Elections 2021State HouseRepublicans Flip Bexar County Texas House Seat in Special Election Runoff

For the second time, Republican John Lujan took Texas House District 118 from a retiring Democrat. New maps could shore up his spot this time.
November 3, 2021
John Lujan (R-San Antonio) flipped Texas House District (HD) 118 Tuesday night in a narrow victory over Democrat challenger Frank Ramirez.

Tuesday’s runoff followed a special election on September 28 that narrowed a field of five candidates to Ramirez, former employee of San Antonio City Councilwoman Ana Sandoval (District 7), and Lujan, who once briefly held the seat.

Lujan first won HD 118 in a special election in early 2016 after the departure of Democratic incumbent Joe Farias. He lost the seat to Democrat Tomas Uresti in the 2016 regular election before the 2017 legislature began. In 2018, Uresti then lost the seat to Pacheco.

Since Lujan held the seat between legislatures, he has no voting record. He claims to support school choice, heightened border security, and foster care reform. He has also signaled moderate positions on some issues, namely healthcare.

Governor Greg Abbott set a special election for the Bexar County seat after outgoing Rep. Leo Pacheco (D-San Antonio) announced plans to retire from the House to pursue an academic career.

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In the September special election, Abbott endorsed Lujan and Pacheco endorsed Ramirez, making each candidate the de facto party favorite.

Speaker of the Texas House Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont) congratulated Lujan on his victory.

“It’s my honor to welcome you back to the Texas House to be a conservative voice for the people of HD 118,” Phelan said. “I know you will work hard for Bexar County and for all Texans.”

According to unofficial results from Bexar County and the Texas Secretary of State, Lujan finished the evening with 51.2 percent of the vote, leading Ramirez by 286 votes.

Lujan’s victory also brings the total number of Republicans in the Texas House to 83.

According to the Texas Partisan Index, The Texan’s data analysis of each seat’s partisan leaning, HD 118 is a Democratic-leaning district. Based on election data from 2018 and 2020, the median vote in the district as drawn today is 57 percent Democratic.

However, the new maps for the state House make HD 118 more competitive. Under the new district boundaries, the median vote is an even split between Republicans and Democrats. In other words, the new map shaves about seven points off the Democrats’ lead in the district.

Overall, the new maps shore up support for incumbents, leaving just eight competitive districts in the state House. Three favor Republicans, three favor Democrats, and two — including HD 118 — are split evenly.


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Isaiah Mitchell

Isaiah Mitchell is a reporter for The Texan, a Texas native, and a huge Allman Brothers fan. He graduated cum laude from Trinity University in 2020 with a degree in English. Isaiah loves playing music and football with his family.