AUSTIN (KXAN) – From Nueces County in the south to Bastrop County in the north, Texas’s 27th Congressional District represents almost 740,000 residents. Amid sexual harassment allegations, incumbent GOP Rep. Blake Farenthold announced he would not be running for re-election.
Five Democratic and six Republican candidates fought in the Primary for a chance at the General Election.
Early voting totals show Republican Michael Cloud leading with 38 percent of the vote (around 5,000 votes), followed by Bech Bruun with 32 percent. Cloud, who was endorsed by U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, is currently a member of the State Republican Executive Committee and has previously served as county chair of the Victoria County Republican Party.
Bruun is the former chairman of the Texas Water Development Board, who served in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. Originally from Corpus Christi, Bruun worked under both Texas governors Greg Abbott and Rick Perry, the latter endorsing his candidacy for the Congressional seat. Bruun also led in fundraising during the campaign.
On the Democratic side, Raul (Roy) Barrera leads with 35 percent of the early vote (around 1,500 votes — significantly less than the number of voters in the Republican primary). Barrera sought the seat in 2016 and lost to Farenthold. Barrera has previously served as a Nueces County constable.
Ronnie McDonald, who follows Barrera with 28 percent of the early vote, is known locally for his time as Bastrop County judge during the 2011 Bastrop Complex Wildfire. McDonald ran for a seat in Congress in District 27 but was defeated by Rose Harrison.
In a not-so-distant third, with 22 percent of the early vote, is Vanessa Edwards Foster, who is the co-founder and president of the National Transgender Advocacy Coalition and is originally from Corpus Christi. Foster, who has worked for Barack Obama and John Kerry, is the first transgender person to be elected president of a National Women’s Political Caucus, for Harris County.