Voters in a North Texas House district must go to the polls one more time before residents there have full representation in the Texas Legislature.

Saturday’s five-way special election to fill the vacant House District 68 seat ended without a majority winner, so top finishers David Spiller and Craig Carter will compete in a runoff to represent the rural North Texas district.

Spiller received 44 percent of the vote and Carter received 18 percent, beating third-place finisher John Berry by just 57 votes in unofficial results posted by the Texas Secretary of State.

Spiller is a lawyer who’s served more than 30 years as Jacksboro’s city attorney and more than 20 years as a Jacksboro school board trustee. Carter is a Nocona businessman and philanthropist who also ran in the recent special election for state Senate.

Turnout in the “expedited” special election, called less than a month ago to fill the House seat vacated by Drew Springer, was 9 percent.

Just more than 100,000 Texans are registered to vote in the vast district, which covers 22 rural North Texas counties: Childress, Collingsworth, Cooke, Cottle, Crosby, Dickens, Fisher, Floyd, Garza, Hall, Hardeman, Haskell, Jack, Kent, King, Montague, Motley, Stonewall, Throckmorton, Wheeler, Wilbarger, and Young.

Voters in four of the district’s most populous counties—Cooke, Montague, Young, and Jack—already faced two special elections in late 2020 in the overlapping state Senate District 30.

Running for two legislative seats at the same time, Springer won a fifth term representing HD 68 in November but vacated the seat in December when he won a special runoff for the SD 30 spot. That left voters in his old district without representation in the Texas House.

Gov. Greg Abbott will set a date for the special runoff election. Until then, House District 68 residents will remain unrepresented, and the state House will be short one Republican vote.

Erin Anderson

Erin Anderson is a Senior Journalist for Texas Scorecard, reporting on state and local issues, events, and government actions that impact people in communities throughout Texas and the DFW Metroplex. A native Texan, Erin grew up in the Houston area and now lives in Collin County.