Moments before, Isaac’s group was despondent, seemingly seeing the writing on the wall and coming up short for the second time in as many cycles.
At the same time, her opponent Barron Casteel was prematurely celebrating with his supporters at Krause’s Café about a block from Isaac’s gathering.
But in a moment, fortunes changed.
Isaac had defeated Casteel by 284 votes. She won Comal County, the district’s population center, but lost Hays County. Casteel won the early vote, but Isaac won the election day returns.
The race was tense the whole way through between the pair, who grappled over school choice, property taxes, and Democrats as committee chairs.
It also divided the district’s Republican factions between the New Braunfels establishment backing Casteel, whose mother previously served as state representative for the area, and most of the rest backing Isaac, whose husband Jason also previously served as a representative in the area.
Isaac was backed by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), while Casteel had been endorsed by Governor Greg Abbott.
More locally, state Rep. Kyle Biedermann (R-Fredericksburg) and former member Nathan Macias endorsed Isaac, while Casteel received the support of former member Bennie Bock.
At the New Braunfels debate between the candidates in April, several hundred people attended, with support lines divided down the middle aisleway.
Isaac’s victory is one of several the pro-school choice faction of the GOP enjoyed on Tuesday — mixed with some losses, too — setting the issue at the forefront next session after both Abbott and Lt. Governor Dan Patrick have voiced their emphatic support.
Now moving to November, Isaac will face Democrat Justin Calhoun in the heavily red district which changed shape after redistricting.
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Brad Johnson is a senior reporter for The Texan and 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.