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Nominated: Speaker Joe Straus One of Twenty-Two Republicans to Win Primaries for Texas House

by: Joseph Vogas

Wed Mar 12, 2014 at 11:30 AM CDT

Speaker Straus may be coming back to the Texas House, but so is Jonathan Stickland, and Stickland has more new friends

On primary night, twenty-two Republican primaries for the Texas House concluded with nominees selected for the November general election. Among the nominees are sixteen incumbent Representatives who beat back challengers, three Republicans who will be running for seats currently held by Democrats, and three more Republicans who are running for seats left open by retiring Republican members. Two of those last three nominees are now Representatives-elect as they face no further electoral challengers in the November general election.

Notably, Speaker Joe Straus once again beat back Matt Beebe, a conservative activist supported by conservative special interest groups who believe Straus has not governed as a true conservative. Straus went into the election with nearly a $6 million advantage and beat Beebe in the 2012 primary as well. With all that, it was no surprise when Straus won this year, as well. However, based on the size of Straus' financial advantage, it is interesting that he won with only 61.22%. Then again, if Staus had polling pointing to a win, the margin probably did not matter much to him; elected officials do not get extra powers or days in office based on the size of their win margins.

Take a look after the jump to see who will represent the Republican party in the twenty-one other contests that were decided last week.

House District 6, Rep. Matt Schaefer re-nominated with 61.06%
The contest between Rep. Schaefer and Skip Ogle was near-tied when it came to fundraising, leading to the expectation this would be a close contest. However, Schaefer's conservative credentials were enough to easily dispatch his less extreme challenger. It will take a direct scandal or someone more conservative than Schaefer to cause him to lose re-election to this version of District 6.

House District 8, Rep. Byron Cook re-nominated with 58.62%
Rep. Cook overcame challenges from Bobby Vickery and Charles Morgan to secure his re-nomination to District 8. Vickery was the primary opponent with the most financial support, as well as endorsements from movement conservative groups such as Young Conservatives of Texas and Empower Texans. Rumors were brewing on Twitter that Rep. Cook was nervous going into Election Day, but that worry proved to be unfounded when the votes were counted.

House District 11, Rep. Travis Clardy re-elected with 83.99%
Rep. Clardy handily beat his challenger, Tony Sevilla by an overwhelming margin. Clardy faces no further electoral challengers and was, by default, re-elected on March 4.

House District 12, Rep. Kyle Kacal re-elected with 76.29%
Freshman Rep. Kyle Kacal was expected to face a tough challenge from Timothy Delasandro. Delasandro, who was one of the many more-conservative candidates who ran in the 2012 Republican primary, turned out to be a real dud in 2014 despite receiving many movement conservative endorsements. Kacal faces no further electoral challengers and was, by default, re-elected on March 4.

House District 15, Mark Keough wins first nomination and election with 57.38%
Pastor Mark Keough will keep Rep. Toth's seat firmly in the far-right column. Keough had all the movement conservative endorsements while his challenger, Bruce Tough, only had local community support. Keough faces no further electoral challengers and was, by default, elected to his first term in the Texas House on March 4.

House District 18, Rep. John Otto re-elected with 61.83%
Rep. Otto beat pastor Terry Holcomb by a decent margin. Holcomb had support from local TEA Parties, but the statewide movement conservative groups did not come to his aid like they for others. Otto faces no further electoral challengers and was, by default, re-elected on March 4.

House District 21, Dade Phelan nominated with 59.90%
Dade Phelan, a real estate developer, was the preferred candidate of retiring State Rep. Allan Ritter. Phelan had the endorsements of most local community groups and several statewide social conservative organizations. His opponent, Judy Nichols, lacked prominent endorsements and had poor fundraising, which makes her 40.09% all the more surprising. Phelan will face a Democrat and a Green in November.

House District 23, Wayne Faircloth nominated with 66.10%
Wayne Faircloth, the 2012 Republican nominee and general election loser, won the Republican nomination over fellow insurance agent Bob Senter by a wider than expected margin. Senter appeared to be spending his money more wisely and was taking positions more likely to be palatable in this swing district. Incumbent Democrat Craig Eiland is retiring, and while this seat supported both John McCain and Mitt Romney, Rep. Eiland has been able to hold the seat for the Democrats despite being strongly challenged in the last two elections. Faircloth will face former Galveston County District Court Judge Susan Criss in the general election.

House District 59, Rep. J.D. Sheffield re-elected with 60.92%
In a surprise, Rep. J.D. Sheffield beat both of his primary challengers with plenty of room to spare between him and the 50.0% cutoff. Sheffield supported some amendments to moderate the special session's HB 2 and was viewed as a target by many conservative activists. Erath Republican County Chairman Danny Pelton finished in second place with 31.13%. Sheffield faces no further electoral challengers and was, by default, re-elected on March 4.

House District 60, Rep. Jim Keffer re-elected with 56.29%
Jim Keffer was one of Michael Quinn Sullivan's top targets for defeat this primary election cycle. While Sullivan had many successes, this was the one that got away. Keffer had a comfortable 56.29% re-nomination, but only after spending several hundreds of thousands of dollars. Keffer faces no further electoral challengers and was, by default, re-elected on March 4.

House District 64, Rep. Myra Crownover re-nominated with 54.86%
Crownover's re-nomination was closer than it should have been. Her narrow victory over TEA Party favorite Read King was unexpected even though King had the statewide movement conservative endorsements. Crownover was one of the last incumbents to file for re-election and may consider retirement in the near future. She will face a Democrat and a Green in the general election.

House District 71, Rep. Susan King re-elected with 67.29%
Like Rep. J.D. Sheffield, Susan King supported some amendments to moderate HB2 and was viewed as vulnerable to a conservative challenger. However, her wide margin of victory over Isaac Castro shows she put in the necessary work to earn another term. Susan King faces no further electoral challengers and was, by default, re-elected on March 4.

House District 72, Rep. Drew Darby re-elected with 79.46%
Rep. Darby easily beat his TEA Party challenger, the severely under-funded Shannon Thomason. Thomason was so unorganized, her Facebook page was her only online presence. Darby faces no further electoral challengers and was, by default, re-elected on March 4.

House District 81, Brooks Landgraf wins first nomination and election with 58.54%
To replace the retiring Tryon Lewis, Brooks Landgraf beat Austin Keith. Landgraf was the choice of conservative interest groups while Keith was a favorite of local business interests. Landgraf's election is a clear move to the right for this rural, west Texas district. Keough faces no further electoral challengers and was, by default, elected to his first term in the Texas House on March 4.

House District 83, Rep. Charles Perry re-elected with 73.03%
Rep. Charles Perry handily pushed back his challenge from Steve Massengale. Incumbent Perry was favored by movement conservative organizations while Massengale had some local community support. Perry faces no further electoral challengers and was, by default, re-elected on March 4.

House District 92, Rep. Jonathan Stickland re-nominated with 64.98%
Stickland, one of the most controversial members of the legislature, won a comfortable re-nomination over Andy Cargille, a former superintendent. Stickland was leading the charge to bring back more conservative legislators to the chamber with him in 2015. He will face a Democrat in November.

House District 112, Rep. Angie Chen Button re-nominated with 54.01%
Jared Patterson put up a strong challenge to Rep. Button but came up short of ousting the incumbent. Patterson had the support of many statewide conservative groups, but it was not quite enough to shift this north Dallas district to the extreme right. Rep. Button will face a Libertarian in November.

House District 117, Rick Galindo III nominated with 64.59%
Rick Galindo is a first-time candidate for the Texas House, making it surprising that he beat former one-term Texas Representative John Garza by a large margin. Neither candidate had notable endorsements, although Galindo does speak openly of Garza's ethical lapses on his own website. Galindo will face incumbent Democrat Philip Cortez in November in this swing district.

House District 134, Rep. Sarah Davis re-nominated with 70.95%
Sarah Davis was the only Republican to stand up against the special session's HB 2, and doing so earned her a conservative primary endorsement. However, Bonnie Parker who was running mostly on her objection to Rep. Davis' stance on abortion, failed to make her case as to why she was the more acceptable candidate in this socially moderate district. Rep. Davis will face a Democrat in November.

House District 149, Al Hoang nominated with 56.54%
Former Houston City Councilman Al Hoang, who lost his own re-election in November 2013, prevailed by a respectable margin over Nghi Ho, a financial planner. Hoang will go on to face incumbent Democrat Hubert Vo in November in this once competitive district.

House District 150, Rep. Debbie Riddle re-nominated with 74.92%
Well, we can dream. Rep. Riddle, despite the strong financial challenge from Tony Noun, prevailed by an overwhelming margin. Rep. Riddle will now go on to face a Democrat in the November general election.

See a complete list of who is running for Texas House in our Burnt Orange Report Texas House Candidate Tracker.

You can follow me on Twitter at @trowaman.

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Do not republish without express written permission.

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