Despite loss, Beto O’Rourke’s run reveals a changing Texas

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Beto O’Rourke didn’t turn Texas blue. But for the first time in decades, it’s looking much less red.

The midterm elections in Texas ousted a Republican who carried a “bathroom bill” targeting transgender people and drove out a GOP lawmaker who called federal immigration agents on Hispanic protesters. Voters also gave Democrats in Houston run of the nation’s third most populous county.

For a generation, Texas has been a laboratory of conservatism that tested legal boundaries and churned out Republican presidential candidates. But cracks in the GOP’s supremacy emerged this week and could reverberate nationally.

Eric Johnson is a 43-year-old Democratic state representative from Dallas. He says this is the most optimistic he’s felt since high school, and he credits O’Rourke with reminding the party how to win.

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