According to unofficial election results from Harris County, DeAyala captured 51 percent of the vote in a runoff contest with long-time GOP activist and precinct chair Shelley Barineau.
“Melissa and I are humbled and honored by last night’s results and I look forward to being the Republican nominee for State Representative,” DeAyala said in a statement to The Texan.
“I want to congratulate Shelley Barineau and her team on a hard-fought race. We have a big job ahead of us to ensure this seat remains Republican in November and I’m excited and ready to put in the work to do that and carry the torch for conservative principles in Austin.”
The son of immigrants who fled communist Cuba, DeAyala is a senior partner at Buck Kennan law firm. Gov. Greg Abbott appointed him to a six-year term on the Texas Board of Criminal Justice, where he serves as Chair of the Business and Finance Committee. DeAyala is also a trustee for the Windham School District, which provides education to inmates in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
DeAyala campaigned on securing the southern border, cracking down on cartel activities, and using state legislative power to address crime in the Houston region. His support for law enforcement led to endorsements from Harris County Constable Ted Heap (R-Pct. 5) and the Houston Police Officers Union.
Chairman of the Hispanic Republicans of Texas, DeAyala also earned endorsements from political action committees Texas Latino Conservatives and Bienvenido In Action.
In the November general election, DeAyala will face Democrat nominee Mohamad Maarouf and Libertarian candidate James Harren.
Maarouf ran unopposed in the Democratic Primary and has neither launched a campaign website nor reported campaign donations or expenditures. He serves as a program director at the School Empowerment Network and is a board member for the Texas Center for Justice & Equity, where his bio states he “believes it is critical to disrupt systems and structures that perpetuate inequities, especially for our Black and Brown communities.”
Harren, who ran against Murphy in 2020, also does not have a campaign website and has not reported any campaign contributions.
The west Houston suburban and Energy Corridor district is rated R-57% according to The Texan’s Texas Partisan Index, and DeAyala is heavily favored to win in November.
First elected to the House in 2006, the Rice University Baker Institute ranked Murphy the sixth most liberal Republican during the 87th regular session. During his tenure, Murphy has served on the Ways and Means Committee and chaired the Higher Education Committee, and was elected chair of the House Republican Caucus in 2020.
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Holly Hansen is a freelance writer living in Harris County. Her former column, “All In Perspective” ran in The Georgetown Advocate, Jarrell Star Ledger, and The Hill Country News, and she has contributed to a variety of Texas digital media outlets. She graduated summa cum laude from the University of Central Florida with a degree in History, and in addition to writing about politics and policy, also writes about faith and culture.