Democrats in the Texas Legislature bolted Monday for Washington, and said they were ready to remain there for weeks in a second revolt against a GOP overhaul of election laws, forcing a dramatic new showdown over voting rights in America.

Private planes carrying a large group of Democrats took off from an airport in Austin, skipping town just days before the Texas House of Representatives was expected to give early approval to sweeping new voting restrictions in a special legislative session. Hours after they took off, Republican Gov.

Greg Abbott told an Austin television station he would keep calling special sessions through next year if necessary, he and raised the possibility of Democrats facing arrest upon returning home. More than 50 Texas lawmakers landed in the Washington suburb of Sterling, Virginia, Monday evening and were taken on two large charter buses from a private terminal to a parking lot near the main terminal of Dulles Airport. Most wore street clothes rather than formal dress.