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5

Number of legislative and congressional candidates who had at least a double-digit plurality in a special election but lost the runoff since 1996.

On Tuesday, Republican Fred Rangel became the 14th legislative or congressional special election candidate to finish at least 10 percentage points ahead of any other candidate but not win outright (or have their runoff opponent withdraw). Rangel received 38% of the vote, finishing 18.6 percentage points ahead of current second-place finisher Ray Lopez (19%).

Double-digit Special Election Margins Since 1996 That Went to Runoffs

28.7% – U.S. Rep. Henry Bonilla over Ciro Rodriguez, CD23 (2006) – LOST
26.2% – Diego Bernal over Nunzio Previtera, HD123 (2015) – WON
24.3% – Craig Estes over Greg Underwood, SD30 (2001) – WON
21.7% – John Cyrier over Brent Golemon, HD17 (2015) – WON
21.5% – Brandon Creighton over Steve Toth, SD4 (2014) – WON
19.9% – Mike O’Day over Randy Weber, HD29 (2007) – LOST
19.6% – Ciro Rodriguez over Juan F. Solis III, CD28 (1997) – WON
18.6% – Fred Rangel over Ray Lopez, HD125 (2019)
17.9% – Trey Martinez Fischer over Jose Menendez, SD26 (2015) – LOST
17.0% ­– Ken Bentsen over Dolly McKenna, CD25 (1996) – WON
16.8% – Carlos Uresti over Sylvia Mendelsohn, HD118 (1997) – WON
13.9% – Ina Minjarez over Delicia Herrera, HD115 (2015) – WON
12.3% – Chris Bell over Joan Huffman, SD17 (2008) – LOST
10.7% – Carolyn Bilski over Leighton Schubert, HD13 (2015) – LOST

Only two candidates have overcome a bigger deficit than Lopez* faces since 1996, and only one of those was for a legislative seat. Former Rep. Mike O’Day (R-Pearland) overcame a 19.9% deficit to defeat Randy Weber, 52%-48%, in a 2007 runoff. The largest deficit overcome since 1996 was Ciro Rodriguez’s 28.7% gap against U.S. Rep. Henry Bonilla (R-San Antonio) in 2006.

* Assumes overseas mail ballots, provisional votes and a likely recount do not vault third-place finisher Coda Rayo-Garza into the runoff instead. Lopez received 22 more votes than Rayo-Garza as of Election Day.

©2019 Texas Election Source LLC