A Texas congressional district that had been trending leftward in recent elections performed a sudden about-face on Saturday in a special election for a U.S. House seat. Though Donald Trump won the state’s sixth district by just three points over Joe Biden in November, last weekend none of the Democrats even made it to the finals.
WSJ Joshua Jamerson and Eliza Collins report:
Voters in a Texas House district chose two Republicans to advance to a runoff election, dashing Democratic hopes of picking up a GOP-held seat.
Susan Wright, a GOP activist and the widow of Rep. Ron Wright, who held the seat until his death this year, was the top vote-winner among 23 candidates in a special election Saturday. She will face… Jake Ellzey, also a Republican, who was the second-highest vote-winner…
Mr. Wright died earlier this year at the age of 67, at the start of his second term in the House, after being hospitalized for Covid-19. He was also undergoing cancer treatments.
Republican candidates won more than 60% of the votes cast in the crowded primary, while Democrats won roughly 37%. Democrat Jana Lynne Sanchez, who had finished just nine percentage points behind Ron Wright in the 2018 general election, placed third on Saturday. At least one incumbent U.S. House member is blaming fellow Democrats for not supporting Ms. Sanchez. The Washington Post’s David Weigel and Amy Wang report:
Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.), who leads the Congressional Hispanic Caucus’s Bold PAC, said that the district attracted attention only because of Sanchez’s strong 2018 bid and that liberal groups who passed her over only splintered the vote.
“Instead of backing the Latina, in Texas, they splintered our coalition,” Gallego said. “Unfortunately, this happens often. Latino candidates are consistently second-guessed by progressive and Democratic groups. And it is going to have negative consequences come 2022 if they don’t change their process.”
Is the increasingly white Democratic coalition as bigoted as this elected Democrat suggests? Further south in Texas, Jennifer Medina reports for the New York Times on the Latinas who have been moving to the GOP:
Hispanic Republicans, especially women, have become something of political rock stars in South Texas after voters in the Rio Grande Valley shocked leaders in both parties in November by swinging sharply toward the G.O.P. Here in McAllen, one of the region’s largest cities, Mr. Trump received nearly double the number of votes he did four years earlier; in the Rio Grande Valley over all, President Biden won by just 15 percentage points, a steep slide from Hillary Clinton’s 39-point margin in 2016.
Ms. Medina tells the story of Adrienne Pena-Garza, chair of the Hidalgo County Republican Party and daughter of a former Democratic state legislator: