No lie is more persuasive than the excuse “my vote doesn’t matter.” Tell that to the 13 people whose votes decided the match-up in an open-seat senatorial contest that involved more than 133,000 voters.

In the east Texas senatorial contest, four candidates in the GOP primary vied for the open seat vacated by Kevin Elite: two sitting state representatives, a school board member and former Army general, and local activist. The school board member had the support of the liberal crony establishment in Austin, while the two state reps were seen as splitting the district’s conservative vote.

As it turns out, the school board member – James “Red” Brown – came in third. The state reps, Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola) and David Simpson (R-Longview) are in the run-off. Hughes received 48 percent 0f the vote. Simpson is in… by 13 votes (of the 133,037 ballots cast in the race).

In fact, Brown had originally thought he was going to be in the run-off. When the polls closed on March 1, it became apparent that the #2 and #3 slots would be close and the counting of absentee, military and provisional ballots would decide the outcome. In the Tyler Morning Telegraph’s March 10 story about the ongoing count, Brown was leading by a vote.

“My daughter drove in from college; she’s the deciding vote,” he told the newspaper – prematurely, as it turns out.

With all the ballots now accounted for, his daughter should have brought a baker’s dozen of friends with her.

Hughes and Simpson will meet in the run-off on Tuesday, May 24.

Michael Quinn Sullivan

Michael Quinn Sullivan is the publisher of Texas Scorecard. He is a native Texan, a graduate of Texas A&M, and an Eagle Scout. Previously, he has worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine contributor, Capitol Hill staffer, and think tank vice president. Michael and his wife have three adult children, a son-in-law, and a dog. Michael is the author of three books, including "Reflections on Life and Liberty."


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