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Democrat Claims State Rep. Seat in TX Special Election

Dan Barrett bounces Mark Shelton bringing Texas Democrats within five seats of a State House majority
Dan Barrett won 52.2% of the vote yesterday in a special election runoff for Texas State Rep. District 97. District 97 was a Republican stronghold that gave George W. Bush 63.9% of the vote in 2004.

Anyone who met Dan Barrett and observed his campaign immediately recognized his talents as a candidate and was impressed by the discipline and efficiency of his campaign. No observer outside of Tarrant County, however, including the Lone Star Project, was willing to predict that Barrett could pull off a win in the special election. Dan Barrett’s smart campaign combined with outstanding support from organized labor, teachers and local activists resulted in an important victory for Texas Democrats and a sound rejection of the failed leadership of Texas Republicans Tom Craddick, Rick Perry and others.

District 97 – Profile
Year
Race
Dem CandidatePercent Vote
2000
PRES
Gore34.1%

2002
GOV

Sanchez36.1%
2004
PRES
Kerry35.8%
2006
SEN
Radnofsky33.7%
2007
ST REP
Barrett52.2%

Texas House District 97 is a heavily suburban district in Southwest Tarrant County. The district was drawn by Republicans to be held by a Republican for the remainder of the decade. It was easily held for 19 years by Republican Anna Mowery. In past elections, Democrats running statewide have been trounced in the District. Neither John Kerry nor Al Gore broke 36 percent of the vote. Moreover, the special election runoff was pushed back by Republican Governor Rick Perry to December 18th, just a week shy of Christmas, which would normally give an additional advantage to the Republican.

Dan Barrett’s success in convincing suburban voters in Texas to embrace a mainstream Democrat and reject the harsh ideology and special interest loyalties of Texas Republicans points to a steady shift taking place in Texas. A decade of failed one party Republican leadership has left Texas ranking at or near last on key quality of life issues. From education to air quality to utility rates Republican failures have created an opportunity for Democrats to reclaim the trust and support of Texas voters.

Barrett will face Republican opposition again in the November 2008 general election. Contributions to Barrett’s 2008 campaign can be sent to the Dan Barrett Campaign,
P.O. Box 100535, Fort Worth, Texas 76185-0535 or made online here.

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