Is a Houston suburb more of a bellwether to the 2020 election than is the impeachment fatigue continuing in Washington?
In Fort Bend County, Texas, Democrats were eager to set the tone for 2020 when a vacant state House seat opened. The Republican incumbent resigned after taking a job with the University of Texas. Karl Rove reports in the WSJ that money, endorsement, technology, lists, and volunteers flooded the race to help Elizabeth Markowitz defeat her Republican opponent in a special runoff election.
Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren and Mike Bloomberg all endorsed Ms. Markowitz. Mr. Bloomberg even carved out time from his presidential campaign to go door-to-door with her. Former presidential candidates Julián Castro and Robert Francis O’Rourke also canvassed neighborhoods, Mr. O’Rourke so frequently that it looked as if he was trying to establish residency.
All these hopes of a Democratic victory were shattered Tuesday. In the biggest turnout in history for a Texas House special runoff, Republican Gary Gates walloped Ms. Markowitz 58% to 42%. His 16-point margin of victory was more than twice the Republican incumbent’s in 2018 and larger than the district margins for President Trump in 2016 (10 points) and Sen. Ted Cruz in 2018 (three).
Grass Roots Energy Trumped Dems’ Efforts
Gary Gates, a wealthy real estate investor, personally knocked on 17,843 doors while volunteers knocked on 82,157 more and made 41,864 calls, all in a district with 160,000 people, continues Mr. Rove.
While Mr. Gates ran on issues important to his suburban neighbors—property-tax relief, public education and school safety, combating human trafficking and, in an area hit hard by Hurricane Harvey in 2017, emergency preparedness—Tuesday’s results also show how toxic the Democratic presidential candidates are making their party in suburbs of states like Texas.
Toxic Progressive Views
Ms. Markowitz was hurt by campaigning with current and past Democratic presidential candidates with views like Ms. Warren’s (an immediate ban on fracking), Mr. Bloomberg’s (comprehensive gun control), Mr. Biden’s (an end to drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, which would wreck the Houston-area economy), Mr. Castro’s (universal health care for illegal aliens) and Mr. O’Rourke’s (gun confiscation and an end to tax exemptions for many churches).
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