KERA Election Blog
9:15 am
Wed May 28, 2014

Dan Patrick Wins GOP Runoff; Ralph Hall Loses: 'I Just Got Whipped;' Tea Party Stays Strong

Tuesday was another big night for the tea party in Texas as conservative candidates did well in various GOP runoffs. Catch up on what happened with the KERA Election Blog. Stay tuned for election coverage on KERA 90.1 FM -- we will offer reports throughout Wednesday. 

Among the runoff highlights: State Sen. Dan Patrick won the Republican runoff for Texas lieutenant governor, easily defeating incumbent David Dewhurst. In the GOP runoff for District 4 in Congress, incumbent Ralph Hall conceded to John Ratcliffe. State Sen. Ken Paxton beat longtime State Rep. Dan Branch in a landslide in the Republican attorney general runoff. Also, tea party organizer Konni Burton of Colleyville defeated opponent Mark Shelton in the State Senate District 10 runoff race.

Patrick wins: Patrick, the GOP lieutenant governor runoff winner, addressed his supporters Tuesday night. "For everyone watching tonight, if you love America, the Constitution, Texas, free markets, the Second Amendment and the liberty that comes from God, welcome to the grassroots of the Republican party," Patrick said. Patrick said he plans to go into Democratic strongholds to try to widen his support. In November, Patrick faces Leticia Van De Putte, the Democratic lieutenant governor nominee.

Hall loses: Hall reflected on his decades-long career in Congress, calling the experience a blessing: “I just got whipped and I got beat and my folks are sad. But they know I’m not sad. I’m pleased to have had the opportunity.”

Burton wins: When her race was called, Burton raised her fists in the air as the crowd whistled and cheered. Burton told KERA that she's delighted because grassroots conservatives helped her to win the race for the Tarrant County state senate seat. "People are concerned about the same things I am, and that's being fiscally responsible with the tax dollars, and less government because more government takes more of our liberties, and so we're all very concerned about that," she said.

Check out election results here from KERA News.

The Texas Tribune offers this roundup.

Update, 1:04 a.m. Wednesday: Check The Texas Tribune's election scorecard for a look at races from across North Texas and around the state.

Update, 11:53 p.m. Tuesday: Bob Deuell, an incumbent GOP state senator from Greenville, lost by 300 votes to his opponent, Bob Hall, in the race for State Senate District 2. Hall, who has tea party support, had 50.4 percent of the vote, while Deuell had 49.6 percent. The district includes eastern Dallas County and Rockwall County, as well as several smaller counties to the east.

Update, 10:37 p.m.: As of  10:30 p.m., the race for State Senate District 2 in North Texas is too close to call. Bob Deuell, an incumbent GOP state senator from Greenville, is about 100 votes behind his opponent, Bob Hall, who has tea party support. With nearly 70 percent of precincts reporting, Deuell has 49.8 percent of the vote, while Hall has 50.2 percent -- 16,856 votes for Deuell and 16,961 votes for Hall. The district includes eastern Dallas County and Rockwall County, as well as several smaller counties to the east.

Update, 10:12 p.m.: In the GOP runoff for District 4 in Congress, Ralph Hall conceded Tuesday night to John Ratcliffe. KERA's Stella M. Chavez was there as Hall reflected on his lengthy career. "How can I be unhappy at this time with all of these people here behind me?" Hall told reporters. "I'll still be there until the 31st day of December and I'll be taking Obamacare on every hour of every day. ... It's better to win than it is to lose and I wish him well. Other than my Lord and savior and family, it's been the greatest part of my life. It's been a blessing." Hall said he wasn't surprised by Tuesday's results. “I’ve been in every county. In the last week, I was in every courthouse in this district. I outworked him but I didn’t outvote him. I just got whipped and I got beat and my folks are sad. But they know I’m not sad. I’m pleased to have had the opportunity.”

Update, 10:01 p.m.: John Ratcliffe declared victory Tuesday night after defeating longtime incumbent Ralph Hall, America’s oldest Congress member. Ratcliffe said in a statement: “I entered this race because I want a better path for America than the one that we’re on right now. Tonight, the voters of this district confirmed what I’ve been hearing on the campaign trail for the last six months. I thank Congressman Hall for serving us admirably, and wish him the best moving forward. I look forward to representing the 4th District of Texas in U.S. House of Representatives and fighting for the conservative values which I’ve defended throughout my career.”

Update, 9:15 p.m: The Associated Press is declaring that Ralph Hall, America's oldest Congress member, has lost to John Ratcliffe. Hall, 91, has lost to Ratcliffe, a former U.S. attorney. With 85 percent of precincts reporting, Ratcliffe has 52 percent of the vote -- he has had a slim lead throughout the evening.

John Ratcliffe, second from left, celebrated victory Tuesday night with neighbors. Ratcliffe, a former U.S. attorney, defeated longtime incumbent Ralph Hall in the GOP runoff for District 4 in Congress.
John Ratcliffe, second from left, celebrated victory Tuesday night with neighbors. Ratcliffe, a former U.S. attorney, defeated longtime incumbent Ralph Hall in the GOP runoff for District 4 in Congress.
Credit Stella M. Chavez / KERA News

Check election results here: Texas Secretary of StateDallas County Elections OfficeTarrant County Elections Office; Collin County Elections Office; Denton County Elections Office; Rockwall County Elections Office.

Update, 9:12 p.m.: In Dallas County, Chart Westcott went on Facebook to concede the District 108 state representative race to Morgan Meyer. "Folks, the early voting results are very clear. Morgan Meyer will be the GOP nominee for HD108," Westcott wrote. "He will have my full support in November to take on Leigh Bailey. I’ll release a more formal statement soon, but for now know that I am grateful to all my friends and supporters. I am especially thankful for everyone who walked blocks, made calls, and gave money." Meyer has about 70 percent of the vote so far. This Park Cities race got particularly nasty toward the end, The Dallas Morning News reports.

Update, 9:07 p.m.: KUT in Austin reports: Incumbent lieutenant governor David Dewhurst gave his concession speech. "Stand tall and keep your head held high," Dewhurst said. "You stand tall against the attacks from the other team that were continuing thorough today." Still, Dewhurst pledged to support Dan Patrick in his bid against Democratic nominee, State Sen. Leticia Van De Putte, this fall. Dewhurst tried two years ago to win the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate, but lost that to Ted Cruz – who, like Dan Patrick, has the support of tea party voters.

Update, 8:58 p.m.: Votes continue to trickle in. Incumbent Ralph Hall is trailing his opponent, John Ratcliffe, for Congress' District 4. Hall has 48 percent of the votes so far, while Ratcliffe is leading with 52 percent. About half of the precincts are in.

Konni Burton, center, celebrated Tuesday night after defeating Mark Shelton in the GOP runoff for State Senate District 10. Burton, who was backed by the tea party, faces Democratic opponent Libby Willis this fall. The November winner will fill the seat of Wendy Davis, the Fort Worth Democrat who's running for governor.
Konni Burton, center, celebrated Tuesday night after defeating Mark Shelton in the GOP runoff for State Senate District 10. Burton, who was backed by the tea party, faces Democratic opponent Libby Willis this fall. The November winner will fill the seat of Wendy Davis, the Fort Worth Democrat who's running for governor.
Credit Doualy Xaykaothao / KERA News

Update, 8:49 p.m.: In Dallas County, in the District 102 race for state representative, Linda Koop continues to maintain a significant lead against incumbent Stefani Carter. Koop has 61 percent of the vote, while Carter has 39 percent -- that's with 27 of 46 precincts reporting. The Texas Tribune reported earlier this spring: "State Rep. Stefani Carter, R-Dallas, might have had an easy time seeking re-election to her seat in House District 102. But after she reversed a decision to run a statewide campaign for railroad commissioner last year, she re-entered what had become a crowded contest for her House seat. She ultimately finished second in the GOP primary [in March]. ... That leaves the two-term incumbent in a tight spot going into her runoff with Linda Koop, a former Dallas city councilwoman."

Update, 8:33 p.m.: More on the Ralph Hall vs. John Ratcliffe GOP runoff for Congress from KERA's Stella M. Chavez: "Ralph Hall says he's still holding out hope. He says the most recent poll showed him ahead and he thinks he can still pull off a win. He says he's hopeful about Grayson and Bowie counties but would like to be doing better in Rockwall. He is walking around, talking with people and shaking hands."

Ralph Hall greeted supporters Tuesday night in downtown Rockwall.
Ralph Hall greeted supporters Tuesday night in downtown Rockwall.
Credit Stella M. Chavez / KERA News

  Update, 8:19 p.m.: KERA's Stella M. Chavez is reporting from the Ralph Hall watch party in downtown Rockwall. Hall, 91, is America's oldest Congressman and is facing a tight race with John Ratcliffe. She has the latest: "There was a big round of applause and cheers from the crowd as final numbers come in for Morris County. Hall won that county. But a few minutes later, the final numbers for Cass County show that Hall lost there -- 834 vs. John Ratcliffe's 1076 votes. ... Then there was big applause for results from Fannin County, which Hall won."

Update, 8:15 p.m.: The Associated Press reports: "The tea party still rules Texas. In an otherwise humbling election year for tea party challengers across the U.S., conservative insurgents in the Lone Star State keep winning like it's 2012. None were bigger than fiery conservative talk radio host Dan Patrick, the tea party caucus founder in the Texas Legislature, ousting longtime Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in a symbolic signal of GOP restlessness. Anti-establishment Republicans also were favored in key statehouse runoffs, leaving Republicans poised to push Texas even further right on abortion, gun rights and spending come 2015."

Update, 8:09 p.m.: The Associated Press is projecting a Democratic runoff victory for Dallas dentist David Alameel for U.S. Senator. Also, the AP projects a win for Jim Hogan in the Democratic runoff for agriculture commissioner. Hogan faced Kinky Friedman, the perennial campaigner. You might recall that Hogan didn't do any campaigning in the March primary and still beat Friedman. NPR's Alan Greenblatt reported back in March: "Jim Hogan thanks God for his victory in a statewide Texas primary election ... His campaign clearly had little to do with it. Hogan paid his filing fee and then did essentially nothing else. 'Not being a politician, I didn't want to spend money,' he says. 'I didn't buy any mailers or yard signs. I think it's a waste to spend a lot of money on these politics.'" On Tuesday night, Hogan spoke with The Texas Tribune: “They say I don’t campaign, but apparently, I did,” Hogan said. “Almost everybody wrote something about me.” Hogan said more candidates should run campaigns like his. “You don’t raise any money, you leave it to the people, God and everybody else," he said. “It didn’t cost anything. I go on with my life.”

Update, 8:07 p.m. The Associated Press is projecting GOP runoff victories for Dan Patrick for lieutenant governor and Ken Paxton for attorney general.

State Sen. Ken Paxton, with his family, declared victory Tuesday night in the GOP runoff for Texas attorney general. Paxton defeated State Rep. Dan Branch.
State Sen. Ken Paxton, with his family, declared victory Tuesday night in the GOP runoff for Texas attorney general. Paxton defeated State Rep. Dan Branch.
Credit Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Check election results here: Texas Secretary of State; Dallas County Elections Office; Tarrant County Elections Office; Collin County Elections Office; Denton County Elections Office; Rockwall County Elections Office.

Update, 8:01 p.m.: David Alameel, a Dallas dentist, has a commanding lead in the U.S. Senate Democratic runoff. With mostly early votes counted so far, he has 73 percent of the vote. Kesha Rogers has just 28 percent of the vote. She has said she supports impeaching President Obama – and she’s a supporter of Lyndon LaRouche, the controversial political activist. KUT and The Texas Tribune have more details on the race. The winner of tonight’s runoff faces U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, a Republican, in November.

Update, 7:41 p.m.: Bob Deuell, an incumbent GOP state senator from Greenville, is in a tight race for State Senate District 2. His opponent, Bob Hall, has tea party support. Deuell has 51 percent of the early vote, while Hall has 49 percent. The district includes eastern Dallas County and Rockwall County, as well as several smaller counties to the east.

Update, 7:40 p.m.: Today's election is another test for tea party support in Texas. Nationally, many tea party-backed candidates have been losing primary elections. But in Texas, tea party candidates are doing well. KERA's Shelley Kofler explored the tea party's continued strength in Texas in this recent story.

Update, 7:38 p.m.: Republican Pat Hardy of Fort Worth is fighting to keep her seat on the State Board of Education after 11 years representing parts of Tarrant, Parker and Dallas counties. She faces tea party-backed challenger Eric Mahroum from Bedford. So far, Hardy has about 56 percent of the early vote. Marhroum claims Hardy has sided too often with moderate members of the board. Mahroum, who fathered a child at 16, tells KERA he opposes teaching about contraception. He says the topic should be handled at home. Mahroum's position has generated headlines across the country.

Supporters of State Sen. Ken Paxton gathered in Frisco Tuesday night. He's seeking to win the GOP nomination for attorney general.
Supporters of State Sen. Ken Paxton gathered in Frisco Tuesday night. He's seeking to win the GOP nomination for attorney general.
Credit Bill Zeeble / KERA News

  Update, 7:20 p.m.: Will Rep. Dan Branch of Dallas or State Sen. Ken Paxton of McKinney win the GOP nomination for attorney general? Early in the night, Paxton has 59 percent of the vote, with Branch running behind with 41 percent. 

Update, 7:17 p.m.: In the Republican runoff for lieutenant governor, State Sen. Dan Patrick has a commanding lead over incumbent David Dewhurst -- at least in early voting. Patrick has nearly 60 percent of the early vote count so far. This has been a heated race all spring. The race has been particularly nasty, featuring a 'Frozen'-fueled battle and Patrick's mental health history. Dewhurst sat down with KERA earlier this month to talk about why he finished 13 points behind Patrick in the March primary.

Update, 7:14 p.m.: In early voting, in Congress’ District 4, incumbent Ralph Hall is slightly behind his challenger, John Ratcliffe. Hall, 91, is America's oldest Congressman. He was forced into a runoff. Ratcliffe has 51 percent of the vote, while Hall has 48 percent. The district runs from Rockwall County to East Texas and along the Red River. Hall is well-known and admired by many, but Ratcliffe's supporters say Hall has spent enough time in Congress and that it's time for new leadership.

Supporters of incumbent Congressman Ralph Hall gathered in downtown Rockwall Tuesday night, preparing to follow election results.
Supporters of incumbent Congressman Ralph Hall gathered in downtown Rockwall Tuesday night, preparing to follow election results.
Credit Stella M. Chavez / KERA News

Update, 7:08 p.m.: In Tarrant County, in the State Senate District 10 GOP runoff, Konni Burton has a significant lead in early voting. She has 61 percent of the vote. Her opponent, Mark Shelton, has 39 percent. Burton has significant tea party backing. The winner will face Democrat Libby Willis in November. Lots of folks across Texas are watching this race since it’s Wendy Davis’ seat, which the Fort Worth Democrat is vacating to run for governor.

Konni Burton greeted voters Tuesday afternoon. She faces Mark Shelton in the GOP runoff for State Senate District 10. The winner faces a Democratic opponent this fall to fill Wendy Davis' seat.
Konni Burton greeted voters Tuesday afternoon. She faces Mark Shelton in the GOP runoff for State Senate District 10. The winner faces a Democratic opponent this fall to fill Wendy Davis' seat.
Credit Doualy Xaykaothao / KERA News

Update, 7:06 p.m.: Early voting results are pouring in across North Texas. In Dallas County, in the District 102 race for state representative, Linda Koop is leading in early voting against incumbent Stefani Carter. Koop has 61 percent of the vote, while Carter has 39 percent.

Elsewhere in Dallas County, in the District 108 race for state representative, Morgan Meyer has a commanding lead, with 73 percent of the early vote; Chart Westcott is at 27 percent.

Check election results here: Texas Secretary of State; Dallas County Elections Office; Tarrant County Elections Office; Collin County Elections Office; Denton County Elections Office; Rockwall County Elections Office.

Original post: Texans are deciding local, statewide and legislative runoff races that have sparked contentious debates and combative TV ads costing millions of dollars. 

  Republicans will decide whether incumbent David Dewhurst or State Sen. Dan Patrick should be their nominee for lieutenant governor. They’ll also choose between Rep. Dan Branch of Dallas and State Sen. Ken Paxton of McKinney for the GOP nomination for attorney general.

Nominees for agriculture commissioner, Congress, the U.S. Senate and the Texas Legislature will also be chosen.

Locally, there are some heated runoffs for the Texas House.

Take a look at sample ballots on North Texas county election sites: Tarrant County; Dallas County -- Republicans; Dallas County -- DemocratsDenton County and Collin County.

Here are voter guides from The Dallas Morning News, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and the League of Women Voters of Texas

Before you head to the voting booth, study up on the races. Listen to KERA's half-hour runoff special, which aired May 20.

Here’s a look at the more notable races:

Learn more