The 2019 election season isn’t over quite yet for many Fort Bend County voters.

Democrat Elizabeth “Eliz” Markowitz and Republican Gary Gates are headed to a runoff to decide who will fill the unexpired term of State Rep. John Zerwas (R–Richmond).

In what started as a seven-candidate field, comprised of six Republicans and one Democrat, Markowitz is now reduced to a head-to-head battle to determine which party will pick up the seat ahead of the redistricting process that is set to unfold in the next legislative session. The traditionally Republican-held seat saw thousands of dollars pour into the race to back Markowitz as part of Democrats’ nationwide effort to reclaim majorities in state legislatures where district maps are to be redrawn following the 2020 Census.

Gates, a perennial candidate, has previously mounted seven unsuccessful campaigns for school board, the state legislature, and, most recently, the Texas Railroad Commission.

Republican Party of Texas officials are now safely moving behind Gates and publicizing their support of him, with the five other Republicans having been eliminated from the contest. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, for instance, took to Facebook to share his sentiments and congratulate the Republican candidate.

RPT Chairman James Dickey issued the following statement Wednesday:

“Congratulations to Republican Gary Gates for advancing to the runoff last night despite the Republican vote being split six ways. Voters in House District 28 know the importance of having a strong Republican leader represent them in the Texas House of Representatives. Now Gates will face off against a Democrat who has openly aligned herself with Wendy Davis and Beto O’Rourke – radical leftists who advocate for extreme abortion policies and gun confiscation. The choice for House District 28 couldn’t be more clear!”

Abbott is expected to announce the date for special election runoffs in the near future.

Destin Sensky

Destin Sensky serves as a Capitol Correspondent for Texas Scorecard covering the Texas Legislature, working to bring Texans the honest and accurate coverage they need to hold their elected officials in Austin accountable.