Democratic Texas Lawmaker who switched to Republican party and backed ban on gender-affirming care for minors is defeated in primary election

In a surprising turn of events, Rep. Shawn Thierry, a Texas Democratic lawmaker, was ousted in a primary runoff after breaking with her party to support a ban on gender-affirming care for minors. This decision sparked outrage among LGBTQ+ groups nationwide, who rallied behind her opponent, Lauren Ashley Simmons, a union organizer.

Thierry’s defeat came after four terms in which she typically aligned with her Democratic colleagues on major issues, but her vocal support for the ban on gender-affirming care for minors proved to be her downfall. Despite defending her position on the Texas House floor, Thierry lost by double-digits to Simmons in the race for the south Houston seat.

The LGBTQ+ community played a significant role in Simmons’ victory, with former Houston Mayor Annise Parker highlighting how Thierry’s stance energized people within the LGBTQ+ community. Simmons is now favored to win the seat in November in the heavily Democratic district.

While Thierry’s campaign did not immediately respond to requests for comment, her emotional defense of the ban last year emphasized her commitment to placing the safety and well-being of young people above political expediency. However, her stance ultimately led to her defeat in the primary runoff.

Simmons’ campaign received support from LGBTQ+ groups both in Texas and nationwide, with organizations like the Human Rights Campaign and Equality Texas backing her bid. Political consultant Grant Martin noted that Thierry’s unwavering support for the ban, coupled with her defense of it on Fox News, contributed to her loss.

The outcome of the race sends a clear message to Democratic elected officials, as noted by Rice University political science professor Mark Jones, that going against the party on key issues could result in being primaried and removed from office. This situation mirrors the purges and litmus tests seen in the Republican Party in recent years.

In reaffirmation, Thierry’s defeat underscores the importance of aligning with party values and the potential consequences of breaking with the party on significant issues. The support Simmons received from the LGBTQ+ community showcases the power of grassroots movements and advocacy in shaping electoral outcomes.

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