As she and her husband watched hospitalizations skyrocket in Houston, they turned their attention to the election, and began to research the two Republican candidates in their district vying to succeed Mr. Olson, only to be disappointed.
“Houston was just out of control, and not one of those candidates talked about what we’re going to do about Covid,” Mr. Mattison, an engineer and Army veteran, said in a phone interview.
Farha Ahmed, a lawyer in Sugar Land, said she has consistently voted Republican for the past 30 years and previously served as general counsel for her county’s local Republican Party. She plans to support Mr. Kulkarni in November.
“I don’t see a lot of leadership” from Republicans, she said in an interview. “The megaphone is really with the president and that is what has translated to all the Texas Republican leaders. It makes it very difficult for them to carry out what they need to do for health and safety reasons.”
In Houston’s northern suburbs, Representative Michael McCaul, the top Republican on the Foreign Affairs Committee who won re-election in 2018 by five points, is facing a rematch from Mike Siegel, a progressive civil rights lawyer. Republican strategists say that Mr. McCaul’s campaign this cycle is far stronger, but privately acknowledge Mr. McCaul could fall if an exceptionally strong Democratic wave sweeps across the country.
They are worried about voters like Wade Miller, 51, in Cypress. Mr. Miller, in an interview, described himself as a longtime Republican, but said he was reluctant to support Republicans in the coming election, citing their response to the pandemic. He and his wife had stopped watching national television news because listening to the president’s talk “made us angry for a little bit there,” he said.
“I have always been a mostly straight-ticket voter — I don’t think I will be this coming election,” Mr. Miller said. “We’re talking about human lives here, and if people aren’t willing to do what it takes to save lives, what else aren’t they willing to do? I will definitely be changing my vote come November.”