About 10 percent of registered Republican voters showed up March 6 to choose the next contender for Texas’ Congressional District 2. Of 442,347 registered Republican voters, there were 46,140 votes cast in the race. Current Congressman Ted Poe announced his retirement several months ago, setting off a wild race between nine Republicans and four Democrats.
State Rep. Kevin Roberts, R-Houston, will head to a runoff with retired Navy SEAL Dan Crenshaw.
This was one of the most surprising results of the recent election, due to the enormous efforts by candidate Kathaleen Wall. She spent approximately $6 million on her campaign, launched a massive television ad campaign, and overwhelmed mailboxes of voters touting the endorsements of Republican Gov. Greg Abbott and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. Yet she came in third, 145 votes shy of the runoff.
There were nine running in the Republican primary but most of the skirmishes took place between these three and Kingwood businessman Rick Walker.
Roberts came out in first place, with 15,236 votes, or 33.02 percent. Crenshaw was the dark horse of the race, as few expected the unknown and under-funded retired soldier to place high in the crowded field. Crenshaw is a passionate public speaker. In 2012, the now 33-year-old Crenshaw nearly lost his life when severely injured during an IED blast in Afghanistan; he was in a coma for almost a week. He survived, but wears an eye patch due to losing his right eye.
Yet it was Crenshaw who came in second, with 12,644 votes, or 27.40 percent.
“Our achievement is truly a testament to the fact that every vote counts, and the effort of every supporter really matters. I am so grateful for the support we saw building up rapidly towards the election on March 6th. We are going to keep that momentum going by staying engaged with the community and spreading our message of good governance, conservative values, and true leadership in Congress, “ Crenshaw said.
Walls was extremely close, in third place, with 12,499 votes, or 27.09 percent. She must have known Crenshaw was closing in as one of her last mailers before Election Day was an unexpected and unprecedented attack on him.
He beat her by a slim 145 votes, or less than one-third of one percent (.31 percent) of the total vote. Walls did not respond to a request for comment.
Walker, a favorite of many Kingwood voters, was way behind, with just 3,315 votes, or 7.18 percent.
Walker had an aggressive battle with Wall during the campaign and took credit for her defeat.
“Shannon and I appreciate the hundreds of volunteers and supporters who helped us throughout this campaign. Strategically, our polling showed Kathaleen Wall exceeding 51 percent (avoiding a runoff), and us as No. 2, just before early voting began and as she hit me with the first of two attack ads. We made the decision to make sure Mrs. Wall didn’t win the race outright as the primary objective, so we used the remainder of the race contrasting myself with Mrs. Wall. In the 10 days leading up to Election Day, we purchased 900 TV spots and radio ads, contrasting myself with Kathaleen Wall, which caused her polling to decline from over 50 to 27 percent. We were successful in this primary objective, but unsuccessful in moving on.
I congratulate my friends, Kevin Roberts and Dan Crenshaw, on their success in picking up those voters and getting into the runoff. Shannon and I will be praying about who to support in the coming days. Both men are fantastic options,” Walker said.
Roberts ran on experience and his current status as an elected official. “I am the only proven conservative with actual accomplishments,” Roberts said. “We need someone with legislative experience who can be a strong voice for the district and hit the ground running.”
Roberts, 51, is a married father of two children and has a bachelor’s degree from Texas Tech University. He works as the executive director of the Lanier Law Firm.
“I’m honored and humbled that thousands of people across the 2nd Congressional District placed their trust and faith in me, propelling our campaign into the runoff,” said Roberts.
“From the beginning, our campaign has been an effort that was supported by people working in their own neighborhoods and talking with their friends about how we need our next congressman to be a relentless, conservative advocate for their families. Whether that is taking on bureaucracies who are not serving our Hurricane Harvey victims or standing up for the rule of law to stop sanctuary city policies from threatening the safety of our communities, I will always be a voice that is focused on delivering solutions and making our district stronger,” he said.
The run-off election is set for Tuesday, May 22.
Education nonprofit director Todd Litton, facing four challengers, won the Democratic primary for Texas’ 2nd Congressional District with 52.85 percent of the vote, a total of 15,113 votes.
Litton will run against the winner of the Republican primary in the November elections.