HOUSTON – Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls took an early lead Tuesday in the primary runoff election against challenger and Conservative activist Kathaleen Wall. Just about an hour after polls closed, Nehls declared victory.
The two were battling it out for the GOP ticket for Congressional District 22 and Nehls face off against Democrat Sri Preston Kulkarni in November.
The race has been contentious with Wall’s campaign releasing several negative TV ads slamming Nehls over the last month. In a press conference Tuesday, Nehls said his campaign “overcame” the bad publicity despite “the (attack) ads just being pelted against me each and every day.”
In a press conference Tuesday evening, Nehls said he was humbled by the outcome of the race. The unofficial tally shows Nehls won by a landslide with 70% of the vote.
The district that spans a large part of Fort Bend County is a key battleground district that Democrats are hoping to flip in November after Republican Rep. Pete Olson said he would not pursue reelection.
“My job now is to continue to focus on keeping Congressional District 22 in Conservative hands and that is my focus and objective,” he said. He said he believed he had more experience than ex-Foreign Services Officer Kulkarni.
Soon after Nehls declared victory, Kularni’s campaign manager Allen Chen issued a statement.
“Nehls is a scandal-ridden politician who has put himself above the law and now he’s asking for a promotion to recklessly strip away health care for Texas families,” the statement read in part. “Texans are ready for an end to Nehls’ divisive politics and that’s why Sri Kulkarni is poised for victory in November.”
When asked if he still supported President Donald Trump, Nehls said:
”I think (Trump’s) done a magnificent job in many many areas and I know he’s getting beat up each and every day. But, right now, we’re focused on me. Donald Trump has his election to handle and we have ours in CD-22.”
See the final, unofficial tally below: