A special election to fill the vacant state legislative seat in Texas House District 10 is headed to a runoff between two Republicans, former Trump administration official Brian Harrison and former State Rep. John Wray.
The two were among eight candidates competing to fill the unexpired term of former State Rep. Jake Ellzey (R–Waxahachie).
Ellzey was elected to Congress in July to replace the late U.S. Rep. Ron Wright after serving just six months as Wray’s successor in the state Legislature, leaving the seat vacant.
Tuesday’s election was a “jungle primary” in which candidates from all parties competed. Since no candidate received more than 50 percent of the vote, the top two candidates—Harrison and Wray—advance to a runoff.
First-place finisher Harrison received 41 percent of the vote and Wray received 36 percent in the expedited election called less than four weeks ago.
Wray led in early voting but Harrison pulled ahead on Election Day, winning by 582 votes according to unofficial results posted on the Texas Secretary of State website. Turnout was 8.6 percent.
Wray, a Waxahachie attorney, held the House District 10 seat just prior to Ellzey. He chose not to seek a fourth House term in 2020, saying “elected jobs are not meant to be lifetime positions.”
Local grassroots conservatives called Wray an ”establishment career politician” and threw their support behind Harrison.
Harrison is a small businessman and former chief of staff to the Health and Human Services Secretary in the Trump administration. He competed with Ellzey in the May special election for Congressional District 6, finishing fourth.
House District 10 includes all of Ellis County and the northwest portion of Henderson County.
Democrat Pierina Otiniano finished a distant third with 11 percent of the vote. But Democrat voters could impact the results in the all-Republican runoff by uniting behind one GOP candidate, as they did in Ellzey’s congressional runoff.
Gov. Greg Abbott will set the date for a special runoff. The winner will serve out Ellzey’s unexpired term, which runs through January 2023.