Primary runoff results: Statewide

Unlike Harris County, most of the races of interest here were on the Republican side. We’ll start with the race against House Speaker Dade Phelan, which the Speaker has won by a narrow margin.

Rep. Dade Phelan

Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan, the top electoral target for a far-right faction of Republicans intent on controlling the Legislature, declared victory Tuesday over a well-funded challenger endorsed by Donald Trump and his allies.

Phelan defeated former Orange County Republican Party chairman David Covey, who also had the backing of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Attorney General Ken Paxton and former Texas Republican Party Chairman Matt Rinaldi. In doing so, he avoided the ignominious fate of becoming the first House speaker to lose a primary in 52 years.

With all precincts reporting, Phelan was up 366 votes — within the margin that Covey can call for a recount.

Phelan, 48, who has seen his popularity plummet among Republicans since he backed the impeachment of Paxton on corruption and bribery charges exactly one year and one day ago, was defiant in his victory speech at JW’s Patio in Beaumont.

“I will be your state rep for HD 21 and I will be your speaker for the Texas House in 2025,” Phelan said to a raucous crowd of more than 100 supporters. “This was a true grassroots effort — not the fake grassroots.”

I’m sure there will be a recount, and the way these jackals are I won’t be surprised if there’s a lawsuit – I mean, at this point, why not? – but for now at least, Phelan has avoided ignominy.

The pro-voucher ghouls made more progress.

Three House Republicans who opposed school vouchers last fall were losing through early returns in their primary runoffs Tuesday, putting Gov. Greg Abbott on track to secure a tentative majority in the lower chamber on his signature issue.

With ballots still being counted across the state, anti-voucher GOP state Reps. DeWayne Burns of Cleburne, Justin Holland of Rockwall and John Kuempel of Seguin were losing to their runoff foes. All three would need to dramatically reverse course in election day returns to overcome their early deficits.

A fourth GOP voucher holdout, state Rep. Gary VanDeaver, R-New Boston, led runoff opponent Chris Spencer through early returns and a fraction of election day results.

By Abbott’s count, voucher supporters headed into Tuesday’s runoff needing to net just two votes to gain a majority in the House, the chamber where a firewall of Democrats and rural Republicans has shot down past attempts to provide taxpayer funds for private school tuition.


Ahead of Tuesday’s runoff, voucher supporters had already knocked off six of the GOP holdouts. They were also poised to nominate at least four pro-voucher candidates to fill seats vacated by retiring voucher opponents, netting a total of 10 seats before the overtime round.

Another seat that was vacant at the time of last fall’s voucher vote is all but certain to be filled by a pro-voucher member next year. That put voucher supporters at 74 votes in the 150-member chamber heading into Tuesday — assuming all pro-voucher Republicans hold onto their seats in the November general election.

Most of Texas’ House districts have been drawn to heavily favor Democrats or Republicans, making most seats unlikely to change hands this fall. But Democrats are eyeing at least one seat Abbott is counting as a voucher pickup: San Antonio’s House District 121, where state Rep. Steve Allison lost to an Abbott-backed primary challenger, Marc LaHood, in March.

You know what I think about that. If we’re not reaching out to the Republicans that Abbott screwed over, and we’re not contesting as many of these seats as is even marginally plausible, I don’t know what we’re doing.

Finally, State Rep. Craig Goldman won in CD12, and Rep. Tony Gonzales appears to have held on in CD23. Now tell us more about that laundry list, Tony.

Not really anything interesting on the Dem side outside of Harris County. I’ll do that in the next post.

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