Gov. Greg Abbott (R) endorsed former Waller Co. Comm. Stan Kitzman (R) in the runoff over Rep. Phil Stephenson (R-Wharton), one of four Republican legislators forced into runoffs this cycle. Abbott is at least the third statewide election official to endorse Kitzman, joining Comp. Glenn Hegar (R) and Agriculture Comm. Sid Miller (R).
In March, Stephenson finished first in a four-way primary with 40% of the vote, followed by Kitzman (35%), Fayetteville insurance agent Fred Roberts (16%) and Brookshire educator Art Hernandez (10%). The latter two candidates combined raised less than $8K for the race.
Stephenson can blame redistricting for this runoff appearance. Since he was elected in 2012, Stephenson has represented southern Fort Bend Co. and all of Jackson and Wharton Cos. His colleagues dramatically redrew HD85 (Safe R) by removing Jackson Co. and much of Fort Bend Co and adding Austin, Colorado, Fayette and Waller Cos. In the March primary, Stephenson received around 80% of the vote in counties he has represented and around 25% in counties that were added to the district.
Unlike the other three House Republicans forced into runoffs, Stephenson received virtually no campaign contributions from his colleagues’ individual campaign accounts or personal funds.
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