Donald Trump handed election loss in Texas


Former President Donald Trump has suffered an election loss in Texas after his endorsed candidate fell in a GOP primary.

Republican Texas State House Speaker Dade Phelan narrowly survived a primary runoff election against Trump-backed candidate David Covey on Tuesday night, according to The Associated Press.

Trump endorsed Covey following MAGA backlash over Phelan leading last year’s Texas House impeachment of state Attorney General Ken Paxton.

The Context

Phelan led the Texas State House impeachment of Paxton, known nationally for his support of discredited pro-Trump 2020 election conspiracy theories and related legal challenges before the incumbent attorney general was ultimately acquitted in the state Senate last year.

The impeachment charges centered on allegations that Paxton improperly used the powers of his office to protect political donor and real estate developer Nate Paul, who was indicted on federal charges of making false statements to banks and wire fraud. Paul pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Since his acquittal, Paxton has gone on what the editorial board of the Dallas Morning News called “an ever-expanding revenge tour” aiming to oust those responsible for his impeachment, with Phelan being a prime target. Paxton joined Trump in endorsing Covey.

Former President Donald Trump is pictured outside his criminal trial in New York City on May 28, 2024. Texas State House Speaker Dade Phelan survived a Trump-backed Republican primary challenge on Tuesday night.

ANDREW KELLY/POOL/AFP

What We Know

Phelan, who came in a close second to Covey in the initial primary results in March, thanked his supporters for the “resounding victory” in the runoff on Tuesday night in a post to X, formerly Twitter.

“Tonight, I am immensely grateful to the voters of Southeast Texas, who have spoken loud and clear: in Southeast Texas, we set our own course—our community is not for sale, and our values are not up for auction,” Phelan wrote.

“Thank you, House District 21, for your confidence in me—I am honored to be your advocate and look forward to earning your vote once again in November,” he added. “Together, we move forward, focused, determined and stronger than ever.”

Phelan said that he would next be turning his attention to the general election in November, looking “forward to hitting the ground running to ensure the Texas House is best positioned for what promises to be another landmark conservative session, bolstered by as strong a Republican majority as possible.”

Newsweek reached out for comment to Trump’s office via email on Tuesday night.

Views

The former president took to his social media platform Truth Social on Monday ahead of the election to advise Texas voters to cast their ballot for Covey. Trump said, “David Covey is running against Dade Phelan, the Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives, who led the Fraudulent Impeachment of the recently re-elected, in a landslide, Attorney General of Texas, Ken Paxton.”

Trump continued: “David is an America First Conservative who will Secure the Border, Restore Election Integrity, Protect our Families and Military/Vets, and Defend our under siege Second Amendment.

Dade Phelan said, ‘I voted for President Trump twice for President, and I’m going to vote for him a third time. I think he’s going to be the Nominee.’ Words, however, do not mitigate the Absolute Embarrassment Speaker Phelan inflicted upon the State of Texas and our Great Republican Party!
 
Therefore, David Covey has my Complete and Total Endorsement for Texas’ 21st State House District—Texas, Get Out to Vote, Tomorrow!”

Paxton also reacted to the news on Tuesday night on X immediately saying in part, “Democrats just reelected @dadephelan. We must close our primaries. Now.”

Meanwhile, Texas Governor Greg Abbott‘s campaign account on X congratulated Phelan on Tuesday night.

What’s Next

While Phelan won the primary election, his fate in the general election and in GOP leadership remains unclear. Republicans are expected to mount a fierce challenge to his speakership should he win reelection.

Paxton issued the following warning to Republicans who might be considering keeping Phelan in leadership in his X post following the runoff result on Tuesday: “You will not return if you vote for Dade Phelan again.”