Iranian-American progressive Sima Ladjevardian has lost her congressional race with staunchly conservative House Republican Dan Crenshaw, according to The Associated Press.
Ladjevardian had garnered national attention while encapsulating the shifting demographics in the one-time Republican bastion of Texas.
Crenshaw and Ladjevardian were competing to represent the state’s 2nd congressional district, which includes parts of Houston.
Ladjevardian was born in Iran and immigrated to the United States as a child. She is running to represent Texas’s 2nd congressional district.
She identifies as a “lawyer, a mother of two, a breast cancer survivor and a political activist”.
Crenshaw, a rising star in the Republican Party, won his seat in 2018. Crenshaw is a former Navy SEAL who served in Iraq and lost an eye in Afghanistan. He had vastly outraised Ladjevardian in campaign funds.
Ladjevardian had focused her campaign on criticising Crenshaw’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, which she said he had downplayed. She had called for expanding access to affordable healthcare, addressing climate change and injustices in the US immigration system.
She was a key adviser to Beto O’Rourke during his attempt to defeat Republican Senator Ted Cruz for his seat in 2018, and was endorsed by former President Barack Obama.
Crenshaw was considered the favourite in the race.
However, observers saw an opening for Ladjevardian’s immigrant-friendly policies, particularly as the residents of the increasingly diverse Houston area struggle with the economic and social fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.
“As an immigrant, I understand the value of why our votes matter and why it’s essential to be civically engaged,” she told the Washington Post in late August, while adding she was running more as “a mom, a breast cancer survivor and a political activist”.