Good news for the real left: an eight term House Democrat in the Texas 16th Congressional District went down in flames in a primary against former El Paso City Council representative:
Former city Rep. Beto O’Rourke bucked a nationwide trend Tuesday night by ousting eight-term U.S. Rep. Silvestre Reyes in the 16th Congressional District race.
In the final tally, O’Rourke beat Reyes by 23,248 votes to 20,427, or 50.5 percent to 44.4 percent.
Nationally, challengers rarely defeat incumbents in primary elections, and only a few exceptions have occurred so far this election cycle.
When the first numbers were posted earlier Tuesday evening — the results of early voting — O’Rourke had a healthy 51.3 percent to 43.3 percent lead, but Reyes was closing the gap as the evening progressed. However, he was not able to garner enough votes to push the race into a runoff election.
Rep. Reyes had the blessing of President Obama and former President Bill Clinton, who personally reaffirmed an endorsement delivered earlier in a video. The voters obviously were ready for real change by voting for O’Rourke who is opposed to the war on drugs arguing that drug laws increase profits for Mexican drug cartels and increase violence, as well as, real job stimulus by supporting government sponsored projects and a full service Veterans Hospital.
There are many reasons to be happy that Reyes lost. He is and was an awful Congressman, both stupid and craven. As Democratic leader of the Intelligence Committee, Reyes did not know the group Hezbollah, and he didn’t know whether Al Qaeda was Sunni or Shia. Reyes is a proponent of any number of authoritarian policies violating our civil liberties, and he is backed by predator drone cash. So if you like militarizing, well, everything, then Reyes is your man. And this has been the trend recently.
So it’s nice to see voters choose peace over war, and an end the war on drugs. Now that a candidate won a significant race while arguing for drug decriminalization, it’s going to be increasingly more difficult for politicians to avoid debating the issue. And that’s good.
The 16th CD is located in a heavily Democratic El Paso and since it creation in 1903 has had only one Republican representative who lasted just one term. So, in all probability Mr. O’Rourke will handily defeat his Republican Barbara Carrasco in November holding the seat and moving it left.
Take that Third Way Democrats. This is how you get real change.