HD118: Republican John Lujan finished first in Tuesday’s special election with 28% of the vote. Democrat Tomas Uresti (22%) finished second, defeating fellow Democrat Gabe Farias (19%) by 275 votes to claim the second runoff spot. About 9% of the district’s registered voters cast ballots in the race.
|Candidate||8-day-out Report||2015-16 Cycle|
|Cash on Hand||Contributions||Expenditures||Contributions||Expenditures|
|Loan Principal: Lujan none, Uresti $2,380.
Telegram Reports: none.
The runoff is expected to occur on January 19 (Update: Actually scheduled for January 26). A potential rematch between Farias and Uresti could occur in the March primary. Thus, it is difficult to picture Farias endorsing or supporting Uresti in the runoff election if he were planning to file for the primary election, potentially giving Lujan a chance to prevail.
Republican voters continue to wield significant influence in Bexar Co. elections. A Republican has made a runoff for a largely Democratic district in two of the last three special elections for House seats, and Republican voters helped Sen. Jose Menendez (D-San Antonio) and Mayor Ivy Taylor win over significantly more partisan Democrats. In the HD118 race, Republican candidates claimed 47% of the vote – 7% more than Republican candidates typically received in the district in the 2012 general election.
Houston: Rep. Sylvester Turner (31%) and former Kemah Mayor Bill King (25%) advanced to a runoff over Adrian Garcia (17%), Ben Hall (10%), Chris Bell (7%) and Stephen Costello (7%). A total of 261K votes were cast, highest for a Houston mayoral race since 2003. Turnout was about 27% of registered voters.
Voting was almost evenly split between early voting (131K) and Election Day (130K). Garcia fared much better on Election Day than in early voting, while Turner and King fared worse:
- Turner received 34.9% of early votes, 27.7% of Election Day votes (-7.2%)
- King received 26.3% of early votes, 24.2% of Election Day votes (-2.1%)
- Garcia received 13.1% of early votes, 21.2% of Election Day votes (+8.1%)
- Hall received 10.5% of early votes, 9.5% of Election Day votes (-1.0%); and
- Bell received 6.2% of early votes, 8.7% of Election Day votes (+2.5%)
Garcia made a late run, but, even if only Election Day votes counted, he still would have missed the runoff.
Four incumbent council members were forced into runoffs, and three open seat races (including two at large seats) need runoffs to determine new council members. The runoff election is expected to occur on December 12.
This is Turner’s second mayoral runoff. In 1991, Turner (36%) finished second behind Bob Lanier (44%) and ahead of five-term Mayor Kathy Whitmire (20%). A little over 316K votes were cast (Incidentally, current Mayor Annise Parker lost a race for council District C, 77%-23%, to Vince Ryan.). Lanier defeated Turner, 53%-47%, in the runoff, but Turner added more to his general election vote total (+21,391) than Lanier (+14,696) despite a highly negative news story airing six days before the runoff election.
Also of note, Houston voters approved changes to the city’s 24-year-old term limits and increased terms to four years. Current freshman members of the council may serve an additional two four-year terms, for a total of 10 years. Current member serving their second term may serve an additional 4-year term, for a total of 8 years. Members serving their third term, including Mayor Annise Parker, remain term-limited and cannot run again. The change takes effect now, meaning that the next election for mayor and council won’t occur until 2019.