In House District (HD) 11, Rep. Travis Clardy (R-Nacogdoches) finished with 53 percent of the vote, and second place vote-getter Rachel Hale received 21 percent of the vote. Two other candidates, Greg Caldwell and Mark Williams, received 14 percent and 12 percent respectively.
Clardy’s campaign has over a quarter-million dollars in the bank and reported nearly $79,000 in campaign donations in the campaign finance filing the week before the primary. He also reported over $124,000 in campaign expenditures.
The 10-year incumbent even had the benefit of Speaker Dade Phelan’s (R-Beaumont) endorsement and financial backing, though Clardy was not endorsed by Gov. Greg Abbott.
On the other hand, Hale nearly forced Clardy into a runoff with only about $8,000 in contributions and $3,000 in cash on hand. She spent less than $17,000.
When asked by The Texan if she had plans to run again in the future, Hale indicated that she is undecided but open to the prospect of a future candidacy.
“I’m grateful to have had so many people put their faith in me. I was encouraged to run during Thanksgiving and started this campaign in the middle of the filing deadline,” Hale stated in a text message. “For that little time and being outspent by wide margins, we did a really good job.”
The Republican commented on her thought process leading up to her candidacy and what the future may hold.
“I don’t know whether I would ever run again. I didn’t seek this out and only followed Christ’s lead into this race. I know He ordained the results and used this as an opportunity for me to grow our base of Christlike changemakers,” Hale wrote.
“If He wants me to run again, I won’t shy away from it. At the very least, we’ve shined a light on the seat and more constituents will be paying attention to our Representative’s voting record next session.”
Clardy originally won the seat in 2012 when he defeated former state Rep. Chuck Hopson (R-Jacksonville) in a Republican runoff by 364 votes. Hopson had switched his party affiliation from Democrat to Republican in 2009 and the legislature redrew his seat to include Nacogdoches County.
After last year’s redistricting cycle, HD 11 includes Rusk, Panola, Nacogdoches, Shelby, Sabine, and Newton counties.
In HD 64, Rep. Lynn Stucky (R-Denton) also narrowly avoided defeat against Andy Hopper by a mere 102 votes. They were both separated by less than one percentage point.
The new version of HD 64 includes Wise County and a portion of Denton County.
Other Republican incumbents were not as fortunate as Clardy and Stucky. Reps. Kyle Kacal (R-College Station), Glenn Rogers (R-Graford), Phil Stephenson (R-Wharton), and Stephanie Klick (R-Fort Worth) are all competing in May 24 runoffs.
In an analysis of Texas House members’ voting records, political scientist Mark P. Jones ranked Stucky 45th on a list of state representatives from most conservative to most liberal. Clardy ranked 65th out of the 82 Republican members of the chamber at the time.
Clardy was on a list of nine Republicans who joined Democrats to support the expansion of Medicaid during the 87th Legislature’s regular session.
Unlike Clardy, Stucky did receive Abbott’s endorsement.
Correction: A previous version of the article incorrectly stated that Stucky was in danger of a runoff election. We regret the error.
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Hayden Sparks is a senior reporter for The Texan and a lifelong resident of the Lone Star State. He has coached competitive speech and debate and has been involved in politics since a young age. One of Hayden's favorite quotes is by Sam Houston: "Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may."