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Conservative Review

Texas runoffs: Are conservatives or progressives more motivated against the establishment?

The story of Tuesday's Texas primary runoff elections for the U.S. House will largely be about whether it's conservatives or progressives who are nominating candidates who best represent their principles. Conservative organizations like the Club for Growth and progressive organizations like Bernie Sanders' Our Revolution are each backing candidates in today's primaries.

Texas is arguably the most conservative state in the union. There are five Republican runoffs for open seats in GOP-held districts, and the Club for Growth is involved in four of them. With establishment-friendly House members Jeb Hensarling, Lamar Smith, and Joe Barton all retiring, the Texas delegation has a significant opportunity to move in a more conservative direction. The Club has endorsed Bunni Pounds in the 5th District, Ron Wight in the 6th, Chip Roy in the 21st, and Michael Cloud in the 27th. The House Freedom Fund, an arm of the House Freedom Caucus, has also endorsed Roy and Cloud. Pounds is running with the endorsement of Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, R-N.C.

On the Democratic side, there is a high-profile race where Our Revolution-backed candidate Laura Moser is challenging the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee-preferred candidate, attorney Lizzie Pannill Fletcher. Before the primary, controversy was stirred among Democrats when the DCCC attempted to squash Moser's campaign out of fears that she may be too liberal to win in Texas' 7th Congressional District. The attempt backfired during the primary, and tonight we will see if progressive resentment at the establishment will translate to an upset victory for Moser. In Texas' 23rd Congressional District, DCCC candidate Gina Ortiz Jones is facing off against Rick Treviño, endorsed by Our Revolution. According to Vox, Ortiz Jones would be "the first openly LGBTQ Congress member of color" to serve in Congress from Texas, while Treviño is a former Bernie Sanders delegate. The winner will face Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, in November in what is considered a swing district.

In most of this year's primary elections, moderate Republican incumbents have prevailed over more conservative challengers. Progressive candidates, on the other hand, have succeeded in making gains against the Democratic party establishment. Tonight in Texas, we will see if the trend continues.

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