Retired Navy SEAL Dan Crenshaw notched a landslide victory Tuesday in the Texas Republican primary runoff for the seat of the retiring U.S. Rep. Ted Poe (R.), securing nearly 70 percent of the vote to his opponent's 30 percent.
Crenshaw's definitive win came less than two months after he finished a distant second behind state Rep. Kevin Roberts in the March 6 primary election, upending early predictions by party operatives that the ex-SEAL didn't have a shot.
"We spent our entire campaign trying to create this fire that spread throughout the district and I think we succeeded," Crenshaw told the Washington Free Beacon on Wednesday.
"Political experts miss this all the time because they lose sight of the heart behind politics. They take a very cerebral approach to politics with polling, statistics, looking at the money raised and the power brokers in the race, that's all they care about, so they completely lose sight of what you can accomplish if you know why you're there and you're willing to connect with people, you're willing to spark fires, and your supporters then spark that fire in someone else."
Crenshaw served combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, where he lost his right eye after encountering an improvised explosive device in the deadly Helmand province. He is favored to win the November general election against Democrat Todd Litton in Texas's heavily Republican 2nd congressional district.
Crenshaw said his campaign will pivot outreach efforts toward young people and Latino voters. The 33-year-old lived in Colombia and Ecuador growing up and speaks fluent Spanish.
"Instead of explaining why I'm the best candidate, it's going to be more explaining to moderate and independent voters why I believe my policy vision and conservative vision is still the right thing for America and why the president's policy agenda, regardless of what you think of him, is still the right policy agenda because it's doing good things for us," he said.