EAST TEXAS (KLTV) - The votes are in and there were a few upsets throughout the night.
Sen. Ted Cruz managed to hang onto his senate seat, securing 52 percent of the votes. Cruz faced a challenge from Democrat Beto O’Rourke and Libertarian Neal M. Dikeman. Both Cruz and O’Rourke campaigned heavily across the state, holding rallies in Tyler and Longview. O’Rourke came close to being the first Democratic senator in the Lone Star state in almost three decades. Though he fell short, his supporters remain optimistic, saying the number of people who cast a Democratic ballot this year in Texas was still an accomplishment in the traditionally red state. Cruz secured more than 51 percent of the vote to O’Rourke’s 47 percent.
And Congressman Louie Gohmert is celebrating a win after being re-elected to the U.S. House of Representatives District 1 seat. Gohmert beat Democratic challenger Shirley Mckellar with more than 70 percent of the vote. Gohmert’s win comes as Democrats took control of the House.
“I’m hoping that as (Nancy) Pelosi and Hillary Clinton have talked about. That if they can get control they can be civil again. But all of this hatred and animosity. We gotta be able to disagree without destroying each other.”
Gohmert calls the shift in the house, “heartbreaking.” He’s held the seat in Congress since 2005.
In the much debated race for the District 6 House of Representatives position, Neal Katz lost to Rep. Matt Schaefer. But Katz says no matter what the outcome was, he is proud he was able to put the independent party on the map here in Texas. Katz is a well-known Rabbi in the Tyler area and says community service is a huge calling for him. He says although Schaefer won this race, he will continue to be an advocate for local politics. Texas House District 6 encompasses about 160,000 residents in and around the city of Tyler. Rep. Schaefer, who was first-elected to the Texas State House of Representatives back in 2012, was re-elected for a new term. Schaefer spoke about his plans for his next term which include border security, education, and property tax reform.
District 11 State Rep. Travis Clardy will serve another term for those Pineywoods. He says he ran a successful campaign and is pleased to serve rural East Texans on issues that matter to them such as public education. But this year Clardy has his eyes on for the speaker position at the State Capitol. “I’ve been running two campaigns this fall. One for House District 11 - which we’ve run successfully, have had a great staff, great team, great team of volunteers on board. It’s been a good effort and successful conclusion. But the next step is to be speaker. And so I’ve submitted my candidacy, filed the paperwork and I’m very optimistic about the opportunity that I have, that I have to be the next speaker house in the 86th legislature,” Clardy said. Members of the House get to select the speaker- a position only 150 people at the house get to elect him on.
Another close race was the contest for Texas State Attorney General. Incumbent Ken Paxton led Democratic challenger Justin Nelson with 51 percent of the vote to Nelson’s 46 percent. Libertarian candidate Michael Ray Harris had 2.35 percent of the vote.
In Longview, several bonds were up for voters to decide. The first bond, Proposition A, is a $52 million bond for building, renovating, or equipping police and fire stations and relocating the fire and police training center. Proposition B deals with streets and infrastructure for street and road improvements. Proposition C is a $24 million bond for improvements and additions to city parks. That includes trails, playing fields, and other sports and recreational facilities. Prop A passed with 11486 for and 6348 against; Prop B passed with 12. 006 for and 5866 against; and Prop C passed with 10,529 for and 7,319 against.
In Smith County, incumbent County Judge Nathaniel Moran, R, easily cruised to a victory over Democrat Michael K. Mast, taking home 78 percent of the vote. Meanwhile, in Lindale, voters supported the Lindale ISD bond. Sixty-eight percent of voters were for the bond election.
In Nacogdoches County, voters are celebrating the passage of a $78 million Nacogdoches ISD bond. It’s the first bond to pass in Nacogdoches since 2001. Superintendent Alton Frailey said he’s been told this bond was different due to the clarity of presentation to voters.
Candidates for 168 positions across East Texas won their primary elections this past spring and do not have a challenger from an opposing party this fall. This means that candidates who won their party’s nomination in March will take office when the new terms begin.