2022 Primary Election RESULTSElections 2022State HouseRep. Ryan Guillen Avoids Runoff in First Race After Switching to Republican Party

In his first electoral test as a Republican, Ryan Guillen avoided a runoff election with 57 percent of the vote.
March 7, 2022
In his first primary election after changing his affiliation from the Democratic Party to the GOP, state Rep. Ryan Guillen (R-Rio Grande City) won handily with over 50 percent of the vote, the amount needed to avoid a runoff election.

His Republican challengers, Mike Monreal and Alena Berlanga, trailed with 34 and 9 percent, respectively, according to the unofficial results tallied by the secretary of state.

“Thank you, South Texas! I am excited for the opportunity to continue to represent our communities for another term as your State Representative,” said Guillen in a social media post after the results came in.

In a statement thanking his supporters, Monreal congratulated Guillen on his victory and said that he would support the incumbent in the upcoming general election.

“It is my hope and prayer that he will represent the citizens of South Texas with integrity, steadfastness, and devotion to the Constitution in the next legislative session. The people of HD-31 deserve a courageous conservative that shares their values as their elected representative in Austin. We must unite around the nominee, support him and above all, pray for him,” said Monreal.

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“We may not have won this battle, but the war is still raging,” said Berlanga. “None of us locally could compete with a career politician that had $1 million dollars to burn.”

Berlanga lamented the turnout in Wilson County, the district’s northernmost county, which fell just shy of reaching 20 percent of the total voters.

“Yet another election has come and gone where a minority number of our population is controlling our future. This same minority is keeping the status quo with our roads, taxes, crime rate, and wasteful spending,” said Berlanga.

During the special session focused on redistricting last fall, House District (HD) 31 was one of the few Democrat-held seats that was redrawn to favor Republicans.

Based on the Texas Partisan Index, which analyzes election results from 2018 and 2020, Guillen’s seat went from being favorable toward Democrats with a rating of D-51% to favoring Republicans with a rating of R-57%.

In November, Guillen held a press conference in Floresville, the Wilson County seat, to announce that he was changing his party affiliation.

Appearing alongside Guillen were a host of Republican officials, including Gov. Greg Abbott, House Speaker Dade Phelan, and Texas GOP Chairman Matt Rinaldi.

According to the voting record analysis from Rice University political science fellow Mark P. Jones after the last regular legislative session, Guillen was the most conservative Democrat though was still ranked to the left of Rep. Lyle Larson (R-San Antonio), the most liberal Republican according to Jones’ rating.

On some of the landmark bills that were approved by lawmakers during the session, such as the constitutional carry bill and the Texas Heartbeat Act, Guillen broke from the majority of Democrats and supported the measures.

“Ryan’s decision to leave the Democratic Party is proof of the growing frustration with the [Democratic National Committee’s] radical ideologies and the Biden Administration’s failed border plan, attacks on the oil and gas industry, and overreaching mandates,” said Phelan at the time of Guillen’s switch.

Of the $923,000 in contributions Guillen reported in his three most recent campaign finance filings, $87,400 came from the House speaker’s campaign.

In November, Guillen will face Martha Gutierrez, who ran unopposed in the Democratic primary for HD 31.


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Daniel Friend

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.