WASHINGTON (JTA) — Laura Moser, the Jewish author who launched an activist movement against Donald Trump and made her Jewish background a key element of her campaign pitch, was soundly defeated in her challenge to the Democratic establishment in a Texas primary.
Attorney Lizzie Fletcher bested Moser 68 percent to 32 percent in the race Tuesday in Texas’s 7th congressional district, which includes parts of Houston and its suburbs and is considered a possible pickup for Democrats in November.
Soon after Trump’s election as president, Moser founded Daily Action, a network of activists alerted each day to an advocacy action targeting Trump and his policies.
Her frustration with what she felt was a milquetoast Democratic Party response to Trump’s election led to her to launch a campaign for the nomination in Houston, her hometown. She previously had been based in Washington.
Unusual for a primary, the Democratic establishment openly pushed back against her, fearing a nominee from the left would not wrest the seat from its Republican incumbent, John Culberson. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee ran an ad against her ahead of the first primary vote in March.
The tactic appeared to backfire at first, with leftist outrage at the Democrats propelling Moser to the second spot in a crowded race and denying Fletcher an outright victory. The contest went to a runoff.
Moser made her Jewish background a key element of her pitch, describing her grandfather’s path as a refugee from Nazi Germany to the safety of Texas. “Our Jewish children, with their father’s Indian last name and their mother’s bright-blue eyes, were now residents of the most diverse city in America,” she wrote a year ago in Vogue.
Democrats believe they have the momentum to win the U.S. House of Representatives in November, but the party is currently riven over how best to accomplish that, with the establishment favoring an approach that appeals to centrists and Republicans unhappy with Trump, and the left counseling a get-out-the-vote approach targeting the grassroots.
The battle has been cast as pitting the legacy of Hillary Clinton, the 2016 Democratic nominee who lost to Trump, against that of Bernie Sanders, the Vermont senator who mounted a stronger-than-expected challenge against Clinton in the primaries. Sanders was the first Jewish candidate to win major party nominating contests. Our Revolution, a political action group set up to capitalize on his popularity, endorsed Moser after the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee came out against her.
Moser congratulated Fletcher on Twitter and said she would work to help her win the November election. “You ran a great race and I look forward to helping you flip #TX07 in November,” she said.
Anti-establishment Democrats won in primaries Tuesday for Georgia governor and for a congressional seat in Kentucky, also seen as a possible Democratic pickup.