A few days ago, we listed some storylines we’d be watching as the runoff election votes were tallied. Here we revisit those storylines and a couple of others from previous posts.
Christian or Gates? We knew one of the candidates was going to buck history, but it was not clear which one until Christian’s Election Day ground game success began coming into focus. Statewide, Gates won 53% of the early vote, and Christian won 56% of the Election Day vote. Christian was particularly strong in rural counties featuring Republican legislative runoffs. Indeed, SD1 provided Christian’s margin of victory. Low urban county turnout hurt Gates, and, possibly, a relative lack of spending for the runoff.
Gates spent $1.9 million leading up to the primary. He spent not quite $550K leading up to the runoff. Gates spent less on his runoff race than Rep. Wayne Smith (R-Baytown), although they both shared the same fate.
Incumbent Representatives. Counting Tuesday, now five of the last 25 incumbents seeking re-election have won runoffs since 1996. Rep. Ron Reynolds (D-Missouri City) won, despite losing around 75% of his primary voters. We previously noted that his primary margin put him, at least historically, in best position to win, and that Reps. Doug Miller (R-New Braunfels) and Smith were facing longer odds in their races. Smith’s loss extends to 10 the runoff losing streak of incumbent legislators who finished second in their primary races.