Dallas salon owner Shelley Luther and Rep. Drew Springer (R-Muenster) are headed to a runoff in the special emergency election that Governor Greg Abbott called for Senate District 30.
Six candidates entered the race, but Luther and Springer came out ahead with around 32 percent of the vote each.
The incident rocketed Luther to national prominence among grassroots conservatives, and at signs of a special election in her senate district, she announced her intention to run for the seat.
Springer is a member of the Texas House of Representatives from Cooke County, first elected to the legislature in 2012.
In the 2019 legislative session, Springer acted as the chair for the Agriculture and Livestock Committee.
Jacob Minter, the sole Democrat in the race, trailed behind Luther and Springer third place with about 21 percent of the vote.
Both Luther and Springer having spent over $600,000 as of the latest financial report filed eight days before the election, the two candidates were the clear frontrunners in the race.
The competition between them was fierce, with each side launching spirited attacks on the other.
Springer’s campaign emphasized his legislative experience and highlighted endorsements from over 50 other Republicans in the Texas legislature.
He also attacked Luther for not voting in primary elections, posts on social media regarding Black Lives Matter and the COVID-19 lockdowns which Luther contends were taken out of context, and a $1 million loan from a conservative megadonor.
Luther, meanwhile, has highlighted her status as a political outsider and touted support from grassroots conservatives, as well as several notable endorsements including state Sen. Bob Hall (R-Canton), Collin County Judge Chris Hill, and former state Sen. Don Huffines (R-Dallas).
Huffines wrote an op-ed published by the Texas Scorecard, in which he supported Luther and criticized Springer over his voting record on taxpayer-funded lobbying.
On Tuesday, Springer shared a soundbite from his radio interview on the Chris Salcedo Show in which he pledged to support efforts to ban taxpayer-funded lobbying and claimed, “In fact, I voted to ban it more than any single member of the legislature.”
In 2019, Springer clarified on record his support for an amendment to the taxpayer-funded lobbying ban that would have only allowed the practice in counties with populations above 250,000 people, effectively exempting the counties in his own district from the proposed restriction. After the amendment was added, the legislation was voted down.
Springer was also attacked for his record on constitutional carry legislation authored by Rep. Jonathan Stickland (R-Bedford) and for his employment with Ryan LLC, whose CEO is a lobbyist that advocated for legislation brought through committees on which Springer served.
Luther and Springer will move on to a runoff election with a date yet to be determined.
The winner will go on to fill Sen. Pat Fallon’s (R-Prosper) seat in January. In his resignation letter to Abbott, Fallon stated that his resignation would be effective at midnight on January 4, 2021.
A forthcoming analysis from The Texan found that SD 30 is the third most Republican-leaning senate district in the state, with Republican candidates receiving an average of 76 percent of the vote during the 2016 and 2018 general elections.
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Daniel Friend is a reporter for The Texan. He participated in a Great Books program at Azusa Pacific University and graduated in 2019 with a degree in Political Science. He has studied C.S. Lewis’s science fiction trilogy and in his spare time you might find him writing his own novel partly inspired by the series.