Texas Republicans See Gates’ Win As A Blueprint For Fall Campaign To Keep Control Of The House

State party leaders pointed to a coordinated staff effort, strong local outreach and focus on local issues as key to Gary Gates’ victory in Fort Bend County.

In this January 11, 2020 photo, Gary Gates, a Republican businessman running for a Texas state house seat up for special election in the suburbs west of Houston, speaks in front of campaign signs placed on a volunteer’s lawn in Katy, Texas.

Texas Republican leaders are celebrating Tuesday’s special election victory in Fort Bend County. They plan to apply the model used in this race more broadly to keep control of the Texas House this fall.

State Republican Party chairman James Dickey said Gary Gates’ campaign for HD-28 tested a new plan to coordinate all staff – whether they work for the party, the governor or the candidate.

“We for the first time have had plans that, as soon as the primary is over this year, that the majority of the field staff is going to be unified and organized under the umbrella of the Republican Party of Texas,” Dickey said.

GOP strategist Dave Carney credited Gates with running a strong outreach effort and focusing on local issues, compared with Democratic efforts to nationalize the contest.

“We are using this as an example to all of our challenge races that this is the kind of campaign you have to run, this is what you have to be prepared for and focus on the messages that voters care about,” Carney said.

Officials from the Texas Democratic Party said candidate Eliz Markowitz’s defeat wasn’t unexpected given the district’s voting record and doesn’t change their overall strategy heading toward November.


Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew heads Houston Public Media’s coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments across Greater Houston. Before taking up his current post, Andrew spent five years as Houston Public Media’s business reporter, covering the oil...

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