SE Texas Voters Snub Trump with Phelan
Win as Six More GOP Colleagues Go Down

Capitol Inside
May 28, 2024

Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan delivered a humiliating blow to Donald Trump, his top Texas allies and the entire far right on Tuesday night when he rode the strength of a strong early vote to victory against enormous odds in the hottest legislative contest in the nation up to now in 2024.

A Beaumont Republican who was portrayed as a traitor with cozy ties to Democrats, Phelan saw a commanding lead of 57 percent in the early vote shrink to 50.7 percent after the polls had been closed for almost three hours. Phelan's win may have headed off a full-fledged takeover of the Texas by conservatives for at least another two years.

While Phelan lost six more GOP colleagues in the runoff, he still can expect to run for a third term as the favorite after the extraordinary survival test he passed with little room to spare despite fierce opposition from the former president and his leading Lone Star comrades in Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and Attorney General Ken Paxton.

Phelan had been his own worst enemy as the architect of the attempted Paxton impeachment that culminated in the Senate with his acquital in the Senate in an outcome that had been inevitable. But Phelan has enormous advantages with the perks of incumbency that he will enjoy with a historic win to his credit despite the wreckage around him in the GOP Caucus in the Legislature's lower chamber.

State Rep. Gary VanDeaver of New Boston and Phelan were the only two House Republicans out of eight on the runoff ballot who were leading as the votes trickled from overtime hot spots into the Texas Secretary of State tonight. VanDeaver led challenger Chris Spencer with 53.9 percent as an incumbent Governor Greg Abbott targeted for defeat and showered with invectives throughout the race.

But the overtime election was shaping up tonight to be a burial ground for incumbent Republicans in the Legislature's lower chamber after the ouster of eight GOP representatives in the first election on March 5. Six of eight were losing. A Phelan defeat would push the incumbent casualty count to seven in the runoff.

State Reps. DeWayne Burns of Cleburne, Frederick Frazier of Plano, Justin Holland of Rockwall, Stephanie Klick of Fort Worth, John Kuempel of Seguin and Lynn Stucky of Sanger all trailed by significant margins in the early vote in fights with opponents who ran hard to the right. Democratic State Rep. Shawn Thierry of Houston fell behind OT foe Lauren Simmons in the early returns in a race that the challenger led with more than 60 percent of the vote.

U.S. Rep. Tony Gonzales of San Antonio jumped out in front of Brandon Herrera in a second round duel that generated substantial ink around the nation as a litmus test for the state's few remaining Republican moderates.

Helen Kerwin of Glen Rose and Alan Schoolcraft of San Antonio had double-digit advantages over Burns and Kuempel while Pierson and Richardson were crushing Holland and Frazier respectively in fights in the suburbs on the north side of the Dallas-Fort Worth areas.

David Lowe of Fort Worth scored more than 55 percent of the early vote in a rematch with Klick. Andy Hopper received more than 57 percent of the early

Abbott appeared poised to end the night with a record of three wins against four losses in the overtime vote barring a Spencer surge for a win over VanDeaver as the returns are tallied. Attorney General Ken Paxton looked to be on track to post a 6-2 record in the runoff with Phelan and VanDeaver as the only defeats.

Phelan had almost 66 percent of the vote in his home base of Jefferson County while scoring 46 percent in Orange County - a considerable improvement over his share there in March. But Phelan didn't fare as well in Jasper County with only 29 percent of the early vote there in round two.

Jeff Barry and AJ Louderback had double-digit leads in open contests for the House on the GOP OT ballot. Trey Wharton of Huntsville was winning big on Tuesday night as well in another open race for the west wing in Austin.

Democrats Cecilia Castellano and Vince Perez were winning open races for House seats in the second round.

State Rep. Craig Goldman of Fort Worth posted an impressive win in an open congressional contest on the GOP ballot on Tuesday. Brent Hagenbuch won an open race for the Texas Senate with almost 57 percent of the count.

more to come ...








Copyright 2003-2024 Capitol Inside