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Three Hispanic Republicans lose Texas House seats

Half of the Hispanic Republicans in the Texas Legislature were ousted Tuesday — two from San Antonio districts and one from Pasadena.

(L.-R.) State Reps. Gilbert Peña, R-Pasadena, John Lujan, R-San Antonio and Rick Galindo, R-San Antonio.

Editors note: This story has been updated.

Half of the Hispanic Republicans in the Texas Legislature are headed home.

With the presidential race likely affecting the outcome of their races, incumbent Republicans John LujanGilbert Peña and Rick Galindo all lost their seats in rematches for Texas House seats. All three incumbents were considered endangered as they fought off Democratic challengers for seats they wrested away in recent elections.

In House District 118, Democrat Tomas Uresti defeated Lujan by more than 10 points in a rematch for the San Antonio-based seat. Uresti lost a January special election to Lujan to finish the term of Democrat Joe Farias.

Democrats had chalked up Lujan’s win in a longtime Democratic seat to a low-turnout fluke, insisting the general election would prove the district, which has a predominantly Hispanic population, is in fact blue territory. Lujan won 52 percent of the vote in a special election that saw just 3,589 voters cast ballots.

Though they bragged about flipping the seat, Bexar County Republicans had acknowledged Lujan’s re-election would be a tight race, particularly in an election that may see an increase in straight-ticket Democratic voting.

In Pasadena, Democrat Mary Ann Perez beat Peña, the incumbent, in a landslide, taking 60 percent of the vote to his 40 percent.

Perez lost the HD 144 seat to Peña in 2014 by 152 votes. She was first elected in 2012 to represent the district that’s made up in part by Pasadena and a sliver of east Houston.

In San Antonio’s HD 117, Democrat Philip Cortez, who was ousted in 2014, defeated Galindo, the incumbent, with 51 percent of the vote while Galindo took 49 percent. 

Galindo had won the seat, which runs down the western outskirts of San Antonio and includes a southwestern sliver of the city, as part of a Republican wave in the last midterm election.

In the three districts in play, which have large Hispanic populations, the Democrats had in part tying their fates to the presidential election, hoping increased turnout, increased straight-ticket voting and an aversion to Republican candidate Donald Trump would help their chances.


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