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Insurgent Republicans Make Major Gains in Texas Primaries

A wave of anti-establishment sentiment

The Texas Republican primary elections on Tuesday saw a surge of insurgent candidates who challenged the party’s mainstream and moderate incumbents. Many of these candidates were backed by former President Donald Trump, who remains a powerful force in the GOP despite his defeat in the 2020 presidential election.

The results reflect a wave of anti-establishment sentiment among the Republican base, who are dissatisfied with the party’s leadership and direction. Some of the issues that motivated the voters were immigration, election integrity, abortion, and the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Insurgent Republicans Make Major Gains in Texas Primaries

A blow to the GOP establishment

Some of the most notable victories for the insurgent Republicans were:

  • Don Huffines, a former state senator and outspoken critic of Governor Greg Abbott, won the GOP nomination for governor with 52% of the vote, defeating Abbott’s endorsed candidate, former Texas Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman, who received 36%. Huffines ran on a platform of securing the border, banning mask mandates, and auditing the 2020 election results. He also accused Abbott of being too weak and compromising with the Democrats.
  • Allen West, a former congressman and the outgoing chairman of the Texas Republican Party, won the GOP nomination for lieutenant governor with 48% of the vote, defeating the incumbent Dan Patrick, who received 44%. West, who is a staunch conservative and a vocal supporter of Trump, campaigned on defending the Second Amendment, protecting the unborn, and restoring the rule of law. He also criticized Patrick for failing to pass a bill that would ban transgender athletes from competing in girls’ sports.
  • Sid Miller, the incumbent agriculture commissioner and a close ally of Trump, won the GOP nomination for attorney general with 51% of the vote, defeating the incumbent Ken Paxton, who received 41%. Miller, who is known for his controversial and provocative statements, vowed to fight against the Biden administration’s policies on immigration, health care, and environmental regulations. He also promised to investigate and prosecute voter fraud and election irregularities.
  • Beth Van Duyne, a freshman congresswoman and a former mayor of Irving, won the GOP nomination for the 24th congressional district with 54% of the vote, defeating the incumbent Kenny Marchant, who received 40%. Van Duyne, who is one of the few women in the House Freedom Caucus, ran on a platform of supporting Trump’s agenda, opposing the Green New Deal, and defending the police. She also faced allegations of racism and Islamophobia for her handling of a dispute involving a Muslim student in 2015.

A sign of things to come

The Texas primary elections are a sign of things to come for the Republican Party, as it prepares for the midterm elections in 2022. The party is undergoing a transformation, as the influence of Trump and his loyalists grows stronger, and the establishment and the moderates lose ground. The party is also facing a challenge from the Democrats, who are hoping to flip the state blue, as they did in Georgia and Arizona in 2020.

The outcome of the Texas primaries will have implications for the national politics, as the state is the second-largest in terms of population and electoral votes. The state also has a significant role in shaping the policies and the culture of the country, especially on issues such as immigration, energy, and education.

The insurgent Republicans will face the Democratic nominees in the general election on November 8, 2022. The Democrats have yet to select their candidates for the statewide offices, but some of the potential contenders are Beto O’Rourke, a former congressman and a 2020 presidential candidate, for governor; Julian Castro, a former HUD secretary and a 2020 presidential candidate, for lieutenant governor; and MJ Hegar, a former Air Force pilot and a 2020 Senate candidate, for attorney general.


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