Former state Rep. John Wray, R-Waxahachie, is advancing to a runoff against fellow Republican Brian Harrison in Wray’s bid to reclaim his old seat.
With all precincts reporting Tuesday night, Wray finished with 36% of the vote, 5 percentage points behind Harrison, who won 41%, according to unofficial results. Harrison is the former chief of staff at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under President Donald Trump.
“Wow. Huge night for our campaign!” tweeted Harrison, who rode late momentum after being endorsed Saturday by U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz. “Thanks to every voter in #HD10 who put their faith in me to be their representative.”
The sole Democratic candidate, Pierina Otiniano, finished a distant third with 11%. None of the five other candidates broke double digits.
The election was triggered last month after Wray’s successor in the seat, Jake Ellzey, was elevated to Congress.
Wray represented the solidly red district in North Texas for three terms starting in 2015. He chose not to seek reelection last year.
Ellzey had endorsed Wray to succeed him, while Harrison‘s biggest backer was Cruz. Cruz’s endorsement came a day after early voting ended, and Harrison surged in Election Day returns. Harrison beat Wray by 16 percentage points among Tuesday’s voters after Wray carried early voters by 5 points over Harrison.
Wray campaigned on his previous legislative experience, arguing that the recent Democratic quorum break required someone for the job who already knows their way around the Capitol. Harrison promoted his time in the Trump administration as he positioned himself as the leading conservative alternative to Wray.
Harrison previously was a candidate in the May special election for the congressional district that Ellzey won. Harrison was the third-place Republican finisher in that contest.
There were three other Republicans on the ballot Tuesday, including one, Susan Mellina Hayslip, who had endorsed Harrison after filing for the race.
This story originally appeared in the Texas Tribune. To read this article in its original format, click here.