HOUSTON - Widely touted as the first critical clash in the battle for control of the Texas House, Republican businessman Gary Gates cruised past Democrat Eliz Markowitz in a special election to represent Ft. Bend County's HD-28.
"Those from the left and from the east and west coast here trying to take over Texas and we stood up today and said no, it's not gonna happen," said Gates.
Gates prevailed despite high profile endorsements from no fewer than five current or past Democratic candidates.
"Everything from the other side has been from out of state. The money has been from out of state and all the big endorsements have been from out of state and that's resonated with people who say this is Texas and we are going to draw a line in the sand," said Gates.
Rice political analyst Mark Jones called this lopsided first-round defeat a gut punch for local and national forces looking to turn Texas blue.
"This is a serious blow for Texas Democratic hopes for flipping the Texas House in 2020. This was a race where Democrats crossed the Rubicon. They went all in. They spent close to $2 million. They brought in heavy hitters like Michael Bloomberg, Julian Castro, Beto O'Rourke and got endorsements from Elizabeth Warren and Joe Bide. Despite all that they lost by double digits," said Jones.
Gates collected 58 percent of the 30,074 cast for a 16-point margin of victory.
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