Analysts see end of a Texas era with first Bush loss in decades

 by WorldTribune Staff, March 6, 2020

Jimmy Carter was president the last time a Bush family member lost a political race in Texas.

Pierce Bush failed to advance to a runoff in the GOP primary in Texas’ 22nd congressional district.

In that race, a young upstart named George W. Bush won the Republican primary for the Lone Star State’s 19th congressional district, but lost to Democrat Kent Hance in the general election.

From then on, Bushes won races in Texas for governor, president — and even state land commissioner.

The Bush winning streak in Texas came to an end on Tuesday when Pierce Bush, the grandson of former President George H.W. Bush, failed to advance to a runoff in the Republican primary in the state’s 22nd congressional district.

Political analysts said that Pierce Bush’s loss is another indication that the family’s position in the Republican Party is waning and that the “compassionate conservatism” pushed by the Bushes has given way in the GOP to President Donald Trump’s national populism.

Mark Jones, a Rice University political scientist, said: “Pierce Bush’s failure to reach the runoff suggests that the market for the Bush family brand of compassionate conservatism is nowhere near as strong as it was 20 to 30 years ago when his grandfather and uncle enjoyed widespread support within the Texas GOP.”

Brandon Rottinghaus, a political scientist at the University of Houston, said Bush “started too late and got tagged as a carpetbagger in a primary field that was moving significantly far to the right ideologically. The race is as much a referendum on the Bush name as on the dynamics of modern Republican Party primary politics.”

Outgoing Republican incumbent Rep. Pete Olson had endorsed Bush for the congressional seat. Bush had raised more money than 14 of the other candidates running in the district.

Troy Nehls won 40.5 percent of the Republican primary, and Kathaleen Wall won 19.4 percent of the race, while Bush received 15.4 percent of the vote. Wall and Nehl will advance to the primary runoff.


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