The results of the runoff election were clearer than the more evenly matched March 1 primary, wherein LaMantia received 34 percent of the vote and Stapleton-Barrera received 33 percent.
SD 27 follows the coastline in South Texas, stretching from the Rio Grande Valley to the north of Corpus Christi.
“I’m honored and humbled to have earned the Democratic nomination, and I will continue to work side by side with you in the pursuit of greater educational opportunities, increased access to affordable health care, and economic growth,” wrote LaMantia in a statement after the election.
“I respect all those who dedicate themselves to public service, and I especially want to express my admiration for Sara Stapleton Barrera,” said LaMantia. “She brought passion and empathy to this campaign, and as strong women leaders who understand the power of collaboration, I look forward to opportunities to work together for South Texas families.”
Stapleton-Barrera conceded in a statement Wednesday morning thanking her supporters and saying, “I will continue to seek reform through the courts as a litigator always for the people.”
Backed by retiring Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr. (D-Brownsville) — a Democrat known for working with Republicans to pass pro-life legislation — LaMantia was viewed as the more moderate candidate in the runoff.
Where LaMantia said that “there’s not much we can do as a state senator” about some local issues, Stapleton-Barrera said that, “Even if it’s a local or a federal issue, we can yell and holler.”
But both Stapleton-Barrera and LaMantia diverge from Lucio on the subject of abortion.
“I do not agree with Senator Lucio’s position on LGBTQ+ rights or on [the Texas Heartbeat Act],” said LaMantia during an interview with the political arm of Planned Parenthood Texas.
In addition to the endorsement from Lucio and many state House Democrats from the Rio Grande Valley, LaMantia’s campaign was also bolstered with six-figure loans from other members of her prominent South Texas family.
LaMantia will go on to face Republican Adam Hinojosa for the state’s most competitive Senate seat.
“With Senator Lucio retiring, I am running to continue our pro-life legacy,” said Hinojosa in early May. “Both current Democrat candidates are vocally pro-abortion liberals who do not represent our South Texas family values. I hope to earn your vote in November to keep our district fighting on behalf of babies, their mothers, and innocent life across Texas.”
SD 27 has a Texas Partisan Index rating of D-56%, meaning that Democrats received an average of 56 percent of the vote against Republicans in the 2018 and 2020 general elections.
But in recent elections, Republicans have gained more and more ground in South Texas.
For instance, Trump received 37.5 percent of the SD 27 vote in 2016, but 47 percent in 2020.
While some state House and congressional districts in South Texas are even more competitive than SD 27, the race for the Senate seat will be one to monitor.
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Daniel Friend is the Marketing and Media Manager for The Texan. After graduating with a double-major in Political Science and Humanities, he wrote for The Texan as a reporter through June 2022. In his spare time, you're likely to find him working on The Testimony of Calvin Lewis, an Abolition of Man-inspired novel and theatrical podcast.