A Republican has won a special election in Texas… making him the first Republican to win the heavily-Democratic seat in 139 years.
Republican Pete Flores defeated Democrat Pete Gallego on Tuesday night, for State Senate District 19–a major upset.
Flores beat Gallego by 6 percentage points, 53-47. Flores will become the first Hispanic Republican to join the Texas Senate.
“I owe this first to God and then to the grassroots in all of our counties in Senate District 19,” said Flores. “Primarily this is an example of what happens when you have a united front and a grassroots effort. So now it’s time to go to work.”
Flores’ win will have huge implication for state politics: Republicans are holding to a razor-thin supermajority in the State Senate, and will need every seat than can get.
Flores’ victory also helps shatter the expectations of a so-called “Blue Wave” election–proving that, even in 2018, Republicans can win in Democratic territory.
But despite Flores’ big win, Republicans nationwide are struggling to keep up with a surge in Democratic enthusiasm: according to RCP’s Generic Congressional Vote average, Democrats lead Republicans by 8.4 points among voters.