5 Reasons To Focus on Upcoming Texas Runoff Election

April 13, 2018
Topic: Elections

The important work of Texas voters is not complete yet.

Up and down the ballot, March’s Republican Primary Election saw resounding victories for pro-family conservative candidates across Texas. Primary election night results delivered a strong rebuke to House leadership and support for privacy. The primary also drew endorsements from Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick in an unprecedented number of legislative races.

But there is more victory to achieve.

In the Texas Senate and House, every Texas Values Action endorsed incumbent that supported the Texas Privacy Act won their election. And in the Texas House, several Texas Values Action endorsed candidates defeated incumbents, won open seats, or are headed to a runoff. Additionally, all Texas Freedom Caucus members up for election won. That’s impressive.

However, there are still plenty of victories left to be had, as the Primary Runoff is set for May 22. Ten candidates endorsed by Texas Values Action made the top two and will appear on ballots in many districts across Texas, including in Texas House District 4: Stuart Spitzer, District 8: Thomas McNutt, District 13: Jill Wolfskill, District 62: Brent Lawson, District 107: Deanna Metzger, District 121: Matt Beebe, in 3rd Court of Appeals, Place 6: Mike Toth, in 5th Court of Appeals, Place 12: Jim Pikl, Harris County JP: Mike Wolfe, and U.S. Representative, District 5: Bunni Pounds.

While it may be a small number of races that are still in play, they are all important to the overall success of faith and family in Texas. Even if none of these races appear on your local Primary Runoff ballot, these candidates deserve our support. Here are five helpful reminders why:

  • Primary Runoffs can draw small numbers to the ballot, meaning every vote counts. In some cases, such as in Texas House District 13 (see below), the margin of victory was only a few hundred voters. In a Runoff, even a handful of votes can turn the tide.
  • Six additional conservatives in the Texas House could make a huge difference. A handful of votes can make a difference in the Legislature as well, and having up to six more reliable faith and family legislators can help bring our issues to the forefront of debate in committee or on the chamber floor.
  • Even just one additional faith and family voice in the U.S. House can also make a huge difference. We must make sure the Texas delegation stays strong on faith and family issues and represents true Texas values in Washington.
  • In the cases of McNutt and Beebe, they are replacing outgoing House leaders Speaker Joe Straus and State Affairs Chairman Byron Cook who blocked key privacy and religious freedom legislation. However their seats may be filled by candidates who are just as bad on important issues. Electing candidates who are clear in their support for life and religious liberty equals a net-gain for faith and family in the Texas Legislature.
  • The Court of Appeals races may not receive the most attention, but they are incredibly important positions for conservatives to hold as they often rule on faith and family issues deferred to them by lower courts. It’s especially important if you ever appear before the bench in these critical judicial districts!

Read below to learn more about our endorsed candidates in the remaining races, and see if one will appear on your local Runoff ballot. You can find your elected officials here.

Texas House

House District 4: Stuart Spitzer (running for seat being vacated by Rep. Lance Gooden). Spitzer came out on top of the five-candidate pool, garnering a comfortable 46 percent of the vote, with his nearest opponent gathering 26 percent. Dr. Spitzer is the former Representative from the district (and a Faith & Family Champion, we should add). Spitzer re-taking the district would be a major upgrade: Gooden scored 67% on our Faith & Family Scorecard and did not even sign on in support the Texas Privacy Act.

House District 8: Thomas McNutt (running for the open seat being vacated by Rep. Byron Cook — see previous coverage here).  McNutt (with 39% of the vote) will face Cody Harris (45%), the top vote-getter in the three-way race. Both Harris and Linda Timmerman (16%) were supported by Rep. Cook at various points in the race, and we can expect Cook’s supporters to be out in full-force to defeat McNutt, who challenged Cook in 2016. McNutt, who came with a hair’s-breadth of winning the seat in ’16, deserves to win this race.

House District 13: Jill Wolfskill (running for the open seat being vacated by Rep. Leighton Shubert). Wolfskill (39%) was the top vote-gatherer in March, followed by Ben Leman (36%). With only about 500 votes between the top two candidates in the five-person race, we urge our supporters even outside of HD 13 to make calls and reach out to friends to help put Wolfskill over the top and represent the rural southeast Texas district well.

House District 62: Brent Lawson (running for the open seat being vacated by Rep. Larry Phillips). Though Lawson (34%) trailed top-placing Reggie Smith (46%) by a considerable margin, Kevin Couch (20%), the third candidate in the three-way race, threw his support behind Lawson, greatly increasing Lawson’s odds in this North Texas district to bring better representation to the Sherman-Denison area.

House District 107: Deanna Metzger (running for seat held by Rep. Victoria Neave, 4% on our Faith & Family Scorecard). Deanna Metzger led the field by a comfortable margin (45%) followed by Joe Ruzicka (27%) in the Dallas race. A victory in November by a Republican candidate would be taking back ground from the Democrats — Neave beat Republican Kenneth Sheets in 2016 in a razor-thin general election race. Metzger could use as much support as she can get to put the Runoff behind and begin to focus on unseating Neave in November.

House District 121: Matt Beebe (running for the open seat being vacated by Rep. Joe Straus). The Speaker’s decision to step down from the Texas House naturally drew several contenders in the north San Antonio district. Beebe drew 30% in the six-way race, besting the runner-up by four percent. Beebe comes into the race as a familiar face and a known opponent to the Speaker’s obstruction tactics, having run against Straus in 2012 and 2014, and we are pleased to once again endorse him.

Court races

3rd Court of Appeals, Place 6: Mike Toth. With Justice Bob Pemberton leaving the post, four candidates entered the fray, with Toth taking 39% as the top candidate. Toth has been a supporter of faith and family issues for many years and we’re excited to recommend him to voters in the Third Court of Appeals District in Central Texas.

5th Court of Appeals, Place 12: Jim Pikl. Pikl and runner-up William Johnson were separated by 2 percentage points and around 3,000 votes, with third-place Perry Cockerell at 19 percent. Pikl comes to us with a strong history of support for family issues, and we are pleased to recommend him to North Texas voters in the Fifth Court of Appeals District.

Harris County Justice of the Peace, Precinct 5, Place 2: Mike Wolfe. Wolfe was the top candidate with 46% in a 3-way race. Wolfe heads into the runoff against the incumbent Jeff Williams.


U.S. Representative, District 5: Bunni Pounds. In the race to succeed U.S. Rep. Jeb Hensarling, the Congressman himself endorsed Pounds (22%), his former campaign manager. However it was sitting Texas House of Representatives member Lance Gooden (30%) who was the top vote-getter in the eight-way race. Gooden (a mere 67% on our Faith & Family Scorecard) had the advantage of a significant portion of his Texas House district overlapping the Congressional district, yet Pounds is gaining momentum and notoriety, having recently secured the endorsement of Vice President Mike Pence.

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