Increase in the number of votes Pete Flores received in Tuesday’s runoff election compared to the July 31 special election.

There have been 26 special runoff elections since 2000 for legislative and congressional seats. The winning candidates received more votes in those runoffs than in their respective special elections 20 times. Five times, they more than doubled their special election vote total. Only two other special runoff candidates have seen a larger percentage increase than Flores.

Pete Flores

Pete Flores

Ironically, both were in Hispanic/Latino-majority districts. In 2003, Juan Escobar (D-Kingsville) received 203% more votes than he received in his special election. In 2015, then-Rep. Jose Menendez (D-San Antonio) received 188% more votes in the runoff than he got in his special election in a Bexar Co. district.

Even more ironically, former Rep. and U.S. Rep. Pete Gallego (D-Alpine) increased his vote total 176% from the special election, a higher percentage than Flores and the highest percentage for any runoff loser since at least 1992.

Flores more than doubled the number of votes he received in the special election in 15 of the 17 counties in the district. In five of those counties, he more than tripled his special election total. Gallego more than doubled his vote total in seven counties.

The total number of votes cast in this week’s SD19 special runoff election increased 70% from the July 31 special election. That’s the largest percentage increase in votes cast for a special runoff election since at least 1992.

Turnout for the runoff election was 9.0% compared to 5.5% for the special election. Turnout ranged from a high of 28% in Brewster Co. to a low of 6% in Maverick Co. Flores won eight of the 10 counties with the highest percentage turnout. Gallego won the six counties with the lowest percentage turnout (He also won the county with the highest.).

Tuesday’s runoff saw the fourth most votes cast in a special runoff election for a state Senate seat since at least 1992. Nearly as many votes were cast in Bexar Co. (22,130) in Tuesday’s election as in the 2015 runoff in SD26 (23,526), a district entirely within the county. About half of SD19’s runoff voters reside in Bexar Co.

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