Several Texas House Races Headed for Runoffs

Former Rep. Ciro Rodriguez (left) will face state Rep. Pete Gallego in the Democratic runoff for the 23rd district. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Former Rep. Ciro Rodriguez (left) will face state Rep. Pete Gallego in the Democratic runoff for the 23rd district. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Posted May 30, 2012 at 12:29am

Updated 2:10 a.m. | HOUSTON — With few House incumbents facing competitive primaries Tuesday in Texas, most of the action was in a handful of contests for safe open and new seats. As expected, almost all of those crowed races will be decided by July 31 runoffs after no candidate was able to get at least 50 percent of the primary vote.

Democrats were unable to avoid a runoff in the one district that is expected to be competitive this fall. State Rep. Pete Gallego will face former Rep. Ciro Rodriguez in the Democratic runoff in the redrawn majority-Hispanic 23rd district. The winner will take on freshman Rep. Francisco “Quico” Canseco (R), who is a top target for Democrats.

Rodriguez got 48 percent of the vote, nearly avoiding a runoff with Gallego, the favored nominee of national party operatives.

Across the state in southeastern Texas, attorney Filemon Vela secured a spot in the 34th district runoff by taking 41 percent against seven opponents. He appears likely to face Denise Blanchard in the runoff. Vela is favored to win the runoff and the fall election in this safe Democratic seat.

In another crowded field of Democratic contenders, in the new 33rd district around Fort Worth made up of a coalition of black and Hispanic voters, state Rep. Marc Veasey and former state Rep. Domingo Garcia will meet in the runoff. This district heavily favors Democrats, and the runoff winner should easily coast to victory in the general election.

On the Republican side, the dramatically redrawn 14th district saw a wide-open primary thanks in part to GOP Rep. Ron Paul’s retirement. State Rep. Randy Weber and Pearland City Councilwoman Felicia Harris finished in first and second place, respectively, to advance to the July 31 runoff. The winner will face ex-Rep. Nick Lampson (D), who some Democrats hope can make the race competitive. But this coastal district is difficult for any Democrat, no matter who emerges from the runoff.

In the redrawn 25th, a dozen GOP candidates were seeking the nomination, making a runoff certain. Former Secretary of State Roger Williams finished first with 25 percent of the vote. He is considered the prohibitive frontrunner in the runoff against retired Army Lt. Col. Wes Riddle, who came in second with 15 percent. The winner is all but certain to be the district’s next Congressman.

Finally, in the new 36th district, financial adviser Stephen Takach and former Rep. Steve Stockman are headed to the GOP runoff after both took 22 percent in the 12-way primary. State Sen. Mike Jackson, the initial frontrunner in the solid Republican seat northeast of Houston, came in third with 20 percent.

To view all of Tuesday’s House primary results in Texas click here.