Pierce Bush becomes first person in his family to lose a Texas race in over 40 years as Trump defenders advance in Republican primaries

Republican seen as moderate loses congressional bid against strong defenders of the president in gut punch to his family's political dynasty

Chris Riotta
New York
Wednesday 04 March 2020 18:04
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Pierce Bush, grandson to former President George HW Bush, became the first member of his prominent political family to lose a race for elected office in Texas in over 40 years on Super Tuesday.

Two candidates who received more votes than the nonprofit CEO in Texas’ 22nd congressional district qualified for a runoff election, including Troy Nehls, who secured 40.5 percent of the vote, and Kathaleen Wall, who earned 19.4 percent support with 506 of 508 precincts reporting on Wednesday morning.

Both candidates who bested the Republican were vocal supporters of Donald Trump, while Mr Bush — whose family has won multiple presidential and gubernatorial elections, as well as bids for state land commissioner — captured just 15.4 percent of support.

The race was his to lose, with an endorsement from the outgoing Republican incumbent, Pete Olson, who announced his retirement last year.

But there were reported concerns about how strongly the conservative backed the president’s agenda among GOP voters who support Mr Trump and his White House administration.

While Mr Bush may not have pitched the same ardent loyalty to Mr Trump as his opponents, the 34-year-old echoed some of the president’s messaging along the campaign trail, lambasting the Democratic Party and suggesting socialism was threatening to take over the country.

“We face a very challenging time in our nation,” Mr Bush said in announcing his candidacy last year.

He said the US was “on the brink of losing a generation to an idea that socialism and free stuff are the answers to their future.”

“We all know that socialism has failed everywhere and everyone”, he added.

Mr Bush, who heads the nonprofit Big Brothers Big Sisters, did not mention Mr Trump during his announcement video, while other candidates vying for the Republican nomination in the district quickly latched onto the president’s agenda.

The president visited Texas last year and reportedly introduced George P Bush — son of former Texas Governor Jeb Bush, who serves as the state land commissioner — at an event by describing him as “the only Bush that likes me”.

However, analysts have said the 22nd district is one of several throughout Texas that has seen significant changes in its demographics over the years, with some signs that it could be up for grabs by either party in 2020.

Whoever wins the Republican runoff will then face Sri Kulkarni, who won the district’s Democratic congressional primaries on Tuesday, in the general election.

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