Sen. Wendy Davis won re-election to the Texas Senate, blocking Republican efforts to create a supermajority capable of suspending the rules to pass conservative legislation.
The Fort Worth Democrat defeated state Rep. Mark Shelton, who tried to rally tea party support and add to the Republican majority.
Unless someone switches parties, Republicans will continue to have 19 votes, while Democrats will have 12. That places Democrats in a better position to demand compromises on key legislation or slow down legislation they oppose.
Davis has fought for greater spending on public education and health care for the poor. Shelton had promised to reduce the size of government and cut taxes.
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, who presides over the Senate, has promised a more conservative Republican agenda next year.