Former Republican mayor and housing manager for the Trump administration Beth Van Duyne defeated Democrat Candace Valenzuela on Tuesday in a House race in suburban Dallas, taking a crucial Republican seat as the Ms. Van Duyne was fighting to increase her staff. in Congress.
Ms Van Duyne’s victory, as The Associated Press called it, was a key victory for Republicans, appearing to shut down Democrats’ last hope of taking a seat in the state despite what was predicted to be a year grim for Republicans due to changing demographics. increasingly made Texas competitive. It also mirrored the results of some other conservative-leaning suburban districts across the country, where, despite reports that many voters had been alienated by President Trump and his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, Republicans appeared to be holding the line. suddenly and even on the way to winning. seats.
Ms Van Duyne, who worked in the Trump administration’s Department of Housing and Urban Development, was previously mayor of Irving, Texas, the first woman to hold the post. She came to the country’s attention as she was among those responsible for the family of a Muslim teenager who was arrested after her homemade digital clock was mistaken for a bomb. (The lawsuit was then dismissed.)
She later emerged as part of a self-proclaimed “Conservative Team” of four women, who presented themselves as the right-wing’s response to four liberal women who became political celebrities in the Democratic freshman class of 2018. , including Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez from New York and Ilhan Omar from Minnesota. She is now expected to be part of the largest group of House Republican women ever elected to Congress that same year, erasing the previous record of 25 women.
Ms Van Duyne has aligned herself closely with Mr Trump and defended her handling of the pandemic, and her former HUD boss Ben Carson helped lobby for her in the final days of the campaign.
“People are fed up with Congress playing political games and just focusing on mutual attack,” Van Duyne said in response to questions from the Dallas Morning News that she posted on her website. “I promise to be a voice in Congress that always focuses on getting things done to help us grow and create more opportunity.”
Ms Valenzuela, a former school board administrator, had sought to overthrow the Democrats’ seat and become the first Afro-Latina to be elected to Congress. The seat was left open after Representative Kenny Marchant, a reliable Republican vote who won his 2018 re-election by just three points, said in the summer of 2019 he would retire rather than face Ms Valenzuela.
Ms Valenzuela had galvanized supporters with her powerful tale of surviving homelessness and becoming the first in her family to graduate from college, and relied heavily on the strategy Democrats employed in 2018 and this year, centering his campaign to defend the affordable care law and criticize the administration’s response to the pandemic.
She sought to link Ms Van Duyne, who was often pictured without a mask during her campaign, to Mr Trump and his mismanagement of the coronavirus. Ms Van Duyne, for her part, criticized Ms Valenzuela for not hosting in-person events during the pandemic, even as coronavirus cases continued to climb in the state.