WASHINGTON (AP) — Sheltered in a downtown D.C. hotel, the Democratic lawmakers who fled Texas to block a restrictive voting bill are living a life of scrutiny, stress and secrecy.

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After literally fleeing the state Monday in order to sabotage the bill by denying a quorum in the Texas House of Representatives, the more than 50 state legislators find themselves balancing a punishing schedule of political lobbying, outside work and family obligations, all under a national spotlight.

Many have left young children behind; most have other professional obligations back in Texas.

All seem to be operating on minimal sleep. One called the experience “surreal.”

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