Home Zone 6 Larson fends off primary challenge

Larson fends off primary challenge

Area runoffs loom in state, congressional races

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District 122 state Rep. Lyle Larson foiled a well-financed challenge in the March 6 Republican primary, while a pair of area state legislative races and two congressional face-offs resulted in May 22 runoffs.

Larson received 59 percent of the vote over Hollywood Park Mayor Chris Fails, who was backed by Gov. Greg Abbott and Empower Texans, a conservative group.

During the 2017 legislative session, Larson criticized Abbott for appointing campaign contributors to state commissions and boards; he subsequently said the stance fueled Abbott’s decision not to support him.

Fails campaigned as the more conservative candidate, but Larson, a former San Antonio councilman and Bexar County commissioner, defended his right-wing roots and public-servant experience.

“Grateful for the confidence of the voters in House District 122,” Larson said on his Facebook page. He also told local media there must be a “mending of fences” in his professional relationship with the governor.

Larson will face Democrat Claire Bennett in November. The educator ran unopposed in the primary.

The GOP battle to succeed District 21 U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith, retiring after a 30-year tenure, fielded 18 hopefuls. Many argued among themselves over their conservatism.

In the end, Austin attorney Chip Roy and Boerne businessman Matt McCall advanced to a runoff. Roy has worked for U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and former Gov. Rick Perry. McCall lost primary bids in 2014 and 2016.

Businessman and Army veteran Joseph Kopser and teacher-turned minister Mary Street Wilson, both of Austin, beat two other Democratic foes to make the runoff for the traditionally conservative Congressional District 21.

Matt Beebe and Steve Allison survived a six-candidate Republican primary for state House District 121, in a race to succeed House Speaker Joe Straus. Beebe is a high-tech business owner; Allison has been a trustee with the Alamo Heights Independent School District and VIA Metropolitan Transit.

The GOP runoff winner will face businesswoman Celina Montoya, unchallenged in the Democratic primary.

District 25 state Sen. Donna Campbell, a New Braunfels physician, easily defeated her GOP opponent, Shannon McClendon. This fall, Campbell will run against Democrat Steven Kling, a former Army Reserve captain and a Dripping Springs businessman. Kling defeated San Antonian Jack Guerra.

Elsewhere in races, defense attorney Joe Gonzales trounced incumbent Bexar County District Attorney Nico LaHood in the Democratic primary, advancing to the general election where he will face Republican Tylden Shaeffer, a criminal-defense lawyer.

Incumbent Cruz easily topped the five-candidate GOP primary for his Senate seat. He will face Beto O’Rourke in November. The U.S. congressman from El Paso bested Sema Hernandez and Edward Kimbrough in the Democratic contest.

In the race for governor, former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez and Andrew White, a Houston entrepreneur, advanced from the nine-candidate Democratic field. White is the son of former Gov. Mark White.

Abbott trounced his GOP primary challengers, Barbara Krueger and Larry Kilgore.

If re-elected, Abbott vowed to get the Legislature to pursue caps on local property-tax revenue.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who beat his lone GOP primary challenger, Scott Milder, will face Mike Collier, a Kingwood businessman, who toppled Michael Cooper on the Democratic side.

Some voters east of U.S. 281 can expect a May 5 contested race in the Alamo Colleges District.

Trustee and Encino Park-area resident Joe Jesse Sanchez, appointed last November to the District 9 post, is challenged by Felix Grieder, a process engineer. This election will fill the rest of a six-year term expiring in 2020.

Sanchez had a 45-year-plus career in education, where he was a classroom teacher and an administrator.

“The ultimate goal is to provide students with the necessary skills for a successful career whether the student continues with higher education goals or enters the workforce,” Sanchez said. “At the same time, we must also be good stewards of the public’s money.”

The North East Independent School District canceled its May 5 election after candidates withdrew from three contested races.

Realtor and District 7 Trustee Brigitte Perkins is retiring following five terms. Bookkeeper Sandra Winkley will succeed Perkins.

An NEISD board term lasts four years.

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