March 4, 2020

Several Texas Primary Contests Not Over Yet
for Candidates Who Came Close with No Cigar

By Mike Hailey
Capitol Inside Editor

A Republican runoff lineup remains unresolved in a targeted Texas House district after a candidate who's a police officer appeared to miss a shot in overtime by a single vote in the Super Tuesday primary election.

A Democratic primary battle appeared to be in limbo on Wednesday as well with veteran State Senator Eddie Lucio Jr. of Brownsville just 130 votes short of an outright win with almost 49.8 percent of the vote based on unofficial returns in a district where he'll face Sara Stapleton-Barrera in a runoff if the current results hold.

The outcomes in primary fights that are relatively close could change after military and provisional votes have been counted and applied to the preliminary totals. Recounts are possible as well in first-round battles that were tight in the tentative results.

The overtime slate in the Democratic competition for the U.S. Senate in Texas wasn't set in stone on Wednesday after Cristina Tzintzun Ramirez of Austin and State Senator Royce West of Dallas garnered 13.7 percent and 13.6 percent of the first-round vote respectively in a fight for second place and a shot at primary leader MJ Hegar of Georgetown in a spring runoff.

Texas House hopeful Matt Morgan of Richmond came within 48 more votes of winning a GOP primary battle without the need for OT in an open House race that's a high-level Democrat target in a Fort Bend County district on the edge of the Houston area. State and local election officials show Morgan with 49.7 percent of the primary vote in a district where he will be dueling GOP foe Jacey Jetton of Sugar Land in a runoff in May if he doesn't have at least half of the total vote in the final official count.

The number one nail-bitter on the morning after the primary election has former Austin City Councilman Don Zimmerman and law enforcement official Justin Berry with 22.89 percent and 22.8 percent of the round vote respectively in a field of five Republicans who've been competing for the nomination in a district that freshman Democratic State Rep. Vikki Goodwin wrestled from the GOP in 2018.

Austin Republican Jennifer Fleck emerged as the first-round leader with 32 percent of the vote in the primary election in the district where Zimmerman received 4,099 votes out of almost 18,000 that were cast compared to 4,098 that Berry garnered based on the tentative results. Goodwin is one of the lower chamber's most vulnerable Democrats in the eyes of Republicans in a district that had been red for eight years before the Democrats flipped it in the last election cycle.

The second overtime spot also could be up in the air in a primary fight across the aisle in a targeted House district where Democrat Lorenzo Sanchez of Dallas is the tentative runner-up with a 63-vote lead over Rocio Hernandez of Frisco in a race that Tom Adair of Plano led with almost 33 percent of the first-round tally. The winner of the runoff between Adair and the eventual primary runner-up will be taking aim at GOP State Rep. Jeff Leach of Allen in the November general election in one of the top targets on the Democrats' hit list in 2020.

more to come ...

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