In another major victory for Texas conservatives and a major defeat for Gov. Greg Abbott, liberal incumbent J.D. Sheffield (R–Gatesville) was vanquished by attorney and small-business owner Shelby Slawson.
On election night in the March primary, Slawson shocked many in the Austin political establishment by not only forcing the race into a runoff but leading Sheffield in the vote total and coming in first place in each of the district’s eight counties. Slawson garnered 45.7 percent of the vote in the three-way race, while Sheffield came in a distant second with 30 percent.
Slawson improved on that margin to defeat Sheffield in the runoff election with more than 60 percent of the vote.
First elected in 2012 after Democrats crossed over into the GOP primary to vote for him against future Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, who previously held the seat, incumbent Sheffield cemented himself as one of the most liberal members of the Texas House Republican Caucus.
He’s earned a career “F” rating on the Fiscal Responsibility Index, notching a dismal score of 39 during the 86th Texas Legislature. For those keeping track at home, that’s only six points better than Laredo Democrat Richard Raymond.
But now he’s headed for the exits and a self-described “bold constitutional conservative, a fierce taxpayer advocate, and pistol-packin’ mama” is taking his place.
Slawson’s victory should be viewed as a major triumph for her campaign and her major supporters, State Sen. Pat Fallon (R-Prosper) and Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller. It should also be viewed as a major defeat for Abbott, who endorsed the embattled Sheffield in the hopes of bringing him back to the Texas Legislature.