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Texas 2020 Elections

Three Texas House members are heading for runoffs

GOP state Reps. Dan Flynn and J.D. Sheffield will go into overtime rounds, as will state Rep. Harold Dutton, a Houston Democrat.

House floor on April 11, 2019.

A trio of Texas House incumbents are headed to a runoff to defend their seats after Tuesday night's election results, while a number of other members avoided such overtime rounds.

State Rep. Dan Flynn, R-Canton, failed to get 50% of the vote, though he finished first in his three-way primary with all polling locations in House District 2 reporting. Flynn, who is seeking a 10th term, received 45% of the vote, while businessman Bryan Slaton, who has run for the seat twice before, got 35%. The winner of the runoff will face Democrat Bill Brannon on the November ballot, though the HD-2 seat is considered a safe Republican one.

In another historically Republican seat, House District 59, state Rep. J.D. Sheffield, R-Gatesville, is headed to a runoff with lawyer Shelby Slawson. Sheffield placed second in the three-way primary. Whoever wins the runoff will effectively represent the seat when the Texas Legislature reconvenes in 2021.

And in the Houston-area House District 142, state Rep. Harold Dutton, a Houston Democrat who has served in the lower chamber since 1985, is continuing to a runoff with Houston City Council member Jerry Davis. Dutton received roughly 45% of the vote to Davis' about 25%.

In another closely-watched race, state Rep. Alex Dominguez, D-Brownsville, outperformed his challenger with roughly 51% of the vote.

Other House incumbents, of course, also faced legitimate primary challenges in what's been an otherwise low-drama primary season. And in two of the more high-profile contests, Republican members Jared Patterson of Frisco and Briscoe Cain of Deer Park won their races handily Tuesday night. Both will face Democrats in November, though the two House seats — one in North Texas and the other in Harris County — are considered historically Republican.

Meanwhile, in competitive races to replace retiring House members, the field began to narrow as Republicans and Democrats appeared either to be entering their respective runoffs to compete for the seat or on track to win their party nominations outright.

In the race for the seat held by retiring state Rep. Dwayne Bohac, R-Houston, which is a top target for Democrats in their quest to flip the lower chamber, Republican Lacey Hull won the three-way primary for the party nomination. Gov. Greg Abbott endorsed Hull. On the Democratic side, Akilah Bacy and Jenifer Rene Pool will head to a runoff.

In the nearby House District 26 race, Democrats Suleman Lalani and L. Sarah DeMerchant will continue to a runoff, as will Republicans Matt Morgan and Jacey Jetton, for the seat being vacated by retiring state Rep. Rick Miller, R-Sugar Land, who narrowly won reelection in 2018.

And in the race to replace retiring state Rep. Jonathan Stickland, Republican Jeff Cason and Democrat Jeff Whitfield won their party nominations and will be on the ballot in November. Cason was endorsed by Stickland, who won with less than 50% of the vote in 2018, and edged out two other Republicans for the nomination. Whitfield defeated Steve Riddell, the Democrat who came close to unseating Stickland last cycle.

Parties also settled on candidates — or a pair of them to send into a runoff — to take on House members that are on their target lists for November.

In Dallas, Democrat Joanna Cattanach won a three-way primary to take on state Rep. Morgan Meyer, who narrowly beat Cattanach in 2018 and is a top target this year. In the Houston area, former state Rep. Mike Schofield, R-Katy, defeated the other Republican in the primary, Abbott-backed Angelica Garcia, for an opportunity to reclaim his old seat, which is held by state Rep. Gina Calanni, D-Katy. That seat is at the top of lists for both Republicans and Democrats.

Meanwhile, in the Austin area, Republicans Carrie Isaac, wife to GOP former state Rep. Jason Isaac, and Kent "Bud" Wymore, a former chair of the Hays County Republican Party, will head to a runoff. Whoever comes out on top will compete in November against state Rep. Erin Zwiener, a Driftwood Democrat who fended off her own primary challenge Tuesday. Zwiener also flipped her seat in 2018, making her another target for the GOP this year.

Candidates also advanced in a number of other open-seat races that are considered safe for a particular party.

In the largely rural House District 60, a solid GOP seat, Republicans Glenn Rogers and Jon Francis advanced to a May runoff in the race to replace retiring state Rep. Mike Lang, R-Granbury. The two display the usual GOP battle lines in Texas. Francis, a member of the West Texas billionaire Wilks family, is running as a hardline conservative, while Rogers has billed himself as the more centrist candidate.

In House District 25, another safe GOP seat, Republicans Ro'Vin Garrett and Cody Thane Vasut appeared on track to head to a runoff in the race to fill the seat being vacated by House Speaker Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, who is retiring after serving for more than 20 years in the lower chamber. Whoever wins that contest will face Democrat Patrick Henry in November.

On the Democratic side, Claudia Ordaz Perez defeated Elisa Tamayo in the race for retiring state Rep. César Blanco's El Paso seat. Tamayo had endorsements from the El Paso legislative delegation after Blanco announced he would instead run for a seat in the Texas Senate.

And in House District 74, a typically Democratic seat that could be competitive in November, Democrat Eddie Morales will compete against Republican Ruben Falcon for the seat being vacated by retiring state Rep. Poncho Nevárez, D-Eagle Pass.

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