The ongoing political fight for Texas in 2020 reached its first checkpoint of the year on Tuesday night, as Republican Gary Gates convincingly beat Democrat Eliz Markowitz by 16 points in a special election runoff for a Houston suburb State House seat.
Gates’ victory in Texas House District 28 shows steady Republican support in the suburbs and provides a reality check for Democrats looking to compete up and down the ballot and flip the State House ahead of redistricting in 2021.
The win for Gates comes as Democratic presidential candidates endorsed or canvassed with Markowitz, with the goal of energizing the base turnout. Former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Elizabeth Warren endorsed Markowitz earlier this cycle, while former New York city Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former presidential candidate Julian Castro both canvassed for her this month.
Texas-native and former Representative Beto O’Rourke, who also ran an unsuccessful campaign for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, has been consistently campaigning for Markowitz, and launched an organization focused on flipping the state House chamber.
Gates, meanwhile, received the support of Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott and partially self-funded his campaign, pouring about $1.5