Former San Antonio council member Ray Lopez defeated San Antonio construction businessman Fred Rangel, 58%-42%, to win the unexpired term of former Rep. Justin Rodriguez (D-San Antonio), who resigned in January to accept an appointment to the Bexar Co. Commissioners Court. A little more than 9K votes were cast, an increase of around 3K over the February 12 special election. Turnout for the runoff was 9% of registered voters.

Ray Lopez

Rep.-elect Ray Lopez

Lopez jumped out to a 57%-43% lead in early voting, and he carried Election Day, 61%-39%. Lopez received more than four and a half times as many votes as in the special election, when he squeaked past Coda Rayo-Garza into the second runoff spot by 28 votes. Lopez received 19% of the vote, just over half the vote received by Rangel (38%). The Republican increased his vote total by nearly 1.5K votes, but it was not enough to overcome Lopez’s surge.

Lopez posed the second largest “comeback” in a legislative special election since 1996. Only Randy Weber has overcome a bigger special election deficit. In 1997, he defeated Mike O’Day despite finishing almost 20 points behind him in round one.

Lopez’s win ends an embarrassing streak of special election losses for Bexar Co. Democratic candidates in low-turnout legislative special elections.

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