With the concession of GOP candidate for House District 135, Justin Ray, the Austin-bound delegation is solidified ahead of the 87th Legislative Session.
Ray, who is down 300 votes on the dot according to the Harris County Clerk’s website, was the last outstanding Texas House race.
In a campaign statement, he said, “This election cycle was an opportunity to spotlight and discuss the important issues that play a key role in keeping Texas prosperous. I am honored to have had the opportunity to discuss these issues on a personal level with the many residents that I met during our campaign.”
“I wish Representative Rosenthal the best of luck during the upcoming legislative session and remain hopeful for the future of Texas,” Ray concluded.
Ray’s opponent, Democratic incumbent Rep. Jon Rosenthal (D-Houston), will return for his sophomore session. The two candidates spent over $830,000 combined in the home stretch of the campaign.
Two other races with delayed outcomes were in House District 47, pitting Rep. Vikki Goodwin (D-Austin) against Republican challenger Justin Berry, and House District 112, in which Rep. Angie Chen Button (R-Richardson) emerged victorious over Democrat Brandy Chambers in their second match up.
After shrinking Goodwin’s margin of victory from her 5,000-vote win in 2018 down to 1,342, Berry said in concession, “Today’s results, though not what I had hoped for, are the final. For I am so extremely proud of my entire team. I want to congratulate [Rep. Goodwin] and her team on re-election.”
He concluded, “I encourage our representative to be mindful of our voices, our concerns, and our families this next session. My ‘Why’ doesn’t cease in defeat…See you in 2022!”
Goodwin flipped the seat from red to blue in 2018, and Republicans flooded the district with advertising in its effort to retake the seat. Ultimately, Democrats fended off the effort but gave ground on the 2018 margin.
Button, meanwhile, escaped upset by the skin of her teeth, posting a razor-thin 222-vote margin of victory.
Chambers conceded on November 11, and took aim at Button, saying, “My opponent, however, ran a campaign on lies about me and my policies. Unfortunately, it appears that lies won. She never would debate me or even show at candidate forums so there could be an honest discussion of our differences.”
“I do not have any clue what my future holds or if I will ever run for office again,” she concluded. Chambers lost in 2018 by 1,110 votes and shrunk it substantially this year.
On the federal side, Texas’ congressional delegation is set after Democratic candidate Candace Valenzuela’s concession in the 24th Congressional District.
In concession, she stated, “Even though we didn’t win this race, we’ve forced the gatekeepers of the political process to reimagine who belongs at the table. There is still so much work to be done and I will continue to be a tireless advocate for our schools and all working families across North Texas.”
Fewer than 4,500 votes separated Valenzuela and Republican candidate Beth Van Duyne. Van Duyne attended the freshman orientation last week after her opponent’s concession and is a part of the largest freshman congressional GOP incoming class since the Tea Party wave a decade ago.
Republicans maintained strong positions in both federal and state assemblies as no Democrats won the up-for-grabs congressional seats and traded only one win for one loss in the Texas House. Their biggest victory came in eliminating the GOP’s supermajority in the state Senate after Rep. Roland Gutierrez (D-San Antonio) defeated incumbent Sen. Pete Flores (R-Pleasanton).
With redistricting looming, changes to any of Texas’ districts may improve or inhibit lawmakers’ chances for re-election two years from now.
But for now, preparations begin for their respective legislative responsibilities.
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Brad Johnson is an Ohio native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2017. He is an avid sports fan who most enjoys watching his favorite teams continue their title drought throughout his cognizant lifetime. In his free time, you may find Brad quoting Monty Python productions and trying to calculate the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow.