Tight races, runoffs abound in primary voting

Texas voters hung onto familiar candidates and sent a few new ones into runoffs at the polls on Super Tuesday as both incumbents and newcomers battled stringent challengers in key races. 

Amidst a full card of conservative opponents, longtime U.S. Representative for District 8 Kevin Brady narrowly avoided a runoff election against challenger Steve Toth by securing 64,745 of 121,260 votes, or 53 percent of all ballots. 

After hovering near the 50 percent mark for most of the night, the race was called by the Associated Press with nearly two-thirds of precincts reporting Brady with a 54 percent lead late Tuesday night. Toth, Brady’s closest challenger, received 44,266, or 38 percent of the votes. Craig McMichael took 6,021, or less than 5 percent of the total votes, and Col. Andre Dean rounded out the race with 5,196 ballots, or 4 percent. 

“I’m blessed with great supporters, especially my wonderful wife, and I deeply thank you for sending me back to keep fighting for families and local businesses,” Brady said in a prepared statement late Tuesday after winning the 2016 Republican primary.

In a hotly contested race to fill the seat left vacant by District 18 Representative John Otto, Republican business attorney Keith Strahan and conservative agri-businessman Ernest Bailes are heading into a runoff set for May 24. 

With six names on the crowded ballot, Strahan took home 6,363 votes, or 28 percent, while Bailes locked up 26 percent with 5,842 of the 22,531 votes Tuesday night. Liberty County Attorney Wesley Hinch (4,654, 22 percent) narrowly missed the runoff cut, while Walker County’s James Morrison (989, 9 percent) and J. Turner (814, 7 percent) and San Jacinto businessman Van Brookshire (673, 5 percent) rounded out the race. 

“We are blessed to live in a free country where we can influence change through our electoral process,” Bailes said in a prepared online statement. “Bailes for Texas has a solid seat in the (House District 18) runoff and I could not have done this without my family, team, and the countless volunteers who gave of their time and resources in order to make this successful.”

In Walker County, runoffs were the name of the game Tuesday night as both Precincts 1 and 3 county commissioner races will be heading back to the polls on May 24. 

Citizens narrowed down Precinct 1 commissioner candidates — Danny Kuykendall, George Williamson, Jim Willett and Tom DeYoung — and Precinct 3 candidates — Bill Daugette, Bill Tutor, G.A. Creagor, Glen Ray Reader and Paul Webb — to just two candidates each.

Kuykendall and DeYoung will face off in the commissioner Precinct 1 runoff election on May 24, while Daugette and Reader advance to a runoff in Precinct 3.

In Precinct 3, Reader garnered 389, or 27 percent of the unofficial total votes, while Daugette collected 342, or 24 percent. The returns for Precinct 1 showed Kuykendall with 796, or 43 percent of the unofficial total votes, while DeYoung collected 490, or 26 percent of the total.

Top candidates vying to become the next constable of Precinct 2 in Walker County will also be heading back to the ballot box in May. 

Out of the three candidates — incumbent Reed Prehoda and challengers Shane Loosier and John French — only two will be headed to the runoff election. Prehoda earned a spot in the runoff election with 1,071, or 40 percent of the unofficial total votes. Facing him in May will be Loosier, who picked up 844, or 32 percent, of the total votes.

Author: Joshua Yates

Interdisciplinary artist Joshua Yates was born in Clearwater, Florida and moved to Houston, Texas at the age of two. He has received Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees with Highest Honors in Photography and Studio Art from Sam Houston State University while completing his Undergraduate Honors Dissertation in Performance Art Studies. With more than 10 years of experience behind the lens and a proven track record for enhancing digital and social media outlets, Yates has a passion for multi-platform journalism and visual communication in the digital space. He currently works as a Linux administrator for HostGator in downtown Houston.

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