Just a year and a half ago, Texas Republicans enjoyed almost total control of the state government. Their 102-48 supermajority in the House — and a large majority in the Senate — meant they could pass virtually any bill they wanted.
And they sure did. They gutted $5.4 billion out of education, passed a voter ID law already blocked by the courts, slashed women’s health programs in a quixotic attempt to curtail abortions, required women seeking an abortion to undergo transvaginal ultrasounds… well, you get the idea.
Those halcyon days of making sure women and minorities know their place ended today when the Texas GOP lost its supermajority in the House and failed to win back the senate seat Democrat Wendy Davis first won in 2008.
Democrats rebounded, reducing the Republican edge to 95-55.
Republicans are still the ruling party, no doubt about it, but the loosening of their political control ensures that the 2013 state legislative session is going to be a nasty business.
Davis will make sure of that. It is, after all, why she got reelected, despite GOP efforts to force her out by redrawing the Fort Worth district to lean even more Republican than it already was.
After her now-famous filibuster of the Texas Senate — when Davis held firm against the billions of dollars of education cuts — there’s little doubt she will be in the same underdog position once again when Republicans inevitably try to push more cuts through the legislature.
The soft-spoken blonde is a rising star in the Texas Democratic Party, which hopes she will eventually become a statewide officeholder. Her opponent, Republican Mark Shelton, accused her of ethics violations and other nefarious behavior. Eventually, Davis fired back with her own attack ads.
It was the most hotly contested race in the state, and Davis acknowledged the nastiness in her victory speech last night.
“It hasn’t been such a bad ride, has it?”
Actually Wendy, it has. But it’s probably nothing compared to how ugly things are going to get very, very soon.