While still outside the state of Texas after fleeing, Democrat State Rep. Michelle Beckley (Carrollton) announced on Tuesday her candidacy to challenge freshman Texas Republican Congresswoman Beth Van Duyne (Irving).
Serving in the Texas Legislature since 2019, Beckley has represented part of Denton County and narrowly won her House seat in both election cycles.
Beckley announced her candidacy via a video where she attempted to compare her dedication to protecting voters’ rights to that of Van Duyne, who voted earlier this year to object to the 2020 presidential election results from Pennsylvania.
Quickly announcing the endorsements of 30 of her House Democrat colleagues, Beckley now joins the already announced Democrat candidate for the seat, Derrik Gay, who is a current attorney and a former intelligence officer in the U.S. Marine Corps.
Beckley is one of the several House Democrat lawmakers who recently broke quorum during the ongoing special legislative session and fled to Washington, D.C., leaving the House of Representatives paralyzed and unable to consider Gov. Greg Abbott’s special session agenda.
Beckley recently received attention from the Texas House Republican Caucus for what they considered a “poor showing” in a CNN interview.
CNN anchor Alisyn Camerota asked, “Is it fair to say that you haven’t completely thought out Steps 5, 6, and 7 and that you are sort of living in the present of these next 30 days, or however long, and trying to get attention? I mean, unless there is something I’m missing, is there some other step beyond this?”
Beckley replied, “We have to see how we go, because we don’t know what the governor is going to do, we don’t know what the Republicans are going to do in the state House, or what the Senate is going to do in the nation. So, everything is a moving puzzle and we will adjust as we can. And we do have plans, and you know it’s not something we are at liberty to tell you today.”
What is left unknown in all of this is what congressional districts or state House districts will look like when the primary and general elections come around.
The decennial redistricting process was originally supposed to be taken care of during the recent 87th Legislative Session, but due to delayed census data in the wake of COVID-19, that process will instead take place in a special session around October of this year. This special session has yet to be officially scheduled.
This will almost inevitably delay primary elections originally scheduled for early March of 2022 and—due to an increase in population in Texas—the addition of two congressional districts, as well as the redrawing of districts themselves.
With Republicans in control of the state Legislature, the drawn maps will likely be friendlier to Republican candidates. This may be part of Beckley’s motivation to run for Congress as opposed to running for re-election to her current House seat, as she narrowly defeated the Republican candidate in the last two election cycles.
In the 2020 general election, Beckley won with 51.5 percent of the vote, compared to former Lewisville ISD board of trustees member Kronda Thimesch’s 48.5 percent. In 2018, Beckley ousted former State Rep. Ron Simmons (R–Carrollton) by a vote of 51.1 percent, compared to his 48.9 percent.
UPDATED/CORRECTED: The article originally misstated the number of new congressional seats; that has been corrected.