Political newcomer Shelley Luther and State Rep. Drew Springer (R–Muenster) are headed to a runoff to decide who voters want to be their next state senator representing Senate District 30, which covers 14 mostly rural North Texas counties.

Luther and Springer each won about 32 percent of the vote in Tuesday’s special election to fill the seat vacated by State Sen. Pat Fallon (R–Prosper), who announced his resignation in August in anticipation of winning the 4th Congressional District seat in November.

Springer is currently serving his fourth term representing House District 68, which shares four counties with SD 30 including rural Cooke County, where he lives. He’s on the November 3 ballot to retain that House seat, but he would have to resign if he wins the senate runoff—setting up another special election. Springer is endorsed by Fallon and several other lawmakers.

Luther is best known as the Dallas salon owner thrown in jail for opening her business in defiance of Gov. Greg Abbott’s shutdown orders. Since then, the Denton County resident has become an outspoken advocate for limited government, making her a favorite among conservative grassroots. Luther’s endorsements include State Sen. Bob Hall (R–Edgewood) and Collin County Judge Chris Hill.

“My goal is to get a regular person in Austin,” Luther told supporters gathered at a watch party Tuesday night. “I think people voted for me because I’m not a politician. I refuse to act like a politician. I refuse to sling personal mud and lies.”

Luther was referring to attack ads and mailers from Springer’s camp as the race became a heated contest between the two, seen as a proxy for the divide between Austin’s political insiders and conservative grassroots who want someone who will fight Abbott’s unilateral executive orders and oppressive coronavirus mandates.

Jacob Minter, the lone Democrat in the race, finished third with 21 percent of the vote. The other three candidates drew 6 percent or less.

Nearly 69,000 votes were cast in the race, according to unofficial results reported by the Texas Secretary of State.

 

“Abbott gave us 30 days and thought that we would get beat,” Luther added. “You give us two more months and see what happens.”

The governor will set a special runoff date for some time after the November general election.

SD 30 includes Archer, Clay, Cooke, Erath, Grayson, Jack, Montague, Palo Pinto, Parker, Wichita, Wise, and Young counties, and parts of Collin and Denton.

UPDATED September 30 to show revised unofficial results from the Texas Secretary of State’s office.