Jacksboro attorney and Jacksboro ISD trustee David Spiller will face Nocona boot manufacturer Craig Carter in a runoff election to fill the unexpired House term of Sen. Drew Springer (R-Muenster). Both are Republicans.

Spiller at times flirted with an outright win but came up well short after Cooke Co., the district’s most populous and last reporting county, reported its Election Day votes. He finished with 44%. Carter, Jacksboro financial planner John Berry and Cooke County Judge Jason Brinkley took various turns in second place. Carter received 18% of the vote, finishing 57 votes ahead of Berry (17%) and 162 votes ahead of Brinkley (16%). Outstanding overseas absentee and provisional ballots remain to be counted, but they are unlikely to be in sufficient number to affect the outcome.

Childress retired postal employee Charles Gregory, the lone Democrat in the race, finished last with 4% of the vote.

Spiller won 12 of the 22 counties outright and received a plurality in eight others. Brinkley won a plurality in Cooke Co., but he faded on Election Day there, failing to gain enough ground on Carter (After receiving nearly 50% of the early vote, Brinkley received 39% of the Election Day vote.). Berry won a plurality in Crosby Co.

A thousand more people voted on Election Day than during early voting, which we expected. Most of the district’s counties operated one early voting location each, and those were closed Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Berry, who received 14% of the early vote, came on strong on Election Day following his Thursday endorsement by the Texas Home School Coalition. He received 20% of the vote on Election Day, second only to Spiller’s 41%.

Spiller ($81K) and Carter ($50K) led the field in spending. Brinkley spent $18K, and Berry spent $7K. No report was available for Gregory.

Turnout was 9.1% of registered voters.

The runoff election must be held on a Tuesday or Saturday occurring not earlier than the 12th day or later than the 25th day after the date the election is ordered by Gov. Greg Abbott (R). It cannot be ordered until the special election is canvassed, which must occur within 10 days following election day, which is February 2. If Abbott issues his proclamation ordering a runoff election no later than February 4, a Thursday, then the earliest runoff election day would be February 16, a Tuesday. The latest day such a runoff could occur would be February 27, a Saturday. Canvassing would occur within 10 days of the runoff, making March 1 the likely earliest date a new representative could be sworn in (although February 26 could be possible depending on county canvass dates).

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