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

U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke, the 2018 Democratic Candidate for U.S. Senate in Texas, right, and his wife, Amy Sanders, stand together during his election night party, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in El Paso, Texas., after he was defeated by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

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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