spent more than $1 million to win the open seat, which is one of 150 seats in the Texas House, as The Atlantic noted, adding that one progressive group had hyped the election as “the most important special election since the midterms.” If The Democrats flip nine seats in the Texas House, they will control the Texas legislature.
Austin Chambers, the president of the Republican State Leadership Committee, told The Atlantic, “Democrats were convinced they could buy Texas. But tonight they learned Texans aren’t buying the nonsense the Democrats are selling. Texans sent a message loud and clear to the liberals in Washington: ‘We’re going to keep Texas Texas.’”
Jessica Post, the executive director of the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, tried to fob off the crushing defeat as if it had been expected, telling The Atlantic, “We always knew the race would be tough,” and adding that the huge defeat was an “anomaly.” She cited the fact that the election was held in the middle of winter as one reason for the overwhelming defeat. She pointed out that Mitt Romney had won the district by 30 points in 2012, chortling of the Markowitz effort, “I think that’s a win. I think it shows Republicans are scared as hell.” But she added, “This was a base-versus-base election, and Republicans were able to mobilize their base to turn out in huge numbers.”