Elections 2022State Rep. Michelle Beckley Launches Campaign for Congress Against Rep. Beth Van Duyne

One of the Texas House Democrats participating in the quorum bust, Michelle Beckley, hopes to stay in D.C. via a congressional challenge to Beth Van Duyne.
July 20, 2021
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State Rep. Michelle Beckley (D-Carrollton) announced her campaign for Texas’ 24th Congressional District against Rep. Beth Van Duyne (R-TX-24) on Tuesday.

“Generations of Americans have come to Washington, D.C. to learn about our democracy,” said Beckley in her launch video. “I came here with over 50 of my colleagues to save it, leaving our families behind to block the Texas Republican’s voter suppression bill.”

Beckley is one of the Texas House Democrats who broke quorum during the current special legislative session in an effort to kill the GOP election bill, which Democrats say will suppress minority votes while Republicans argue it will make it “hard to cheat, but easy to vote.”

In her new campaign video, Beckley says that the bill and others like it in other states “would keep millions of working Americans and people of color away from the polls.”

Among its provisions, the Texas bill would prohibit drive-through and 24-hour voting which was experimented with for the first time last year in response to the pandemic, create a new ID requirement for voting by mail similar to the ID requirement for voting in person, and extend the requirement for employers to allow employees to vote to the early voting period.

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At the time of her launch, Beckley released a list of 30 other Texas House Democrats, including House Democratic Caucus Chair Rep. Chris Turner (D-Grand Prairie), who have endorsed her.

While in D.C., Beckley was singled out in criticism from the Texas House Republican Caucus for a “poor showing” on a CNN interview.

Asked if there was “some other step beyond” the Texas Democrats’ current walkout, Beckley said, “We do have plans. It’s not something that we are at liberty to tell you today.”

In her launch video, Beckley was also critical of Van Duyne, the freshmen representative for the DFW-area district.

“One of [Van Duyne’s] first acts in Congress was to vote in favor of throwing out millions of ballots to help Trump steal the election,” said Beckley. “Beth Van Duyne can walk away from her duty to defend democracy, but not me.”

When the certification of the electoral college votes came before the newly elected Congress in January, Van Duyne was the only member of the Texas delegation to vote in favor of certifying the results of the Arizona election and against certifying the votes from Pennsylvania.

In a press release, Van Duyne said that she objected to the Pennsylvania results because its election, “was conducted unconstitutionally through executive and court actions” against “the express approval of the Pennsylvania State Legislature.”

“I understand that by objecting to the 2020 Pennsylvania electors I will be unjustly slurred as a traitor and seditionist. But I stand with tens of millions of Americans who can forcefully and righteously agree with Supreme Court Justices who understood the actions to change election rules in Pennsylvania represent a grave Constitutional threat that must be remedied,” said Van Duyne, citing an opinion from Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito.

Van Duyne’s election in 2020 was among the most competitive races in the state, with the former Trump administration official and Irving mayor ultimately winning with 48.8 percent of the vote, only a few thousand votes ahead of the Democrats’ nominee, Candace Valenzuela.

While the suburban district could continue to be one of the most competitive in the state, the redistricting that is expected to take place later this year will likely tilt the odds more toward Republicans.

Beckley’s own state House district in the southeast portion of Denton County shifted toward Democrats in recent elections and could swing back to the GOP after redistricting.

Kronda Thimesch, Beckley’s Republican opponent in 2020 who lost with 48.5 percent of the vote, announced in early July that she would be running for the seat again.

Moving to the congressional race instead of seeking reelection, Beckley will face off against at least one other Democrat contending for the nomination to challenge Van Duyne.

Derrik Gay, an attorney and Marine veteran, launched a bid for the seat in early July.

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Daniel Friend

Daniel Friend is a reporter for The Texan. He participated in a Great Books program at Azusa Pacific University and graduated in 2019 with a degree in Political Science. He has studied C.S. Lewis’s science fiction trilogy and in his spare time you might find him writing his own novel partly inspired by the series.