Texas House Democrat who fled state announces congressional bid

Texas House Democrat who fled state announces congressional bid
© Greg Nash

A Texas Democratic lawmaker who fled the state to block passage of a sweeping elections overhaul bill announced her bid for Congress on Tuesday.

State Rep. Michelle Beckley (D) is challenging first-term Rep. Beth Van Duyne (R), who represents Texas’s 24th District.

Beckley, who is in Washington, D.C., with more than 50 of her colleagues, released a one-minute video posted to Twitter on Tuesday that described why she left Texas to prevent the vote on the elections bill, and why she is running for Congress.

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“Generations of Americans have come to Washington, D.C., to learn about our democracy. I came here with over 50 of my colleagues to save it. Leaving our families behind to block Texas’s voter suppression bill,” Beckley says in the video.

Beckley criticized Texas and other states for considering laws that critics say would roll back voting rights. She further slammed Republicans in Congress for “blocking any attempts to protect voters’ rights.”

Beckley then took aim at Van Duyne for objecting to the 2020 election results after the Jan. 6 attack at the U.S. Capitol. The Texas Republican voted to uphold objections to the Electoral College results for Pennsylvania.

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“One of her first acts of Congress was to vote in favor of throwing out millions of ballots to help Trump steal the election. And one of her latest? Asking us to just get over it and move on. Beth Van Duyne can walk away from her duty to defend Democracy, but not me,” Beckley said.

Beckley is the second Democratic challenger to Van Duyne.

Derrik Gay, an attorney and Iraqi War veteran who served in the Marines, announced his campaign earlier this month.

Beckley’s website already lists endorsements from 30 of her state House Democratic colleagues.

Van Duyne, formerly the mayor of Irving, Texas, narrowly won her race with 48.8 percent of the vote in November. Her challenger, Democrat Candace Valenzuela, won 47.5 percent of the vote.

Van Duyne succeeded the retiring Rep. Kenny MarchantKenny Ewell MarchantTexas House Democrat who fled state announces congressional bid Republican Van Duyne wins race for Texas House seat Cook Political Report shifts 8 more House races toward Democrats MORE (R).

Van Duyne is one of two Texas Republicans that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is targeting for the 2022 midterms. The other is Rep. Tony Gonzales (R), of Texas’s 23rd District, The Texas Tribune has reported.