Voters in Ellis County and part of Henderson County will decide who will become their next state representative on September 28. Early voting will begin September 20.
While there were originally eight candidates in the running, Harrison and Wray advanced to a runoff after neither candidate received a majority on Election Day, August 31.
Abbott’s announcement follows a day of scuffling between the two candidates over their campaign tactics and material.
Harrison blasted Wray on Twitter for producing a “doctored video” of his answer to a question at an Ellis County forum about a range of issues affecting public education.
“If [Wray] will DOCTOR a video to make it look like I said the OPPOSITE of what I said, what else will he lie about?” Harrison wrote. “Proud of the thousands of conservatives who will drive our campaign to victory over the deceit of an unethical career politician — again!”
In the full video of Harrison’s answer, he discussed his belief in school choice, parental rights, and “empowering teachers to teach core curriculum.” He goes on to criticize “liberal teachers’ unions” for promoting critical race theory, mask mandates, and other ideas that are widely contrary to conservative sentiments.
Also on Tuesday, Wray tweeted a picture of Harrison’s campaign literature and accused him of lying about an endorsement from the National Rifle Association (NRA).
“Throughout his unsuccessful race for Congress and now his attempt for Texas House, Mr. Harrison has repeatedly exaggerated or outright lied about his resume,” Wray wrote on social media. “He’s attempted to take credit for things he never had anything to do with. This is yet another example of this.”
Wray noted that the NRA sent an email to supporters in the district clarifying that he is the only candidate endorsed by the gun rights group.
Harrison received 41 percent of the vote on election night and Wray finished with 36 percent of the vote. A Democratic candidate, Pierina Otiniano, received only 11 percent.
Ellzey’s election to Congress and departure from the Texas House during his only term left the district without a state representative during two called sessions of the Texas legislature.
The runoff will happen in the middle of the third special session, which Abbott has called to address redistricting and public school sports, among other issues.
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Hayden Sparks is a senior reporter for The Texan and a lifelong resident of the Lone Star State. He has coached competitive speech and debate and has been involved in politics since a young age. One of Hayden's favorite quotes is by Sam Houston: "Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may."