MESQUITE, Texas— Conservative attorney and businesswoman Deanna Metzger moved one step closer to winning election to the Texas House by winning the Republican nomination for House District 107.
Though she came in first place in the March primary, Metzger fell just shy of avoiding a runoff against Joe Ruzicka, an Air Force veteran and moderate Republican who had previously worked for US Sen. John McCain (R–AZ).
Metzger was supported almost universally by the state’s conservative organizations such as Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, Texas Right to Life, and the Young Conservatives of Texas. Ruzicka’s candidacy, meanwhile, was endorsed by the establishment-friendly Texas Alliance for Life, Associated Republicans of Texas, and the Dallas Morning News.
However, conservatives typically fare better in runoff elections and Tuesday’s was no different. When ballots were counted, Metzger had secured 56 percent of the vote to Ruzicka’s 44 percent.
She attributed her victory to the strength and support of her volunteers in the district..
“We did it! We won by 12%! We all fought so hard together as a team and proved in District 107 that nasty attacks and gutter politics would not win the day- we fought an honorable and clean fight based solely on the issues,” said Metzger, “I’m honored and so proud to represent the Republican ticket in 107!”
But while Metzger has been campaigning for more than six months, her real fight is really just now beginning. Unlike most Texas House districts, HD 107 is anything but safe.
Indeed, HD 107 is one of Texas’ few “swing districts” and it’s currently held by Democrat State Rep. Victoria Neave. Neave defeated moderate Republican State Rep. Ken Sheets in 2016 by less than 900 votes.
Neave was one of the Texas Democratic Party’s “rising stars” during the 85th Legislature and subsequent special session, but her stardom crashed down to earth when she was arrested for a DWI this past fall after recklessly crashing her car into a tree.
In the arrest video an obviously intoxicated Neave can be heard telling Dallas Police, “I love you, I will fight for you, and I’m invoking my Fifth Amendment rights.”
Neave ultimately plead no contest to the charge.
The charge, and Neave’s opposition to Gov. Greg Abbott’s popular agenda, will likely be features of Republicans efforts to win back the seat. But with midterm elections typically resulting in uphill battles for ruling parties, conservatives will still have their work cut out for them in HD 107 and much of Dallas County.
Most political observers believe Texas to be a safely red state for 2018, but changing demographics, more marginal districts, and sophisticated Democrat turnout machines make Dallas County the state’s premier battleground for the November 2018 election.