A major boost for Texas Republicans ahead of the November midterm elections, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
Republican Peter Flores, a retired state game warden who was trounced by Carlos Uresti in the 2016 race for State Senate District 19, received the most votes in Tuesday's runoff to succeed Uresti, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
Flores will go into a runoff against Democrat former Congressman Pete Gallego, and left on the outside is San Antonio Democratic State Representative Roland Gutierrez. Gutierrez has been campaigning for the seat since Uresti was convicted of federal fraud charges in February, and even before Uresti resigned his seat in May.
Uresti is facing 12 years in federal prison after he was convicted of ripping off investors in a bogus fracking sand company. He also faces trial on a federal bribery charge later this year.
What is significant is that no Democrat in modern times has won the District 19 State Senate seat, which includes south and west Bexar County and stretches well into West Texas. The seat has previously been held by prominent Democrats Frank Madla and Greg Luna.
In trying to flip the seat red, Republicans have relied on the same time honored tradition which allowed the GOP to win its first seat in the U.S. Senate from Texas since Reconstruction, when John Tower was elected in a special vote after LBJ took office as Vice President.
They focused on a special election where turnout would be small. Despite a request to hold the special election in November, Gov. Abbott set it for July 31, when turnout would be even smaller.
Then Republicans from Abbott to Lt. Governor Dan Patrick to the state's two U.S. Senators, actively endorsed and campaigned for Flores.
Then throw in a huge field of eight candidates, and that enabled Flores to make it into the runoff where, as the saying goes, anything can happen.
"I know we can win this runoff," Flores said in a statement after the votes were counted up last night. "We will run this runoff. The work starts tomorrow."