Multiple Texas GOP Races Headed To Run-Off

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With so many primary races with 3+ Republicans on the ballot, it's no surprise that there are a plethora of run-offs in races big and small across Texas. Here's what we've got from the Secretary of State. If you know of any local run-offs on the county level, please post in the comments.

Here are the Republican races headed to a runoff, with only two top vote-getters and their March 2nd vote percentage listed. These are just the judicial, SBOE, and Congressional races. I'll have the State House races later this week as there are a LOT of them, many with implications for Democratic control of the lower chamber.

Republican Primary, Supreme Court Place 3
Open Seat
Rick Green 18.93%
Debra Lehrmann 18.2%
The top four vote-getters in this six-way race all received 18% and change. None of the experienced appellate judges made the run-off. Somehow former State Rep. Rick Green managed to prevail and is headed to a run-off with Fort Worth District Judge Debra Lehrmann. Much more on this later.

Republican Primary, SBOE 10
Winner to face Judy Jennings
Marsha Farney 35.51%
Brian Russell 35.31%
The three-way race saw moderate Round Rock public school teacher fall behind right-wing zealots Farney and Russell. Russell is the hand-picked successor to Cynthia Dunbar, but Farney is apparently just as conservative. They're currently separated by 203 votes.

Republican Congressional Primary Run-Offs

Republican Primary, TX-17
Winner to challenge Rep. Chet Edwards
Bill Flores 33%
Rob Curnock 29%
Guaranteed to be a close race. Flores is the NRCC's chosen candidate; Curnock is the self-funded guy who lost last time.
Republican Primary, TX-20
Winner to challenge Rep. Charlie Gonzalez
Clayton Trotter 32%
Jamie Martinez 29%

Republican Primary, TX-15
Winner to challenge Rep. Ruben Hinojosa
Paul Haring 45%
Eddie Zamora 29%
Hinojosa won handily in 2008 and has beaten both Haring and Zamora previously.
Republican Primary, TX-23
Winner to challenge Rep. Ciro Rodriguez
Francisco “Quisco” Canseco 32%
Will Hurd 33%
Republican Primary, TX-30
Winner to challenge Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson
Stephen Broden 49.5%
Sheldon Goldstein 38%
Republican Primary, TX-27
Winner to challenge Rep. Solomon Ortiz
James Duerr 32%
R. Blake Farenthold 30%

A few thoughts on run-offs and races that settled themselves on Tuesday:

  • Anything that forces Republicans to raise money and spend on attacking each other is good news for Democrats in the fall. Especially if they alienate moderates in so doing.
  • Remember all of those Tea Party primary challengers to sitting Republican Congressmen? Not a one of them even forced a run-off. Not even Jerry Ray (Tea) Hall, trying to take on Ralph Hall. He got only 4%.
  • The Republican challengers to most of our Rio Grande Valley Democratic Congressional delegation could be a boon to statewide turnout, if our candidates decide to contest their races. Add on vigorous campaigning from Linda Chavez-Thompson and Hector Uribe and we have a chance to see better-than-usual Valley turnout.
  • It is fascinating to see so many Republicans line up to take on truly safe Democratic representatives. While we can't take anything for granted, some of these challenges are the longest of long shots. What these primaries suggest, instead, is a genuine battle amongst Republican factions for ideological control of their party.

Without a gubernatorial run-off, it's tough to gauge how turn-out will be in areas that don't have anything else on the ballot. There's one major caveat to that, however: run-offs in county races. There are plenty of these to go around, where the voters are motivated to cast a ballot for a personal friend or acquaintance. For instance, Burnet County–which saw nearly 6000 votes cast in the Republican primary–has a run-off for District Clerk, a race in which two challengers both bested the incumbent but neither cleared 50%.

We'll keep an eye on these run-offs, as they will have significant implications for the Democrats who will face whoever wins on April 13th. And if these races are local to you, feel free to email me with what's going on on the ground–email's in the lower-right corner. We're always happy to hear from folks who are watching these races play out.


About Author

Katherine Haenschen

Katherine Haenschen is a PhD candidate at the University of Texas, where she studies political participation on digital media. She previously managed successful candidate, issue, voter registration, and GOTV campaigns in Central Texas. She is also a fan of UCONN women's basketball and breakfast tacos.


  1. Tea party failure
    Michael McCaul (R-Clear Channel) faced two primary challengers. One was tea party conservative Joe Petronis. The other, Rick Martin, died a month before the primary. Petronis came in 3rd.  

  2. You guys should be happy with the GOP result in CDTX-27
    James Duerr was accurately described by the local newspaper as the “most moderate” candidate in the race, and Blake Farenthold is a radio program host (and political novice) who has been endorsed by the local left-leaning paper through an editorial in which Farenthold admitted to being a former supporter of Solomon Ortiz.

    There were two conservatives in the race, but they split the conservative vote and so finished 3rd and 4th.

  3. Also HD 47
    Holly 'Ft Worth resident married to a lobbyist' Hunter and Paul 'the developer's choice' Workman square off to see who will challenge Valinda '2007 Freshman of the Year' Bolton for the SW Austin district.

  4. Also note…
    On RGV turnout, Cameron County actually has a local race that will be contested in November… the county currently has a Republican County Judge (don't ask me how), so that race could affect turnout unlike the normal year when all of the races are uncontested in November.

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