Veteran Lawmakers Dominate in Texas Senate Races

Veteran Texas legislators were the biggest winners in four high-profile races for Texas Senate seats.

Editor's note: This story has been updated throughout.

Veteran Texas legislators were the biggest winners in four high-profile races for Texas Senate seats.

In Republican races, state Rep. Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola, finished first in a field of four with 48 percent of the vote. That was ahead of fellow state Rep. David Simpson of Longview, who eked out a second-place finish with 21 percent of the vote — just 13 votes ahead of the third-place finisher, James "Red" Brown. Simpson and Hughes will face off in a May runoff.

The two candidates are vying to replace outgoing state Sen. Kevin Eltife, R-Tyler, who chose not to seek re-election. Though Hughes maintained a commanding lead throughout the evening, he couldn’t muster enough votes to avoid a runoff.

And in the Republican primary to replace outgoing state Sen. Troy Fraser of Horseshoe Bay, results posted early Wednesday showed Republican state Rep. Susan King of Abilene with a lead over her five opponents. King had 29 percent of the vote with 421 of 473 precincts reporting.

She was trailed by Travis County eye surgeon Dawn Buckingham, who had 24 percent. The two will face off in a May runoff for the Senate seat, which represents a rural-suburban hybrid district that spans roughly 20,000 square miles, from the northwest suburbs of Austin up to Abilene.

On the Democratic side, state Sen. Carlos Uresti handily defeated challenger Helen Madla, and state Sen. José Menéndez of San Antonio bested state Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer of San Antonio.

Madla, the widow of the former senator Uresti unseated in 2006, received just 25 percent of the vote to Uresti's 75 percent.

In the rematch for Senate District 26, Menéndez claimed his second victory, this time with roughly 59 percent of the vote to Martinez Fischer's 41 percent. It was one of the most expensive races of the primary cycle, with millions of dollars pouring into both campaigns. In order to challenge Menéndez, Martinez Fischer gave up a chance at re-election in House District 116, which he has represented since 2000. San Antonio voters will soon return to the polls to fill that seat.