Thirteen significant Lone Star State political runoffs will be decided today, thus ending the nomination process that began with the Texas primary election back on March 6th.
In the Governor’s race, Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez and businessman Andrew White, the son of the late former Texas Gov. Mark White (D), do battle for the Democratic nomination. Sheriff Valdez placed first in the March 6th vote with 43% versus Mr. White’s 27%, but she failed to reach the majority plateau. Therefore, the two were forced into today’s runoff. Originally, nine Democrats were on the ballot. The winner faces Gov. Greg Abbott (R), who is the prohibitive favorite for re-election.
TX-2: This Houston suburban seat yields a Republican runoff contest between state Rep. Kevin Roberts (R-Houston) and retired Navy officer Dan Crenshaw. The Republican winner will be the prohibitive favorite to win the seat in the fall and replace retiring Rep. Ted Poe (R-Atascocita). In the primary, Rep. Roberts placed first with 33% of the vote in a field of nine candidates. Mr. Crenshaw out-paced the third place finisher by just 155 votes, which was enough to advance into today’s secondary election.
TX-5: Retiring Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Dallas) leaves a Republican runoff to decide his successor. State Rep. Lance Gooden (R-Kaufman County) received 30% in the March 6thelection and now faces former Hensarling campaign manager and political fundraiser Bunni Pounds, who the Congressman publicly supports. Ms. Pounds attracted 22% in the field of eight candidates. The Republican nominee will be the heavy favorite in November. He or she will oppose former Terrell City Councilman Dan Wood (D) in the general election.
TX-6: Tarrant County Tax Assessor and former congressional staff member Ron Wright (R) came within five percentage points of clinching the nomination outright in March. He now faces the distant second place finisher, pilot Jake Ellzey, in today’s vote. Mr. Wright is the heavy favorite for the GOP nomination and the seat. He will replace his former boss, retiring Rep. Joe Barton (R-Ennis) who was first elected in 1984. For the Democrats, journalist Jana Sanchez and pastor Ruby Faye Woolridge finished just 15 votes apart in the primary. The winner will be a decided underdog to Mr. Wright in November.
TX-7: In the first significant Democratic runoff of the evening, Rep. John Culberson (R-Houston) will find out whom he will face in what could become a competitive general election. Attorney Lizzie Pannill Fletcher, who most of the Democratic Party establishment backs, placed first in March with a 29-24% margin over author Laura Mosher. A close finish is expected tonight.
TX-21: This San Antonio-Austin district is the second of three seats where both parties are holding runoff electoral contests. For the favored Republicans, former Ted Cruz chief of staff Chip Roy topped a field of 18 candidates with 27% of the vote. He now faces businessman and frequent candidate Matt McCall who captured 17%. Mr. Roy is favored to ultimately replace retiring Rep. Lamar Smith (R-San Antonio), who won his first congressional election in 1986. The Democratic race features aerospace engineer Joseph Kopser and Baptist Minister Mary Wilson. Ms. Wilson placed first in the March 6th primary with 31% of the vote, followed closely by Mr. Kopser’s 29 percent.
TX-23: In the state’s one true swing district that stretches from San Antonio to El Paso, Rep. Will Hurd (R-San Antonio) runs for a third term. Since it’s origination, this district has seen all six of its previous Representatives suffer a defeat at the polls. In the Democratic runoff, former US Trade official Gina Ortiz Jones, who captured 42% of the vote in the first election, strives to win the nomination against educator and former San Antonio City Council candidate Rick Trevino. The latter man pulled 17% support in the field of five original Democratic candidates. Ms. Jones is favored to win tonight. We can expect another toss-up campaign for the fall.
TX-27: Resigned Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Corpus Christi) leaves an open seat and a June 30th special election in his wake. Tonight, both parties will host runoff elections. Republicans are favored to hold the seat, and former Water Development Board chairman Bech Bruun and ex-Victoria County Republican Party chairman and media production company owner Michael Cloud are vying for the party nomination. The primary was very close, with Mr. Bruun capturing first place with 36% versus Mr. Cloud’s 34%. For the Democrats, 2016 nominee Roy Barrera and former congressional aide Eric Holguin battle for the party nod. In the primary, Mr. Barrera captured 41% compared to Mr. Holguin’s 23%.
TX-31: A spirited Democratic runoff is taking place in Williamson and Bell Counties, as Afghan War veteran and author M.J. Hegar faces Dr. Christine Mann, a physician. In the primary, Ms. Hegar garnered 45% versus Dr. Mann’s 34%. The winner then begins an uphill challenge against eight-term veteran Rep. John Carter (R-Round Rock).
TX-32: In 2016, eleven-term Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Dallas) had no Democratic Party opposition. This year, seven Democrats competed in the primary, and two advanced into the runoff election. Civil Rights attorney and former NFL football player (Tennessee Titans) Colin Allred opposes former Agriculture Deputy Undersecretary Lillian Salerno for the party nomination. In the March 6th primary, Mr. Allred earned 38% support while Ms. Salerno took 18%. Mr. Allred is favored today and, with its changing demographics, this general election campaign will be more competitive than in immediate past years.