With all precincts reporting, Plesa bested Jolly by only 821 ballots, according to the final tally from the Texas Secretary of State (SOS). Under state law, Plesa’s narrow margin of victory could be a basis for Jolly to request a recount, per the SOS.
However, Jolly showed no signs of contesting the result in a statement published Wednesday afternoon on social media.
“At the end of the day the results were not in our favor. I did not run to further divide a community that I love so much. I ran to see if we could build a bigger tent and bring more of us together to move Texas forward. We have some big challenges facing our state, and I pray for those elected to make wise, thoughtful decisions that are best for ALL Texans,” Jolly wrote.
“Congratulations to Mihaela Plesa, Representative-elect for the Texas House. I wish you all the best. Onward and upward!”
The district’s new configuration bears no geographical resemblance to the one Sanford currently represents, encompassing an entirely different portion of Collin County. It was one of only two tossup state House districts on The Texan’s Texas Partisan Index.
Plesa celebrated her victory in a social media post shortly after midnight.
“With all the ballots counted, I am so honored to say I will be HD-70’s next state representative!” Plesa tweeted. “This election has shown the best of democracy and the best on our community. I’m honored to have earned the trust of my neighbors and to represent them at the capitol.”
Politically speaking, North Texas continues to be perilous ground for Republicans as the GOP maintains precarious influence in Tarrant County and Democrats solidify their hold on Dallas County.
However, in Collin County, Rep. Jeff Leach (R-Plano) won reelection with 59 percent of the vote compared to Democrat Kevin Morris’ 41 percent in HD 67.
In HD 61, Republican Frederick Frazier beat Democrat Sheena King with 59 percent of the ballots. Frazier is currently under a criminal indictment on charges of impersonation of a public servant. His opponent in the GOP primary, Paul Chabot, has accused him of stealing campaign materials by creating a ruse that he was a code enforcement officer.
Reps. Morgan Meyer (R-Dallas) and Angie Chen Button (R-Richardson) held their seats by comfortable margins. Meyer and Button — the only GOP lawmakers from Dallas County — won reelection with 57 percent and 55 percent respectively.
Elsewhere in North Texas, Rep. Julie Johnson (D-Farmers Branch) defeated Republican Melisa Denis in HD 115 with 58 percent of the vote.
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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."