One of the Republican candidates vying for the special election in Texas House District 118 has indicated his support for the expansion of Medicaid.

Former State Rep. John Lujan is currently one of five total candidates and one of two Republicans in the race to replace former Democrat State Rep. Leo Pacheco (San Antonio).

Lujan previously served as a state representative from February of 2016 to January of 2017 after winning a special election to replace then-State Rep. Joe Farias (D). He never served during a legislative session, however, as he was ousted by former Democrat State Rep. Tomas Uresti in the 2016 general election. Lujan ran again in 2018 but lost to the recently resigned Pacheco.

According to the San Antonio Express-News, Lujan is also an advocate for Medicaid expansion, similar to the three Democrat candidates in the race, going on to describe himself as middle-of-the-road on many issues. The Express-News editorial board went on to endorse Democrat candidate Frank Ramirez in the race.

Lujan’s own political party platform states:

Plank 257. Medicaid Reform: We support Medicaid block grants to the states and returning Medicaid to its original purpose to be temporary assistance. We oppose any further expansion of Medicaid.

Despite his position, Lujan’s campaign has been endorsed by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. He joins groups like the Texans for Lawsuit Reform PAC, which has donated $25,000, and the Associated Republicans of Texas, who donated $28,000. Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan also donated $21,000 for purposes of polling in the campaign. Lujan also boasts the endorsement of the Republican National Hispanic Assembly and the Hispanic Republicans of Texas.

In the 87th regular legislative session, there were nine Republicans who joined with 67 House Democrats in support of expanding Medicaid. The legislation ended up ultimately not being considered, but potentially adding another Republican to the ranks of supporters only continues to bolster the overall numbers for the expansion of Medicaid in the next legislative cycle.

Early voting began on September 20 and runs through September 28 for this special election. Election Day is Tuesday, September 28.

Jeramy Kitchen

Jeramy Kitchen serves as the Capitol Correspondent for Texas Scorecard as well as host of 'This Week in Texas', a show previewing the week ahead in Texas politics. After managing campaigns for conservative legislators across the state, serving as Chief of Staff for multiple conservative state legislators, and serving as Legislative Director for the largest public policy think tank in Texas, Jeramy moved outside of the Austin bubble to focus on bringing transparency to the legislative process.