Two Texas House Republicans facing fierce competition in their bids for reelection

At least one Texas House incumbent is headed to a runoff to defend his seat after Tuesday night’s election results, with at least two more members seemingly on track to go into their own overtime rounds.

State Rep. Dan Flynn, R-Canton, failed to get 50% of the vote, though he finished first in his three-way primary with all polling locations in House District 2 reporting. Flynn, who is seeking a tenth term, received 45% of the vote, while businessman Bryan Slaton, who has run for the seat twice before, got 35%. The winner of the runoff will face Democrat Bill Brannon on the November ballot, though the HD-2 seat is considered a safe Republican one.

Another longtime incumbent, state Rep. Harold Dutton, D-Houston, seemed close to entering runoff territory as results kept rolling in from House District 142. Dutton, who was served in the lower chamber since 1985, was leading in a four-way race with about 48% of the vote, while Houston City Council member Jerry Davis was in second with roughly 25%.

In another closely-watched race, state Rep. Alex Dominguez, D-Brownsville, edged out his opponent, Attorney Amber Medina, with just over 51% of the vote.

Other House incumbents, of course, also faced legitimate primary challenges. And in two of the more high-profile contests, Republican members Jared Patterson of Frisco and Briscoe Cain of Deer Park won their races handily Tuesday night. Both will face a Democrat in November, though the two House seats — one in North Texas and the other in Harris County — are considered historically Republican.

Meanwhile, in competitive races to replace retiring House members, the field began to narrow as Republicans and Democrats appeared either to be entering their respective runoffs to compete for the seat or on track to win their party nominations outright.

In the race for the seat held by retiring state Rep. Dwayne Bohac, R-Houston, which is a top target for Democrats in their quest to flip the lower chamber, Republican Lacey Hull seemed poised to win the three-way primary for the party nomination with over 58% of the vote. Gov. Greg Abbott has endorsed Hull. On the Democratic side, Akilah Bacy was leading the pack with about 45% of the vote, with the two other candidates, Jenifer Rene Pool and Josh Wallenstein, battling it out with nearly 28% of the vote and roughly 25%, respectively.

And in the race to replace retiring state Rep. Jonathan Stickland, Republican Jeff Cason and Democrat Jeff Whitfield won their party nominations and will be on the ballot in November. Cason was endorsed by Stickland, who won with less than 50% of the vote in 2018, and edged out two other Republicans for the nomination. Whitfield defeated Steve Riddell, the Democrat who came close to unseating Stickland last cycle.

Parties also settled on candidates — or a pair of them to send into a runoff — to take on House members that are on their target lists for November.

In Dallas, Democrat Joanna Cattanach was leading a three-way primary to take on state Rep. Morgan Meyer, who narrowly beat Cattanach in 2018 and is a top target this year. Cattanach had about 58% of the vote to Shawn Terry’s roughly 27%. Terry, according to the Dallas Morning News, conceded to Cattanach later Tuesday night. Tom Ervin, the third Democrat in the race, had about 14%.

In the Houston area, former state Rep. Mike Schofield, R-Katy, appeared to be edging out the other Republican in the primary, Abbott-backed Angelica Garcia, for an opportunity to reclaim his old seat, which is held by state Rep. Gina Calanni, D-Katy. That seat is at the top of lists for both Republicans and Democrats.

Candidates also advanced in a number of other open-seat races that are considered safe for a particular party.

In the largely rural House District 60, a solid GOP seat, Republicans Glenn Rogers and Jon Francis advanced to a May runoff in the race to replace retiring state Rep. Mike Lang, R-Granbury. The two display the usual GOP battle lines in Texas. Francis, a member of the West Texas billionaire Wilks family, is running as a hardline conservative, while Rogers has billed himself as the more centrist candidate.

In House District 25, another safe GOP seat, Republicans Ro’Vin Garrett and Cody Thane Vasut appeared on track to head to a runoff in the race to fill the seat being vacated by House Speaker Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, who is retiring after serving for more than 20 years in the lower chamber. Whoever wins that contest will face Democrat Patrick Henry in November.

On the Democratic side, Claudia Ordaz Perez was leading Elisa Tamayo by roughly 12 percentage points with most precincts reporting in the race for retiring state Rep. César Blanco‘s El Paso seat. Tamayo had endorsements from the El Paso legislative delegation after Blanco announced he would instead run for a seat in the Texas Senate.

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