Wimberley school board member Ken Strange on Tuesday won the Republican primary in House District 45, which encompasses Hays and Blanco counties.
Strange captured 54.7 percent of the votes. Business owner Amber Pearce was second with 24.4 percent of the votes, followed by citizen activist Naomi Narvaiz (9.2 percent), Austin Talley (6.8 percent) and Amy Akers (4.9 percent).
State Rep. Jason Isaac, R-Dripping Springs, didn’t run for re-election so that he could run for the 21st Congressional District. Isaac finished fourth in that primary.
Strange campaigned on his support for traditional public schools, hesitating to support voucher-like programs because he said traditional public schools could lose critical funding. Strange has said there needs to be more transparency within the recapture system under which school districts with higher property wealth must send money back to the state to help support property-poor school districts.
Pearce raised the most money in the race — $130,000 — but most of it came out of her own pocket. Pearce had campaigned on a tea party-aligned platform, touting the multiple endorsements she received from members of the House’s conservative Freedom Caucus.
Unlike Pearce, Strange spoke positively of Texas House Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, who has been criticized for not being conservative enough.
Texas State University professor Rebecca Bell-Metereau, who won 45.4 percent of the votes, will face Erin Zwiener, who received 30.7 percent of the votes, are headed to a May 22 runoff.
Days before the primary, criminal analyst Les Carnes, who garnered 24 percent of the votes, filed a complaint with the Democratic Party to have Zwiener removed, saying that she did not live in Texas for the required two years to run for Texas House. Zwiener has denied such claims.
If elected Zwiener said she would work to repeal Senate Bill 4, signed into law last year penalizing local governmental entities who do not comply with federal immigration enforcement. She said she also will work on a bill to give unauthorized immigrants the ability to obtain a Texas driver’s license.
Bell-Metereau said she wants to expand Medicaid, enact protocols like those in California to reduce maternal deaths, look at eliminating no-bid contracts in state agencies, eliminate penalties for students and teachers who don’t perform well on state standardized tests, and eliminate solitary confinement, especially of young people.