House District 85 was heavily reconstructed during the redistricting process, losing Jackson County while gaining Colorado, Fayette, Austin, and Waller counties. HD 85 maintained Wharton County as well as a portion of Fort Bend County.
The incumbent State Rep. Phil Stephenson (R-Wharton) has been fairly strong on social issues in the Texas House but poor on fiscal issues, earning a rating of 43 on the Texans for Fiscal Responsibility Index.
Runoff elections have historically been bad for incumbents, and with the addition of a mostly new district, Stephenson faced a heavy loss. According to the unofficial results from the Texas Secretary of State, Stephenson won only 42 percent of the vote.
Notably, Kitzman received the support of a slate of statewide elected officials including Gov. Greg Abbott, Comptroller Glenn Hegar, and Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller. Of the four runoff races featuring incumbents, this race is the only one where Abbott did not endorse the incumbent (no matter how poor their record).
Kitzman, a former Waller County commissioner previously sued by his constituents, has a long history in Waller County and received most of his financial backing from the energy sector.
In November, Kitzman will face Democrat Larry Baggett and Libertarian Michael Miller in the general election.