Does Flores' Surprise Victory Signal a 'Red Wave' in Texas?

posted by Jim Forsyth - 

Democrats in Texas are hoping for a blue wave at the polls, but this week's special election in San Antonio took some of the air out of their sails, Newsradio 1200 WOAI reports.

Pete Flores is the first Republican to win Senate District 19, which stretches west to Big Bend and north to Fort Stockton.  While it's a relatively small sample size, Rice University political analyst Mark Jones says the defeat in an historic Democrat district shows how powerful the Texas Republican machine can be when energized.

"What SB19 demonstrates is that Republicans are able to turn out their supporters," he says.

Both the Governor and Lt. Governor campaigned for Flores, energizing a wide swath of voters from different socio-economic backgrounds.

The surprise victory is now coloring the Senate race between Beto O'Rourke and Ted Cruz, which kicks into a high gear on Friday with the first of three debates.

Jones says the SD-19 outcome is proof that O'Rourke is facing an uphill battle when it comes to voter turnout.

"Ted Cruz can focus all of his money and energy on attacking Beto O'Rourke," he explains. "He doesn’t have to worry about mobilization and turnout because Greg Abbott, for the most part, is going to take care of that for him."

It's something that state Democrats like party chair Gilbert Hinojosa recognize.  He writes that the loss is a wakeup call.

“Come November, no Democrat can sit on the sidelines and no campaign can take any vote for granted. We need to make sure that every voter understands what's at stake.”

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