Elections 2020Two Newly Elected State House Democrats Lose Reelection Bids in Runoff

Challengers Jasmine Crockett and Penny Shaw upset their incumbent opponents, Lorraine Birabil and Anna Eastman, during Tuesday's runoff.
July 15, 2020
Just months after winning their special elections, Democratic Reps. Lorraine Birabil (D-Dallas) and Anna Eastman (D-Houston) missed out on securing their party’s nomination for November.

Both in heavily Democratic districts, a path through November and to the subequent legislative session in January would have been assured, but both were beaten by insurgent primary opponents.

Jasmine Crockett, in House District 100, beat Birabil by a razor-thin margin of 92 votes. Birabil won the special election for the seat in January after then-Rep. Eric Johnson resigned to run for Dallas mayor.

She won comfortably, but then faced Crockett in the March primary. Birabil won the primary by about 500 votes but was just under 100 short to Crockett Tuesday night.

Conversely, down in Harris County, Anna Eastman also won a special election after longtime Rep. Jessica Farrar retired from House District 148. But on Tuesday night, Eastman came up 200 votes shy of securing the Democratic nomination.

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Her opponent, Penny Shaw, had finished a very distant sixth place during the special election last November. But now, having knocked off Eastman, Shaw will face Republican Luis LaRotta in the general election, whom Eastman beat in the runoff election in January.

Both races add to the incumbent dynamic that played out in the Republican runoff as well, with four incumbents losing their party’s nomination.

But both Crockett and Shaw should make it through November and into office for the 87th Legislature, due to the favorable Democratic make-up of their respective districts.


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Brad Johnson

Brad Johnson is a senior reporter for The Texan and an Ohio native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2017. He is an avid sports fan who most enjoys watching his favorite teams continue their title drought throughout his cognizant lifetime. In his free time, you may find Brad quoting Monty Python productions and trying to calculate the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow.