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Perry Wins Special Election for Senate Seat

State Rep. Charles Perry, R-Lubbock, has won Tuesday's special election for Senate District 28, avoiding a runoff in the six-candidate race. He will take the seat vacated by Robert Duncan, who is now the chancellor of the Texas Tech University System.

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Updated, 10:34 p.m.:

Tallying 53 percent of the vote, state Rep. Charles Perry, R-Lubbock, won Tuesday's special election for Senate District 28, avoiding a runoff in the six-candidate race. He will take the seat vacated by Robert Duncan, who left to become the chancellor of the Texas Tech University System.

Perry held a commanding lead from the offset Tuesday. His chief contender, former Texas Tech Vice Chancellor Jodey Arrington, finished with 30 percent.  

"I look forward to providing common-sense, conservative leadership to the entire district — communities large and small," Perry said in a statement Tuesday night. 

Jordan Berry, a political consultant to Perry, attributed the victory to Perry's consistent, concise and conservative message.

"Charles had a record for us to run on," Berry said. "It was a message of taking West Texas values and conservative values to Austin."

In a statement, Arrington congratulated Perry on his win. 

"While the campaign is over, my commitment to fighting for a brighter and more prosperous future for West Texas will never end," Arrington said. "Tonight we can hold our heads high knowing that we gave it our all.”

Greg Wortham, the only Democrat running in the special election, took in about 13 percent of the votes. The three other candidates finished at around 1 percent.

Nearly two-thirds of votes cast in the election were made during early voting. Slightly more than half of the votes cast came from Lubbock County. Perry won 54.6 percent of the vote in his home county. Of the district's 51 counties, Perry broke 50 percent in 42 of them. 

Original story:

Voters across a large stretch of West Texas could select the newest member of the Texas Senate on Tuesday.

Six candidates — four Republicans, a Democrat and a Libertarian — are competing in a special election to fill the Senate District 28 seat left vacant when Lubbock Republican Robert Duncan resigned to take over as chancellor at Texas Tech University. If none of the six candidates receives a majority on Tuesday, the top two vote-getters will proceed to a runoff election.

Much of the attention in the race has fallen on two Republicans. State Rep. Charles Perry has represented Lubbock and several nearby counties on the South Plains since 2011. He's parlayed both his status as an incumbent and as a Tea Party favorite to raise more than $326,000 last month.

Jodey Arrington is a former George W. Bush staffer, both from Bush's days as governor and as president. Arrington has also served as a vice chancellor at Texas Tech. He has also proven to be a robust fundraiser, collecting more than $266,000 last month.

A third Republican in the race, Delwin Jones, does not lack for name recognition. He was first elected to the Texas House as a Democrat 50 years ago. A second tenure in the House as a Republican lasted 22 years and was ended by Perry in the 2010 GOP primary.

Jones' time on the campaign trail was cut short by illness but even before that, he had not raised any money to support his campaign, though he lent his campaign $70,000 in late July. A former mayor of Sweetwater, Greg Wortham, raised more than $33,000, but his biggest obstacle is running as a Democrat in a solidly red Senate district that sprawls over all or part of 51 West Texas counties.

Arrington has gone after Perry for voting against the constitutional amendment approved by voters in November that will use part of the revenue that goes to the state's Rainy Day Fund to create a revolving funding source for the development of new sources of water. West Texas has borne much of the brunt of the ongoing drought but it remains to be seen whether the attack will gain enough traction in a portion of the state that strongly supports Tea Party-styled fiscal conservatism.

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Politics State government 2014 elections Rainy Day Fund Texas Legislature Texas Senate