HD 46 primary headed for run-off without 12-term Rep. Dawnna Dukes


Dukes, who has represented the district since 1994, finished a distant third.

Jose “Chito” Vela III and Sheryl Cole are headed for a May 22 runoff.

With a congested field lining up to unseat embattled State Rep. Dawnna Dukes, the House District 46 Democratic Primary has wittled from six candidates to a two-person runoff.

And Dukes, the 12-term lawmaker who has represented the district since 1994, won’t be one of those two people.

Undone by an invisible campaign, miniscule fundraising efforts, and questions about her attendance at the past two Legislative sessions, Dukes ran a distant third in a six-person race, landing just 10 percent of the vote after all ballots were tallied Tuesday.

Advancing to the May 22 runoff were immigration lawyer Jose “Chito” Vela III and former Austin city council member Sheryl Cole. Neither reached the majority vote needed to avoid a runoff, as Vela secured 39 percent of the vote and Cole 38 percent. They were separated by 209 votes.

“I think I’ve got the momentum,” Vela said. “I think my campaign has the spirit, the energy and the strength. I’m confident we’ll win in May.”

On the campaign trail, Cole pulled in endorsements from party heavyweights and amassed $187,231 in campaign funds since last year. Vela brought in much less, $46,631, but boasted it came from small donations from district residents.

“In the months ahead I’ll continue to be a strong advocate against the voices of hate and division, and I’ll fight for the justice and opportunity our community deserves,” Cole said.

All along, Dukes showed little initiative to ward off her challengers. She blamed the paltry $12,250 she raised on banks shunning her over a criminal corruption case that went away when prosecutors dropped charges in October.

None of the three other candidates — Ana Cortez, Warren Baker and Casey L. McKinney — got significant votes.

The Democratic winner will oppose Republican Gabriel Nila in November. Nila, a public school teacher who wants to de-criminalize marijuana, fell to Dukes in the 2016 general election. Nnamdi Orakwue is running as an independent.

House District 46 covers parts of East Austin and Pflugerville, and most of Manor.

Texas House District 47

State Rep. Paul Workman on Tuesday secured the Republican nomination in state House District 47 which encompasses western Travis County, according to the Associated Press.

Workman, who was elected to the state legislature in 2011, had 60 percent of the results so far, ahead of business owner Jay Wiley who had 31 percent of the votes and Patty Vredevelt, a retired nurse, who had 9 percent of the votes.

Although she led for most of the night, real estate broker Vikki Goodwin did not secure enough votes to fend off a runoff on May 22 in the Democratic primary.

Goodwin, who received 34 percent of the votes, will face Elaina Fowler, who runs an employee retiree group and won 29 percent of the votes, according to the AP.

Nonprofit owner Sheri Soltes received 24 percent of the votes, nurse Candace Aylor received 7 percent and company executive Will Simpson received 6 percent.

Texas House District 52

With 61 percent of the votes, social services case manager Cynthia Flores, who had the backing of Gov. Greg Abbott, won the Republican nomination in the district that encompasses most of Williamson County.

She bested Chris Ward, a clinical auditor, who had 17 percent of the votes and religious nonprofit president Jeremy Story, who had 22 percent of the votes.

Flores will face Democrat James Talarico, head of an education nonprofit, in the November general election.

Texas House District 45

Wimberley school board member Ken Strange on Tuesday won the Republican primary in House District 45, which encompasses Hays and Blanco counties.

Strange captured 55 percent of the votes. Business owner Amber Pearce was second with 24 percent of the votes, followed by citizen activist Naomi Narvaiz (9 percent), Austin Talley (7 percent) and Amy Akers (5 percent).

Texas State University professor Rebecca Bell-Metereau’s lead in the Democratic primary most of the night wasn’t enough to avoid a runoff on May 22.

Bell-Metereau, who won 45 percent of the votes, will face Erin Zwiener, who received 31 percent of the votes even though a complaint was filed to have her removed from the ballot.

Les Carnes, a criminal analyst for Travis County constable Precinct 3, had 24 percent of votes.

Senate District 25

With 74 percent of the Republican votes, Sen. Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels, an emergency room doctor, defeated Shannon McClendon, a gay lawyer who was motivated to run by the unsuccessful attempts to crack down on transgender-friendly bathrooms last legislative session.

In November, Campbell will face Democratic primary winner Steven Kling, a retired Army Reserve captain who works in information technology. Kling narrowly defeated Jack Guerra, a property investor and former city planner, with 51 percent of the votes.

Senate District 5

An orthopedic surgeon seeking a second term, Sen. Charles Schwertner, R-Georgetown, defeated Harold Ramm, a longtime superintendent for several Texas school districts with 75 percent of the votes.

Among Democrats, auditor Meg Walsh, who received 71 percent of votes trounced two challengers — management consultant Brian Cronin (17 percent) and Glenn “Grumpy” Williams, a former lawyer for Child Protective Services (12 percent) — and will face Schwertner in the November general election.

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