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Democrats Set To Flip GOP Strongholds And Defeat Abbott’s Vouchers

As the political landscape in Texas heats up, everyone seems to be buzzing about Governor Greg Abbott’s premature declaration of victory in the battle over private school vouchers.

Abbott, known for his contentious battles within his own party, is once again at the forefront of a divisive issue. His aggressive push for vouchers has left the Republican Party in turmoil. Despite his confidence, the fight is far from over.

The upcoming primary election against Democrats and the potential for several key seats to flip could significantly challenge Abbott’s far-right agenda and disrupt his plans for educational reform.

In last week’s episode of Texas Take with Scott Braddock and Jeremy Wallace, Braddock, journalist and political analyst, predicted that Democrats will flip as many as “nine or so seats” this fall.

“I’m looking at the map now, across the state, and looking at where Democrats might win seats this fall. We’ve talked about this in the context of school voucher discussions and debates. I think that there are as many as… I’m not predicting this… There are as many as nine or so seats that Democrats could flip in the Texas House this fall,” Braddock said.

According to an analysis by LoneStarLeft’s Newsletter, there are 19 targeted Republican seats that could be flipped. This was determined by taking a look at the maps, the districts that were +10 Trump or less in 2020 are the ones who are now “fair game.”  

Here are the 19 Republican seats that pro-public school advocates should be aiming at:

Out of those 19 seats, Democrats would need to flip 12 to win back the Texas house, and at least 10 to shut down vouchers and many other far-right policies.

Here is a further RA News analysis on some of the races that might flip:

District 52 (Harris Vs Birkholz): Caroline Harris, the youngest member of the Texas House during the last session, has since married Dan Patrick’s Chief of Staff, Darrell Davila, and taken a hard right turn. Now known as Harris-Davila, her ideals align closely with those of Dan Patrick, including a pro-voucher and anti-immigrant stance. These positions are unpopular in Williamson County. Opposing her is Democrat Jennie Birkholz, who has been actively engaged with the WilCo community. Birkholz has consistently shown up, whether testifying during legislative sessions or attending school board meetings. This district had a 4.3-point margin in favor of Trump in 2020.

District 65 (Little Vs Deburr): Far-right extremist Republican Mitch Little ousted incumbent Kronda Thimesch, a shift that may prove detrimental to the GOP in Denton County. While the far-right replacing incumbents might not harm Republicans in every district, it poses a significant risk in Denton County, an urban area rapidly trending blue. Extremists like Mitch Little are less well-received in urban districts compared to their rural counterparts, potentially weakening Republican support in this critical area.

District 112 (Chen-Button Vs Bishop): Trump won this district by a narrow margin of just +0.5 in 2020, and the area has since experienced significant growth and increased diversity. The Republican incumbent, Angie Chen Button, has largely remained a background figure in the Texas House, lacking notable legislative achievements. In contrast, the Democratic challenger is a rising star. Averie Bishop, the 2022 Miss Texas and a viral social media influencer, boasts a robust platform and over 1 million followers on TikTok.

District 118 (Lujan Vs Carranza): This district is a majority Hispanic district that supported Joe Biden in 2020. Republican incumbent Representative John Lujan narrowly won this district in a 2021 special election and was reelected in 2022 when voter turnout was low.

District 138 (Hull Vs Morales): This district, currently represented by Republican Lacey Hull, is a prime target for flipping. Despite its +5.4 lean towards Trump in the 2020 election, the district’s predominantly minority population and Houston’s rapid growth make it increasingly competitive. Lacey Hull, the incumbent, has consistently supported policies aligned with white supremacist ideologies and has been embroiled in controversies, including allegations of multiple extramarital affairs with fellow Texas House members. Democrat Stephanie Morales, with the momentum of Houston’s changing demographics, stands a strong chance of turning this seat blue in the upcoming election.

While Gov. Abbott succeeded in ousting 10 out of the 14 rural Republicans he targeted, the pro-public education movement still has a promising opportunity to flip key seats and defeat the voucher initiative once more. The battle is far from over, and the upcoming elections will be crucial in determining the future of public education in Texas. 

Jovanka Palacios
Jovanka Palacios
Jovanka Palacios, a Mexican-American Politics Reporter and Managing Editor at RA's Gun Violence Watch, unveils the Capitol's inner workings. Focused on Public Education and Gun Policies, she passionately advocates for informed dialogue, delivering concise, impactful insights into the intricate political landscape.


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