Election observations

Overall turnout was about 4.2 million; 2.8 million of those were on the Republican side—a number Republican Party of Texas Chairman Tom Mechler called “unprecedented” and “historical”.

Nearly 1.4 million Texas Democrats cast ballots, which is more than 2012, but far fewer than 2008 (Clinton/Obama).

With 1,269,076 votes, Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman became the single highest vote-getter in a Republican primary in state history. Michael Massengale, who lost to Debra Lehrmann, also made some history. He became the first Republican primary candidate to receive 1 million votes in a losing campaign.

Three Texas REALTORS® (Hubert Vo, D-Houston; Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth; and Cindy Burkett, R-Sunnyvale) won their contests. Another Texas REALTOR® (Justin Holland, R-Heath) and an affiliate member (Doug Miller, R-New Braunfels) are heading to runoffs.


The REALTOR® Party wins big … by the numbers

The Texas REALTORS® saw huge wins up and down the ballot, both in magnitude of the races, and in the number of wins.

In all, NAR, TAR and TREPAC took positions in 79 races, winning outright in 70, for an outright win percentage of 88%. Additionally, the association won outright 21 of our 27 of its federal and state opportunity races (77%), with two losses and four races going into a runoff.

Combining state and federal, 91% of the REALTOR® Party candidates either won or are headed to a runoff in May (72 out of 79).

Let’s dig in …

(* = TREPAC-supported candidates)

Supreme Court of Texas – All three TAR-endorsed incumbent justices won the Republican primary. 

  • Justice Debra Lehrmann* (52.2%) defeated Mike Massengale (47.8%)
  • Justice Paul Green* (52.1%) defeated Rick Green (47.9%)
  • Justice Eva Guzman* (59.2%) defeated Joe Pool (40.8%)

U.S. House – With the exception of Dolly Elizondo*, a South Texas REALTOR® seeking the Democratic nomination for CD 15, all NAR-endorsed candidates won.

NAR conducted eight opportunity races (all for incumbents):

  • CD 3 – Republican Sam Johnson*, a member of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, earned 74.6% of the vote in a four-person field
  • CD 6 – Republican Joe Barton* fended off two challengers, earning nearly 69% of the vote. Barton is a key member of the Energy and Commerce Committee
  • CD 7 – Republican John Culberson*, who serves on the Appropriations Committee, earned 57.3% in a three-person field.
  • CD 8 – Republican Kevin Brady*, Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee got 53.4% of the vote to avoid a runoff with former state Rep. Steve Toth.
  • CD 21 – Republican Lamar Smith*, Chairman of the Science and Technology Committee, won 60.1% of the vote, doubling up his next closest challenger.
  • CD 29 – Democrat Gene Green*, a member of Energy and Commerce, got 57.4% of the vote against former Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia
  • CD 32 – Republican Pete Sessions*, Chairman of the Rules Committee, earned 61.4% of the vote in a four-person field
  • CD 33 – Democrat Marc Veasey*, a former REALTOR®, defeated his opposition, winning 63.4% approval.


Texas House and Senate –

In the Texas House, TREPAC offered support in 52 races and ended with 42 wins, six losses, and four runoffs.

In the Texas Senate, TREPAC supported four candidates, finishing with three wins and one runoff.

No time for resting … on to the runoff

Runoffs for these primaries are on May 24 (early voting begins May 16) … here are the races where no candidate earned more than 50% of the vote.

  • Railroad Commissioner (Republican): Gary Gates (28.4%) vs. Wayne Christian (19.8%)
  • Railroad Commissioner (Democratic): Grady Yarbrough (39.9%) vs. Cody Garrett (35.1%)
  • CD 15 (Democratic): Vicente Gonzalez (42.2%) vs. Juan “Sonny” Palacios (18.89%)  (open)
  • CD 15 (Republican): Tim Westley (45.3%) vs. Ruben O. Villarreal (31.5%)  (open)
  • CD 18 (Republican): Lori Bartley (33.7%) vs. Reggie Gonzalez (33.1%)
  • CD 19: (Republican): Glen Robertson (27.4) vs. Jodey Arrington (26.44%) (open)
  • SD 1 (Republican): Bryan Hughes* (48%) vs. David Simpson (21.3%) (open)
  • SD 24 (Republican): Susan King (27.2%) vs. Dr. Dawn Buckingham (24.8%) (open)
  • HD 5 (Republican): Cole Hefner (46%) vs. Jay Misenheimer (27.1%)  (open)
  • HD 18 (Republican): Keith Strahan (28.1%) vs. Earnest Bailes (25.8%) (open)
  • HD 27 (Democratic): Ron Reynolds* (48.5%) vs. Angelique Bartholomew (24.1%)
  • HD 33 (Republican): John Keating (37.6%) vs. Justin Holland, REALTOR®* (32.9%) (open)
  • HD 54 (Republican): Scott Cosper (41.7%) vs. Austin Ruiz (36.9%) (open)
  • HD 64 (Republican): Lynn Stucky (42.3%) vs. Read King (30%) (open)
  • HD 73 (Republican): Rep. Doug Miller* (43.5%) vs. Kyle Biederman (39.8%)
  • HD 120 (Democratic): Barbara Gervin-Hawkins (26.3%) vs. Mario Salas (23.2%) (open)
  • HD 128 (Republican): Rep. Wayne Smith* (43.6) vs. Briscoe Cain (48%)
  • HD 139: (Democratic): Kimberly Willis (31.9%) vs.Jarvis Johnson (28.7%)  (open)

Helping REALTOR® Champions

On to the opportunity races, which are association-run campaigns in support of certain candidates:

  • SD 1 (Tyler, Longview, Paris, Texarkana) – File this one under “Every Vote Counts.” After earning 48% of the vote, outgoing state Rep. Bryan Hughes* is headed to a runoff—but with whom? Out of more than 133,000 votes cast, just 13 votes separated second and third place. According to local intel, there are some military and provisional ballots outstanding. This may be significant because those votes could come in for current third-place finisher General James “Red” Brown. Stay tuned …
  • SD 26 (San Antonio) – In a rematch of last year’s special election, Sen. José Menéndez* (59.2%) defended his seat against Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer (40.8%). Sen. Menéndez is unopposed by a Republican in November.
  • HD 2 (Canton, Sulphur Springs, Greenville) – Rep. Dan Flynn* survived a scare from Bryan Slaton, winning by 369 votes (out of 29,253 votes cast). Rep. Flynn does not have a Democrat in November.
  • HD 12 (College Station, Brazos County)  – Rep. Kyle Kacal* earned 70% of the vote to fend off two challengers. There is no democratic opposition in November.
  • HD 14 (Bryan, College Station) – Rep. John Raney* had a strong showing, with about 69% of the vote, despite a strong grassroots effort from upstart Jess Fields, a former Texas Public Policy Foundation employee and College Station city council member.
  • HD 17 (Bastrop) – In another rematch of a special election from last year, Rep. John Cyrier* again defeated Bastrop attorney Brent Golemon. This time, the race was not as close. After a very effective first session, Rep. Cyrier was able to earn 65% of the vote (up from 52% about a year ago) and does not have a Democrat this fall.
  • HD 33 (Rockwall, Heath, Frisco) – Justin Holland*, a REALTOR® and city council member from Heath, made it to the runoff with 32.9% of the vote. He’ll face Frisco city council member John Keating, who earned 37.6%. The winner will face Democrat Karen Jacobs in November.
  • HD 47 (Austin) – Rep. Paul Workman* (60.6%) defended his seat against Jay Wiley (39.4%). Rep. Workman will face Democrat Ana Jordan in the general election.
  • HD 58 (Burleson, Cleburne, Meridian) – Rep. DeWayne Burns*, defeated Phillip Eby for the second primary in a row. The 6.82 margin of victory is almost identical to the 2014 primary runoff (7.2), but with nearly three times the voters as 2014. There is no democrat on the ballot in November.
  • HD 60 (Granbury, Brownwood, Mineral Wells) – In the race to replace outgoing Natural Resources Chairman Jim Keffer, banker Kevin Downing* lost to Hood County Constable Mike Lang by about 7.5 points. Lang will not face Democratic opposition in November.
  • HD 73 (New Braunfels, Fredericksburg, Boerne) – Rep. Doug Miller* (43.8%) heads to a runoff against Fredericksburg business owner Kyle Biederman (39.8%). This House race generated the most turnout of any House race, with about 43,000 votes cast. The winner will not have Democratic opposition in November.
  • HD 81 (Odessa) –.Rep. Brooks Landgraf* defeated Odessa businessman Joshua Crawford with 68.6% of the total vote. There is not Democrat on the ballot for the November election.
  • HD 89 (Collin County) – Rep. Jodie Laubenberg* had a strong showing, defeating challenger Dalton Lytle by a final count of 70.7% to 29.3%. Rep. Laubenberg faces Democrat Denise Hamilton this fall.
  • HD 99 (Fort Worth) – Texas REALTOR® and powerful House Rules Chairman Charlie Geren* held off a well-publicized challenge from Bo French, ultimately winning by 16.4 points (58.2% – 41.8%). Geren does not have a Democratic challenger in November.
  • HD 113 (Rowlett, Sunnyvale) – Texas REALTOR® Cindy Burkett* got a big Election Day boost, ultimately winning her race with 56% of the vote. She faces Democrat Rhetta Andrews Bowers this fall.
  • HD 114 (Dallas) – Rep. Jason Villalba* held off Dan Morenoff by earning over 55% of the vote. Villabla faces Jim Burke in November.
  • HD 115 (Coppell, Carrolton, Farmer’s Branch, Irving) – In a rubber match, former state Rep. Bennett Ratliff* (46.6%) lost to Rep. Matt Rinaldi (53.4%). Ratliff faces Democrat Dorotha M. Ocker in the general election.
  • HD 121 (San Antonio) – As expected, REALTOR® Champion Joe Straus* will be the Republican nominee to represent HD 121. Speaker Straus fought off well-funded, extremely motivated opposition by earning over 60% of the vote. He does not face Democratic opposition in November.
  • HD 128 (Baytown, Pasadena, Deer Park) – Rep. Wayne Smith*, chairman of the Committee on Licensing and Administrative Procedure, is headed to a runoff against attorney Briscoe Cain. Chairman Smith earned 43.6% of the vote, to Cain’s 48%. The winner of that race will likely be unopposed in November.

Eight new faces

The replacement of outgoing 17 outgoing state lawmakers is coming into focus. Nine races are still headed to runoffs (seven in the House, two in the Senate), but the following eight candidates have earned their party’s nomination, and all but ensured they will be the next representative of their district.

  • HD 7 – Jay Dean* (R-Longview) got about 58% to claim the Republican nomination for the seat vacated by David Simpson, who is running for SD 1. There is no Democrat running in November.
  • HD 49 – Gina Hinojosa (D-Austin) earned 57% (impressively) avoiding a runoff in a seven-person to replace outgoing Rep. Elliot Naishtat’s seat. Hinojosa is the daughter of Gilbert Hinojosa, the chairman of the Texas Democratic Party. There is no Republican running in November.
  • HD 60 – Mike Lang (R-Granbury) defeated Kevin Downing* with 53.8% to claim Chairman Jim Keffer’s open seat. There is no Democrat running in November.
  • HD 71 – Stan Lambert (R-Abilene) bested four other challengers with 51% of the vote to win the Republican nomination to replace Susan King, who is running for SD 24. Lambert faces Democrat Pierre LoPachin in November
  • HD 77 – Lina Ortega (D-El Paso) earned almost 70% of the vote over Adolfo Lopez in the race for Marissa Marquez’s seat. There is no Republican running in November.
  • HD 116 – Diana Arevalo (D-San Antonio) got 53% of the vote, avoiding a runoff to become the Democratic nominee to replace Trey Martinez Fischer (who ran an unsuccessful bid for SD 26). There is no Republican running in November.
  • HD 126 – Kevin Roberts* (R-Houston), who was unopposed, is the Republican nominee to replace outgoing Rep. Patricia Harless. He will face Democrat Joy Dawson-Thomas in the November election.
  • HD 130 – Tom Oliverson* (R-Cypress) soundly defeated Kay Smith, earning over 70% of the vote. There is no Democrat running in November.

Thank you for your service

These incumbent lawmakers lost their primaries and are not coming back for the 84th Texas Legislature:

  • HD 4 – Rep. Stuart Spitzer, R-Kaufman (48.2%) lost to former state Rep. Lance Gooden* (51.8%)
  • HD 20 – Rep. Marsha Farney*, R-Georgetown (45.8%) lost to Terry Wilson (54.2%)
  • HD 55 – Rep. Molly White, R-Belton (49.7%) lost to Hugh Shine* (50.3%)
  • HD 150 – Rep. Debbie Riddle*, R-Tomball (39.6%) lost to Valoree Swanson (52.5%)