In a stunning outcome, Republican John Lujan and Democrat Tomás Uresti were leading a six-candidate field for Texas House District 118 in nearly complete results late Tuesday.
In his second run for the office, Lujan, 53, showed strength in a district long held by Democrats, narrowly outpolling members of two prominent political families.
“I’m still on pins and needles. It’s not a done deal,” Lujan said with many votes still uncounted.
In his low-key campaign, the retired firefighter, who works in sales for a tech company, emphasized tech training to prepare students for the workforce. His backers included some firefighters and Texans for Lawsuit Reform PAC.
Uresti, 55, a legal assistant, is vice chairman of the Harlandale Independent School District. With 35 years of community involvement as a coach, mentor and tutor, Uresti capitalized on his network of friends and family name — his brothers are state Sen. Carlos Uresti of San Antonio and Tax Assessor-Collector Albert Uresti.
“Democrats are going to pull together again to win this one,” Tomás Uresti said of the impending runoff.
A runoff between Lujan and Uresti would be Jan. 19.
Running a close third was Gabe Farias, the son of former state Rep. Joe Farias, D-San Antonio, who resigned from the House seat in June with more than a year remaining in his unexpired term.
Candidate Farias, 44, is CEO of the West Side Chamber of Commerce. His clan was competing with the Uresti family’s well-developed Democratic political network.
Bexar County Democratic Party Chairman Manuel Medina said his party’s candidates gathered most of the district’s votes and he predicted Uresti would prevail in a runoff.
“Republican Party predictions of inroads into this district were all wrong. We will now unite behind the Democratic Party front-runner, Tomás Uresti,” Medina said.
Also competing was Democrat Anthony Alcoser, 33, a former Harlandale ISD board member; and Republicans Richard A. Casias, 65, a Somerset rancher and retired colonel, and small-business owner Michael Holdman, 39, who previously made bids for Texas House District 119 and Schertz City Council.
District 118, which has about 86,500 registered voters, covers a large swath of Bexar County and includes neighborhoods on the East, South and Southeast sides.
While the special election competition is still underway to fill a term that runs through 2016, the race to fill the next full term in District 118 is about to begin. Starting Nov. 14, candidates of both parties will file for the March 1 primaries. Several of the candidates in the special election also intend to run for the full term.
Republican John Lujan and Democrat Tomas Uresti are headed to a runoff in the special election race to fill the unexpired term of former state Rep. Joe Farias of San Antonio in Texas House District 118.
The two top vote-getters outpaced the former lawmaker’s son, Democrat Gabe Farias, and three other candidates, according to nearly complete results posted by the Bexar County Elections Department.
Also running are Democrat Anthony Alcoser and Republicans Robert A. Casias and Michael Holdman.
The runoff is slated for Jan. 19.