It’s been a long time coming; at the beginning of October Sen. Tommy Williams (R) announced it was intention to resign from the Texas Senate. Within the month, State Rep. Brandon Creighton quit his campaign for Texas Agriculture Commissioner and decided to pursue the lower office. State Rep. Steve Toth followed soon after. Neither Representative filed for re-election to their House seats.
On Tuesday night, after a ten month journey, the special election concluded. State Rep. Brandon Creighton won over State Rep. Steve Toth in the runoff 67% – 33%.
Both runoff candidates were Republicans, no Democrat filed, but one runoff candidate could best be described as a loose canon. Originally, four candidates filed for the Senate District 4 special election; all four were Republicans. Reps. Creighton and Toth were the only two current office holders and used the advantage of their superior name recognition to advance to runoff. In the initial election, held on May 10, Creighton finished in first place with 45.19% of the vote, while Toth earned 23.71%, narrowly ahead of Gordy Bunch, CEO of The Woodlands Financial Group.
Texans unfamiliar with Creighton and Toth could compare these two with our two Senators: Rep. Creighton, a conservative member of House leadership who understands government serves a purpose, is comparable in style to Sen. John Cornyn, while Rep. Toth’s outlook on governing is comparable to Sen. Ted Cruz.
Steve Toth, who is still serving his first term in the Texas House, is best known for authoring legislation to nullify federal gun laws in Texas; something laughably unconstitutional. Toth was endorsed by the usual suspects of extreme grassroots conservatism: Young Conservatives of Texas, Texas Right to Life, Cathie Adams, and Texans for Fiscal Responsibility. True to his priority of choice, Toth was also backed by the Gun Owners of America Political Victory Fund and Gun Rights Across America. Toth was the kind of politician who valued guns more than the lives of other people and their children.
Creighton is going to be a very conservative Senator in the Texas Senate, similar to Tommy Williams who is replacing, but Creighton at least has an understanding of the role of government.
Senate District 4 is composed of all of Jefferson and Chambers Counties as well as parts of Galveston, Montgomery, and Harris Counties. Steve Toth lost badly in all five counties. Toth came closest in heavily Republican Montgomery County, which both he and Creighton call home. Toth earned a weak 36% of the vote in Montgomery County, a 28 point loss. Turnout was abysmally low as only 22,584 voted in the runoff across all five counties.
Brandon Creighton will face re-election to the Texas Senate in 2016. Once Creighton is sworn into the Texas Senate, his seat in the Texas House will become vacant, triggering another special election. Because Creighton opted not to run for re-election, a slate is already set for House District 16’s general election with candidates ready to serve a full term starting in January: Republican Wil Metcalf, Democrat Michael Hayes, and Libertarian Bob Townsend. A special election would likely coincide with the November general election giving the probable winner two months seniority over other 2014 freshmen, but that is up to Governor Perry’s discretion.
As for Rep. Steve Toth; he will remain in the Texas House until his term expires at the end of the year. Then, the extreme conservative will fade into obscurity.
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