Two Texas House Republicans facing fierce competition in their bids for reelection


House floor on April 11, 2019. Miguel Gutierrez Jr./The Texas Tribune

A few Texas House incumbents who are perhaps the most vulnerable in the March primary appeared to be hanging onto their reelection bids as early results continued coming in Tuesday night, with at least one of them in seemingly more political danger than the rest.

In the historically Republican House District 59, state Rep. J.D. Sheffield, R-Gatesville, was trailing lawyer Shelby Slawson by more than 20 percentage points. Slawson had over 51% of the vote to Sheffield's roughly 30%. Businessman Cody Johnson had about 18%.

And in another GOP race House District 2, state Rep. Dan Flynn, R-Canton, may have to face a runoff to compete for his seat in November. He was leading his three-way primary with about 44% of the vote. Businessman Bryan Slaton, who has run for the seat twice before, was in second with over 36% of the vote. Tea Party activist Dwayne “Doc” Collins was in third place with roughly 18%.

In the Houston-area House District 142, state Rep. Harold Dutton, a Houston Democrat who has served in the lower chamber since 1985, was leading in a four-way race with just over 50% of the vote, with Houston City Council member Jerry Davis second at roughly 25%. In another closely-watched race, Alex Dominguez, D-Brownsville, was ahead of his opponent with over 50% of the vote.

Other House incumbents, of course, also faced legitimate primary challenges — and in two of the more high-profile contests, Republican members — Jared Patterson of Frisco and Briscoe Cain of Deer Park — had commanding leads over their opponents.

Meanwhile, in competitive races to replace retiring House members, the field began to narrow as Republicans and Democrats either appeared to be entering their respective runoffs to compete for the seat or were on track to win their party’s nomination outright.

In the race for the seat held by retiring state Rep. Dwayne Bohac, R-Houston, which is a top target for Democrats in their quest to flip the lower chamber, Republican Lacey Hull seemed poised to win the three-way primary for the party nomination with nearly 58% of the vote. Hull was endorsed by Gov. Greg Abbott. On the Democratic side, Akilah Bacy was leading the pack with nearly 47% of the vote, with the two other candidates, Jenifer Rene Pool and Josh Wallenstein, battling it out with nearly 28% of the vote and roughly 25%, respectively.