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State Rep. Drew Springer (R–Muenster) performed beneath expectations in Tuesday’s special election for Senate District 30 and was matched vote for vote by newcomer Shelley Luther, who became famous earlier this year after being jailed for opening up her Dallas salon despite local and state shutdown orders. This is the latest sign that establishment Republicans have lost touch with the average Texan, and if the party wants to increase their chances of holding our state, they must start listening to their base again.

Luther got slightly more votes than Springer in Tuesday’s special election—both will square off in a runoff election—with the rest split by Democrat Jacob Minter and three other candidates.

Consider this: Someone who was largely unknown by Texans before this year was matched vote for vote against an incumbent Republican who has been in office since 2012.

What’s the biggest factor separating Luther from Springer? It can’t be campaign cash. If all it took was money to win elections, Steve Forbes would’ve been president instead of George W. Bush.

The key factor was that voters know Luther’s story; she stood up in defiance of government tyranny this year, and she was willing to go to jail for it.

Could anyone say the same about Springer?

This all stems from the burden Texas Republicans gave themselves during the “Purple Session” of 2019, where they left many grassroots priorities like election integrity—a hot topic that now may mean the difference between a President Trump or President Biden next year—unaddressed.

The grassroots tried to give Texas Republicans an olive branch by offering up the Lone Star Agenda, a series of conservative priorities that can be accomplished in a special session called by Gov. Greg Abbott. If those items were done, Texas Republicans would have a strong record to run on.

We’re just weeks away from early voting in the November general election, and Abbott has repeatedly refused to call a special session. Those calls have only grown louder in the wake of local tyranny and Abbott’s own mandates in response to the Chinese coronavirus.

Now, longtime Republican Springer underperformed against someone whom Texans saw take a stand—and she was willing to suffer for it.

With American cities healing from riots, families oppressed by government mandates, and fear over revealed threats to the integrity of our elections, Texans are looking for leaders who will fight for them.

It’s a similar—yet stronger—feeling that propelled Donald Trump into winning the Republican nomination and the White House.

If Texas Republicans don’t get the message, they may not only face losing Texas, but they may end up being replaced in their own party by more Shelley Luthers.