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Gov. Greg Abbott has selected Jan. 30, 2024, as the date of the closely watched special election runoff for Texas House District 2.
The runoff features two Republicans from dueling factions of the party, Jill Dutton and Brent Money, vying to finish the term of former state Rep. Bryan Slaton, R-Royse City. The House expelled Slaton in May after a committee investigation found he got a 19-year-old intern drunk and had sex with her.
Abbott scheduled the Jan. 30 runoff on Monday, according to a proclamation from his office. Early voting for the runoff will start Jan. 22.
Money and Dutton finished atop a six-candidate field in the special election earlier this month. Money, a Greenville lawyer and former City Council member, finished first with 32% of the vote, while 25% went to Dutton, former president of the Republican Women of Van Zandt.
Money has the backing of Attorney General Ken Paxton and the right-wing Defend Texas Liberty PAC. Paxton is trying to install more loyalists in the GOP-led House after the chamber impeached him in May — the Senate acquitted him this fall — and Defend Texas Liberty is seeking to regain influence after white supremacist Nick Fuentes was seen visiting the office of the PAC’s leader last month.
Dutton has the support of groups allied with House Speaker Dade Phelan, R-Beaumont, who backed Paxton’s impeachment and has been working to push Defend Texas Liberty out of GOP politics after the Fuentes scandal.
The district in northeast Texas is solidly red — and the seat will be on the ballot again for the March primary. The winner will be the Republican nominee for the full term, which starts in January 2025.