Speaker Dade Phelan will keep his seat in the Texas House, surviving an electoral wave that claimed a number of his allies across the state.

Phelan’s narrow victory over former Orange County GOP Chair David Covey marks an improbable feat, becoming the only speaker to survive a runoff election in Texas.

As of publishing, Phelan led 50.7 percent to Covey’s 49.3 percent, with all precincts reporting.

Covey had earned endorsements from statewide officials including Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Attorney General Ken Paxton, and Agriculture Sid Miller, as well as former President Donald Trump. The attention placed on the race in recent weeks has led observers to deem it the most expensive House race in Texas history.

Phelan had been criticized for his empowerment of Democrats, impeachment of Ken Paxton, and failure to pass legislative priorities of the Republican Party of Texas, leading the state party to pass a formal censure of him late last year.

While Phelan fended off his challenge, the situation was far different in other districts. Incumbent State Reps. Lynn Stucky, Justin Holland, Frederick Frazier, Stephanie Klick, DeWayne Burns, and John Kuempel were all defeated.

Covey acknowledged the victories across the state for conservatives in his concession speech in Orange.

“We have sent a message… We expect our elected officials to act and govern as conservatives,” said Covey. “Because we have tied up the speaker’s resources, we are winning races all around the state tonight.”

He also said that Phelan only won the seat with the help of Democrats. In the March primary, nine percent of voters in the race had a Democrat voting history. The Texas GOP moved to close their primaries to Democrat voters at their convention last week.

Though Phelan has won re-election to his seat in the legislature, the question of whether or not he will maintain control of the House remains up in the air. After coming in second place in the primary election in March, Phelan has already earned at least one challenger for the speakership.

Brandon Waltens

Brandon serves as the Senior Editor for Texas Scorecard. After managing successful campaigns for top conservative legislators and serving as a Chief of Staff in the Texas Capitol, Brandon moved outside the dome in order to shine a spotlight on conservative victories and establishment corruption in Austin. @bwaltens