How Last Night's Runoff Election Results Will Impact Texas

 

AUSTIN, TX — In an effort to unseat Texas House Republicans who voted against Governor Abbott’s private school voucher bill, the governor and his campaign were successful in defeating three of the four incumbents in runoffs Tuesday night.

Only Rep. Gary VanDeaver (HD-1, Texarkana) won his runoff against Abbott-endorsed businessman Chris Spencer. Three more anti-voucher Republicans lost the Republican Primary runoff, including:

  • Rep. John Kuempel (44%) (HD-44, Seguin) who lost to Alan Schoolcraft (56%)
  • Rep. Justin Holland (44%) (HD-33, Rockwall) who lost to Katrina Pierson (56%)
  • Rep. DeWayne Burns (42%) (HD-58, Cleburne) who lost to Helen Kerwin (58%)

Abbott’s campaign funding has shifted the makeup of the Texas House towards a more conservative body. Abbott’s priority is taxpayer-funded vouchers for private school tuition.

Political commentator Harvey Kronberg, of the Austin political website Quorum Report, warned that some of Abbott’s picks for the state house may be too right-wing for their districts. In particular, Kronberg mentioned Marc LaHood, who defeated Steve Allison in the Texas House runoff last night. That district, HD-121 in northern San Antonio, may be too moderate for a staunch conservative like LaHood. Kronberg estimated that four to ten Republican Texas House seats could flip to Democrats due to Abbott’s intervention in primaries against more moderate incumbent Republicans.

Damning the torpedos Kronberg warned about, Governor Abbott’s campaign, flush with millions of dollars from outside-the-state donors such as the Betsy DeVos-funded American Federation for Children Victory Fund, changed the Republican makeup of the November election to set the stage for passing legislation to usher in private school vouchers. Of the 21 Republican state representatives who voted against school vouchers, 14 will not return to the House.

  • 9 anti-voucher incumbents lost
  • 7 anti-voucher incumbents won, including Rep. Drew Darby (HD-72, San Angelo) and Rep. Stan Lambert (HD-71, Abilene)
  • 5 pro-voucher endorsed candidates won where incumbents did not run

Abbott’s efforts sometimes ran in parallel with Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s efforts to unseat Republican representatives who voted for his impeachment, and sometimes they did not. Also entering the fray were Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, and even former President Donald Trump.

The list of House Republicans who were targeted, by whom, and the results (in percent of vote):

  • Rep. Travis Clardy (incumbent defeated 37%) (HD-11, Nacogdoches) - Abbott/Cruz/Patrick endorse Joanne Shofner (63%)
  • Rep. Ernest Bailes (incumbent defeated 39%) (HD-18, Shepherd) - Abbott/Cruz/Patrick endorse Janis Holt (53%)
  • Rep. Hugh Shine (incumbent defeated 40%) (HD-55, Temple) - Abbott/Cruz endorse Hillary Hickland (53%)
  • Rep. Glenn Rogers (incumbent defeated 37%) (HD-60, Graford) - Abbott/Cruz/Patrick endorse Mike Olcott (63%)
  • Rep. Reggie Smith (incumbent defeated 47%) (HD-62, Sherman) - Cruz/Miller endorse Shelley Luther (53%)
  • Rep. Steve Allison (incumbent defeated 40%) (HD-121, San Antonio) - Abbott/Cruz endorse Marc LaHood (54%)
  • Rep. Justin Holland (incumbent defeated 44%) (HD-33, Rockwall) - Abbott/Paxton/Miller endorse Katrina Pierson (56%)
  • Rep. John Kuempel (incumbent defeated 44%) (HD-44, Seguin) - Abbott/Cruz/Patrick endorse Alan Schoolcraft (56%)
  • Rep. DeWayne Burns (incumbent defeated 42%) (HD-58, Cleburne) - Abbott/Cruz/Patrick endorse Helen Kerwin (58%)
  • Rep. Keith Bell (75%) (incumbent win HD-4, Forney) - Paxton endorses Joshua Feuerstein (25%)
  • Rep. Jay Dean (72%) (incumbent win HD-7, Longview) - Miller endorses Joe McDaniel (23%)
  • Rep. Stan Lambert (52%) (incumbent win HD-71, Abilene) - Abbott/Cruz/Patrick endorse Liz Case (48%)
  • Rep. Drew Darby (57%) (incumbent win HD-72, San Angelo) - Abbott/Patrick endorse Stormy Bradley (43%)
  • Rep. Ken King (78%) (incumbent win HD-88, Canadian) - Paxton/Miller endorse Karen Post (22%)
  • Rep. Charlie Geren (60%) (incumbent win HD-99, Fort Worth) - Paxton endorses Jack Reynolds (40%)
  • Rep. Gary VanDeaver (53%) (incumbent win HD-1, New Boston) - Abbott/Miller endorse Chris Spencer (47%)
  • Rep. John Raney (retired) (HD-14, College Station) - Abbott/Patrick endorse Paul Dyson (64%)
  • Rep. Andrew Murr (retired) (HD-53, Junction) - Cruz/Miller endorse Wes Virdell (61%)
  • Rep. Four Price (retired) (HD-87, Amarillo) - Abbott/Cruz/Patrick endorse Caroline Fairly (60%)
  • Rep. Kyle Kacal (retired) (HD-12, College Station) - Abbott endorses Trey Wharton (72%), Patrick/Miller endorse Ben Bius (28%)
  • Rep. Ed Thompson (retired) (HD-29, Pearland) - Abbott endorses Alex Kamkar (42%) but Jeffrey Barry won (58%)

Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan survived. The speaker was Paxton’s most targeted opponent because of the speaker’s leadership in ushering through Paxton’s impeachment for corruption and bribery. He was challenged by David Covey in HD-21 in Beaumont. Business leaders and statewide donors who plowed $3.8 million into Phelan’s campaign pushed Phelan to victory by about 366 votes. Covey spent $1.6 million and had former President Donald Trump’s endorsement. Abbott stayed away from this race.

In the U.S. House congressional race south of here, Rep. Tony Gonzales (R, CD-23) defeated challenger Brandon Herrera by only 407 votes. Herrera came at Gonzales from the right. Gonzales held a press conference this morning.

“This election was fun and exciting because nothing is easy about the 23rd District,” Gonzales said. He mentioned that the district, which stretches from San Antonio through Uvalde, Eagle Pass, Del Rio, the Big Bend, and onwards towards the outskirts of El Paso, is very large and has faced every imaginable crisis one can imagine during Gonzales’ tenure.

“We had the worst school shooting in Texas history in Uvalde and recall when 53 people were found dead in the back of a trailer truck. Also, we’re at the center of the border crisis, from the Haitians underneath the bridge in Del Rio, then the Venezuelans underneath the bridge in El Paso. In fact, El Paso is always in a state of emergency with migrants bum-rushing our ports of entry. We have to be tough and wear thick skin,” Gonzales said.

Gonzales was censured by the Republican Party of Texas in 2023 over his support for same-sex marriage protections at the federal level and for co-sponsoring a bipartisan gun-safety bill in the wake of the Uvalde mass shooting.

Yesterday, fellow Texas Republican Congressman Chip Roy eviscerated Gonzales for not being conservative enough in Congress. Roy represents Congressional District 21 in the Texas Hill Country.

Gonzales countered that he has built a well-oiled political machine designed to, “withstand every imaginable ‘incoming’ you can imagine.” Gonzales, a retired Navy corpsman, was using a military metaphor, meaning ‘incoming’ missile or torpedo.

Gonzales faces Del Rio businessman and Democrat Santos Limon in November. According to press reports, Limon will present a kinder and gentler cross-border ecosystem approach to solving the border crisis. His approach favors buttressing the administrative federal court system over further militarization of the border favored by conservative Republicans like Chip Roy. Gonzales will need to straddle those positions to win in November.

With a nod to Kronberg’s warning about Republicans leaning too far out on their conservative skis to win in November, Gonzales noted today, “My job is to represent everybody. Your voice was heard last night.”

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Abbott told lies about all these people that didn't vote for his pet project. He didn't tell everyone that a lot of that money was going to be given to illegals. Hope he is happy when he is voted out when he comes up for re-re-election.

That's quite a funny statement considering he gets more votes every election. By the way he's already been re-re elected a few times. Save your tears and move to Illinois.

Fact One: Our States public education system ranks between 42nd and 44th in the country. There is little competition.

Fact Two: Florida, with a School Voucher system implemented six or seven years ago ranks 14th for K-12th Grades and first if you include College and Universities.

Fact Three: Abbott would not give illegal aliens a penny for private education. There are democrat sponsored bills that would but none endorsed by Abbott.

Once our small schools in District 72 realize that they will receive an additional $ 4,000.00 per student with their teachers receiving most of it, Drew Darby will be out of a job.

 

 

 

 

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