Elections 2020State Senator Eddie Lucio Jr. Defeats Progressive Challenger Sara Stapleton-Barrera in Contentious Runoff

The nearly 30-year incumbent had raised more than $1 million in the last quarter to fend off a challenge from a formidable opponent.
July 16, 2020
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Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr. (D-Brownsville) successfully defeated a progressive challenger with comfortable margins on Tuesday, capturing 54 percent of the vote and securing the Democratic nomination in Senate District 27.

Attorney Sara Stapleton-Barrera received 46 percent.

“We came up short tonight, but our movement lives on. We took on a [30-year] incumbent that outspent me 10 to 1, and still held it within single digits,” Stapleton-Barrera said on social media.

“We’ve made our presence felt tonight, and I couldn’t be prouder of our South Texas community.”

Lucio is known for being the most pro-life Democrat in the Texas Senate. 

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Texas Alliance for Life gave him an 87 percent rating on their 2017 legislative scorecard, higher than any other Democrat in the Texas Senate.

In their most recent legislative scorecard, Texas Right to Life also ranked Lucio as the most pro-life Democrat in the chamber.

Planned Parenthood’s political action committee, Planned Parenthood Texas Votes, threw their support behind Stapleton-Barrera.

The organization stirred controversy when it launched a website using a racial slur to describe Lucio, and drew criticisms from both Republican and Democratic lawmakers.

On the campaign trail, Stapleton Barrera criticized Lucio’s pro-life voting record, branding herself as the pro-choice alternative and calling herself a “true Democrat.”

Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick congratulated Lucio via social media on election night.

“Congratulations to my friend and a great state senator, [Eddie Lucio Jr.], on his win tonight. A great victory for the people of his district and the entire [Rio Grande Valley].” Patrick said.

Lucio’s campaign was fortified with $1,059,649 in contributions during the February 23 to July 4 reporting period, while Stapleton Barrera received only $39,902.

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Hayden Sparks

Hayden Sparks

Hayden Sparks is a reporter for The Texan in Dallas. During the academic year, he coaches high school competitive speech and debate and has also been involved in community theater and politics. A native Texan, Hayden served as a delegate at the Republican Party of Texas Convention in 2016. He is on track to receive a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Liberty University. In his free time, Hayden is known to take walks around the neighborhood while listening to random music on Spotify.