Democratic Establishment Candidates Run the Table in Texas Runoffs

It was a disappointing night for progressive activists hoping to stick it to the DCCC in Texas.

Wikimedia Commons/Sunny Sone

It was a disappointing night for progressive activists hoping to stick it to the DCCC in Texas.

Wikimedia Commons/Sunny Sone

In the race to face GOP incumbent John Culberson in west Houston, writer-activist Laura Moser, who was targeted before the March primary with a DCCC opposition research dump, was trounced by runoff opponent Lizzie Pannill Fletcher, a Houston lawyer.

Fletcher beat Moser by around 40 points after staking out an insurmountable lead early in the night. The Democratic runoff in the 7th District has been one of the most-watched intra-party battles in the country, one that debates whether to embrace strong progressivism or moderate pragmatism to win GOP districts.

The 7th District results mirror a trend across Texas, where the Democratic Party’s favored candidates ran far ahead of the candidates positioning themselves as anti-establishment.

In the 32nd District, where Democrats are vying to unseat Pete Sessions, DCCC-backed Collin Allred beat Lillian Salerno by 40 percentage points. In West Texas’ 23rd District, the swingiest seat in the state, Gina Ortiz Jones is also far ahead of Berniecrat Rick Treviño. And in the 21st District, Joseph Kopser beat the surprise-primary winner Mary Street Wilson by nearly 20 percentage points.

Overall, it was a disappointing night for activists hoping to stick it to the DCCC and prove that the best way to maximize a blue wave in Republican districts — even in Texas — was with bold progressivism. In the end, the DCCC playbook won big. 

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Justin Miller is the politics reporter for the Observer. He previously covered politics and policy for The American Prospect in Washington, D.C., and has also written for The Intercept, The New Republic and In These Times. Follow him on Twitter or email him at [email protected].


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