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The Texas special election is a test for anti-Trump Republicans

MANSFIELD, Texas (AP) – Adam Kinzinger came to Texas this week to hunt unicorns.

The Illinois congressman was looking for Republicans who, like him, see former President Donald Trump as a scourge on their party – a threat to democracy. On his first day in the state, Kinsinger met with a sympathetic Republican, former President George W. Bush Jr. On the second day, he dined with Michael Wood, the only outspoken Republican to run in the congressional election on Saturday.

Kingsinger, a 43-year-old Air Force pilot serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, presents himself as a leading opponent of Trump in a party that has largely refused to step down as president. Congressman’s new political organization, Country One, has endorsed every Republican in the House who voted to impeach Trump for inciting the deadly riots at the US Capitol on January 6. And because Kցzinger himself sees his candidacy for the top job, he came to Texas to test how many other Republicans share his views.

Kinzinger’s hope is in Wood, another fresh-faced combat veteran struggling to excel on the 23rd field. If none of the candidates on Saturday gets 50% of the vote, the top two will run in the second round later. in spring.

“Trump’s thing, but he has nowhere else to go! It’s not growing, ”Kinsinger said as he dined with Wood at a Fork in the Road suburb in Dallas. “But it took a long time for the Republican Party to be in its current state. It may take a long time to return it. ”

The race to replace Republican Ron Wright, who died of COVID-19 in February, has gone virtually unnoticed outside of North Texas. But it does offer a window into the forces that are tearing the fabric of today’s GOP. There are 10 Republicans among the 23 candidates on the ballot, except for Wood, all of whom are desperate to defeat Trump and his supporters.

Republican Brian Harrison, a former chief of staff at the Department of Health and Human Services, played a key role in the Trump administration. He also has Seri Kim, who worked in the Small Business Department, directly begging Trump for his approval when he appeared on Newsmax, where he shared his phone number. Former professional wrestler Dan Rodimer shone with the approval Trump gave him last year during a failed run for Congress in Nevada. His new motto. “Make America Texas again.”

Trump waited five days before election day to formally approve Congressman’s widow, Susan Wright, who is widely regarded as a favorite.

Trump’s team mocked Wood’s opportunities and Kingsinger’s broader ambitions.

In his campaign to oust Trump, the Illinois congressman is incomparable by any measure. Polls show that 8 out of 10 Republicans continue to support Trump. And while Kinzer’s political team has raised $ 2.2 million in the last quarter, Trump’s political activity is at least $ 85 million.

When asked about Kinsinger, Trump spokesman Ason Eason Miller dismissed him as “the future investor of MSNBC.”

However, Wood also provided financial and moral support to a number of other Trump critics in Congress, including Liz Cheney and R-View. David Valadao, R-Calif; և Peter Meijer, R-Mich: Like Kintsinger, all three voted to impeach Trump.

Kittinger said he was fascinated by Wood’s political courage as a 34-year-old Marine. Wood was ridiculed by Republicans for turning the GOP into a “cult of personality.” The first row of voting, which he passes to the voters, announces. “The Republican Party has lost its way …”

In an interview, Wood, who earned two Purple Hearts for his service in Afghanistan and now runs a small business, compared Trump to a “less intelligent, lazy, disorganized” autocrat like Roman Emperor Julius Caesar. He warned that freedom itself was in jeopardy if Trump and what he advocated were not strictly rejected.

“I do not want to go to Congress if I have to lick Donald Trump’s shoes to get there,” he said.

Still, Kinzinger knows more than anyone how difficult it will be to persuade Republican voters anywhere, and Texas does not mind opposing Trump. The congressman’s political action has recently ordered polls, which have revealed that the most sympathetic voters are the so-called “unicorns”. Republicans who are politically moderate do not regularly watch Fox News, reject conspiracy theories, have higher education.

Kinzinger must grow the electorate if his efforts are to be successful in Texas and beyond, as he sees an aggressive role in the mid-2022 period.

Wood estimates that such voters could make up 35% of those who decide on Saturday’s snap election. Conservative strategists assume that the number is probably much lower.

This does not mean that there are no warning signs for Trump’s supporters.

Trump beat North Texas by double digits in 2016, but by just three points last fall, reflecting the trend in Texas’ thriving suburbs to purple and, in some places, blue.

But near the Mansfield Municipal Court building this week, Wood showed little support for Republicans queuing up for early voting. Someone said that Wood was betraying his country. one embarrassed him.

“There is no republican notion of anti-Trump. He has to find another party, “said Gordon Powell, a 71-year-old white retiree from Mansfield. “I doubt he can run as a Republican dog hunter and be elected here.”

Yvette Williams, a 54-year-old African-American transplanter from California, said he would consider Wood if he did not vote for the Democrat. Independently applauded his efforts.

“I’m like, ‘Who in the Republican Party can stand up to Trump?’ “One person is needed to make a change,” he said.

In turn, 10 Democrats are running in the snap elections. But last year, as a result of high expectations and high costs, they failed to win a single significant victory, the National Party is generally far from the election race.

And while many Republican Republicans in Texas remain loyal to Trump, Kinsinger has earned the respect of one of Texas’ most prominent officials.

Kingsinger and his wife met with former President Bush’s former First Lady Laura Bush at the Bush office of the Southern Methodist University for about an hour on Monday evening. Kittinger said they discussed foreign policy, the support of evangelical Christians to Trump, and shared concerns about the party leadership.

“Obviously, as he puts it, he’s concerned about where we are. He knows the motto is to get it back,” Kinsinger said of Bing. “But it seems that if you do not fight, it is done.”

A Bush spokesman declined to comment.

At the same time, Wood said that more time had passed for his party leadership to publicly support Trump.

“I hope you win or lose, I at least show that there are people in the rest of the country who are ready to stand up and say these things. Frankly, I’m a little upset that someone like me says that. It should be shouted from the roof by the leaders of the House, the Republicans of the Senate, the Republicans of the Republic. “

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