State Rep. Gary VanDeaver has narrowly held onto his seat against businessman Chris Spencer in Texas House District 1.

Data from the Texas Secretary of State’s website showed that, as of 9:35 p.m. Central Standard Time, VanDeaver (R-New Boston) led Spencer by seven percentage points—53.5 percent to 46.5 percent.

VanDeaver was first elected to the Texas House in 2014.

However, he faced backlash this election cycle for his opposition to Gov. Greg Abbott’s school choice proposal, which failed to pass.

The lawmaker also faced criticism for his decision to vote to impeach Attorney General Ken Paxton in 2023. Paxton was later acquitted of all charges by the Senate.

Spencer had received the endorsements of Abbott, Paxton, Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz. In addition, Grassroots America: We The People and the Family Empowerment Coalition PAC backed his bid.

The election result makes VanDeaver one of the few anti-school choice Republicans who survived a primary challenger after the March 5 primaries, alongside Charlie Geren of Fort Worth and Drew Darby of San Angelo.

Before VanDeaver was first elected in 2014, the lawmaker served as the Superintendent of the New Boston Independent School District in Bowie County.

HD 1 is a deeply Republican district, and no Democrat is challenging VanDeaver in the November 5 general election. His runoff victory means he will return to the State House in January.

Luca Cacciatore

Luca H. Cacciatore is a journalist for Texas Scorecard. He is an American Moment inaugural fellow and former welder.