ELECTION NIGHT BLOG: MJ Hegar will be Texas Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate, West concedes Wednesday

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — Voters, those who haven’t voted early, at least, are headed to the polls for the primary runoff election and special election to fill a spot vacated by a Texas state senator.

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Monday, 9:10 a.m.

Royce West has conceded to MJ Hegar in the Democratic Runoff for U.S. Senate and wished his opponent luck with her upcoming showdown with incumbent John Cornyn in November.

West received 47.9% of votes in the runoff, trailing Hegar by just 40,000 votes.

“I am thankful to every person who voted for me, who donated and who volunteered for my campaign,” West said. He also thanked his family and campaign staff.

“I also congratulate MJ Hegar on her win. I have been working to elect Democrats for decades, and I look forward to turning Texas blue in November,” he added.

11:45 p.m.

MJ Hegar is the projected winner in the Democratic Runoff for U.S. Senate and will face-off against Republican incumbent John Cornyn in November. Hegar holds 52.1% of the vote with 78% reporting.

Former Democratic Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg congratulated Hegar via Twitter:

Meanwhile, West has not conceded, saying that there are “still many boxes out in urban centers” and at least 37,000 uncounted votes.

10:40 p.m.

Donna Imam is the projected winner in the Democratic Runoff for U.S. House District 31, with 62% reporting. Imam holds 56.3% of the vote, while opponent Christine Eady Mann holds 43.7%.

Eady Mann took to Twitter to concede and congratulate Imam.

10:25 p.m.

Delia Garza is the projected winner in the Democratic Runoff for Travis County Attorney, with 76% reporting. Garza holds 56.8% of the vote, while opponent Laurie Eiserloh holds 43.2%.

Ann Howard is the projected winner in the Democratic Runoff for Travis County Commissioner, Precinct 3, with 76% reporting. Howard holds 65.2% of the vote, while opponent Valinda Bolton holds 34.8%.

Dimple Malhotra is the projected winner in the Democratic Runoff for Travis County Court at Law No. 4, with 76% reporting. Malhotra holds 55.2% of the vote, while opponent Margaret Chen Kercher holds 44.8%.

Meanwhile, Jose Garza took to Twitter to thanks his supporters in his Tuesday night victory to become the Democratic nominee for Travis County District Attorney.

10:15 p.m.

Carrie Isaac is the projected winner in the Republican Runoff for Texas House District 45, with 70% reporting. Isaac holds 62.8% of the vote, while opponent Keny Wymore holds 37.2%.

10 p.m.

Mike Siegel is the projected winner in the Democratic Runoff for U.S. House District 10, with 68% reporting. Minutes earlier, opponent Pritesh Gandhi conceded.

Rick Kennedy is the projected winner in the Democratic Runoff for U.S. House District 17, with 88% reporting. Kennedy currently holds 58.4% of the vote.

Pete Sessions is the projected winner in the Republican Runoff for U.S. House District 17, with 89% reporting.

Justin Berry leads Jennifer Fleck in the Republican Runoff for Texas House District 47, with 20% reporting. Berry currently holds 55.2% of the vote.

Chrysta Castaneda is the projected winner in the Democratic Runoff for Railroad Commissioner, with a 62% lead and 66% reporting.

9:55 p.m.

Pritesh Gandhi has conceded to Mike Siegel in the Democratic Runoff for U.S. House District 10. Currently, Siegel leads with 55.4% of the vote with 68% reporting.

In the Republican Runoff for U.S. House District 17, Pete Sessions leads Renee Swann 53.9% with 84% reporting.

9:45 p.m.

MJ Hegar still leads Royce West in the U.S. Senate Democratic Runoff with 52.2% and 61% reporting.

Delia Garza leads Laurie Eiserloh in the Democratic Runoff for Travis County Attorney. Garza currently holds 54.9% of the vote with 0% reporting.

For the Democratic Runoff for Travis County Commissioner, Precinct 3, Ann Howard leads Valinda Bolton with 66% of the vote, 0% reporting.

9:30 p.m.

Democrat Sarah Eckhardt is leading Eddie Rodriguez in the Democratic special election for Texas Senate District 14, with 50.5% and 23% reporting. Republican Don Zimmerman leads in his party’s race, with 12.5% of the vote.

For the Democratic Runoff in U.S. House District 10, Mike Siegel still leads Pritesh Gandhi with 55.5% and 67% reporting.

On Twitter, former Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders congratulated Jose Garza for his victory to become the Democratic nominee for Travis County District Attorney.

9:15 p.m.

MJ Hegar still leads Royce West in the U.S. Senate Democratic Runoff with 52.4% and 57% reporting.

Lani Popp is the projected winner in the Republican Runoff for the State Board of Education, District 5. Popp leads Robert Morrow with 78.8% and 58% reporting.

9 p.m.

Carrie Isaac leads Kent Wymore in the Republic Runoff for Texas House District 45. Isaac currently holds 62.8% with 70% reporting.

In the Democratic Runoff for Railroad Commissioner, Chrysta Castaneda leads Roberto, R. “Beto” Alonzo with 62.6% and 50% reporting.

8:50 p.m.

MJ Hegar is still leading Royce West in the U.S. Senate Democratic Runoff, with 52% of votes and 50% reporting.

8:40 p.m.

For the special election in Texas Senate District 14, Sarah Eckhardt is still leading Eddie Rodriguez in the Democratic race, with 51.1% and 23% reporting.

8:30 p.m.

MJ Hegar is still leading Royce West in the U.S. Senate Democratic Runoff, with 51.7% of votes and 44% reporting.

Jenny Sharon is leading William Hayward with 53.3% of votes in the U.S. House District 35 Republican Runoff, with 20% reporting.

8:15 p.m.

For the special election in Texas Senate Dist. 14, Democrat Sarah Eckhardt leads Eddie Rodriguez with 51.1% with 1% reporting. In the same district, Republican Don Zimmerman leads Waller Thomas Burns with 11.7%.

In the Democratic Runoff in U.S. House District 31, Donna Imam is holding on to a lead of 52.7% over Christine Eady Mann with 40% reporting.

In U.S. House District 10, Mike Siegel still leads Pritesh Gandhi with 55.5% and 50% reporting.

8:01 p.m.

Margaret Moore released a statement conceding as Travis County District Attorney, saying that after receiving initial election results she’s wishing “congratulations to my opponent for his victory tonight.”

As of Tuesday at 8:01 p.m., Democrat Jose Garza leads Moore with 68% of the early vote and no Election Day reporting yet.

8 p.m.

MJ Hegar is now leading Royce West in the Democratic Runoff for U.S. Senate. She currently has 50.3% with 35% reporting.

For U.S. House District 10’s Democratic Runoff, Mike Siegel is still in the lead with 55.6% and 46% reporting.

Rick Kennedy leads David Anthony Jaramillo with 60.4% and 35% reporting in U.S. House District 17’s Democratic Runoff.

7:34 p.m.

Royce West is still leading MJ Hegar with 31% reporting. Currently, West has 50.9% of the vote.

Meanwhile, for U.S. House District 17, Rick Kennedy is leading David Anthony Jaramillo with 64.4% of the vote and 31% reporting.

In U.S. House District 17’s Republican Runoff, Pete Sessions has 51.9% of the vote over Renee Swann, with 23% reporting.

Donna Imam is leading with 51% of the vote for the Democratic Runoff in U.S. House District 17, with 10% reporting.

7:15 p.m.

Royce West is leading MJ Hegar for U.S. Senate with 52.3% with 24% reporting.

For U.S. House District 10, Mike Siegel is leading Pritesh Gandhi with 52.9% and 20% reporting.

7 p.m.

The polls have closed, but any one who was in line before 7 p.m. will be able to cast their vote.

6 p.m.

As of 6 p.m., 37,000 people have voted in Travis County on Tuesday, according to the Travis County Clerk’s office.

97,994 voters cast ballots in Travis County during early voting. That’s an 11.8% turnout.

3:20 p.m.

Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir reports over 25,000 people have voted on Election Day in Travis County as of 3 p.m.

1:10 p.m.

KXAN photojournalist Julie Karam caught up with Travis County Chief Deputy Clerk Dana Hess this morning and talked to her about how Tuesday morning compared to the one of Super Tuesday, which was filled with polling place issues as volunteers didn’t show up as the novel coronavirus was emerging in the area.

“We were a little bit more ready,” Hess said of this go-round. “We’re using different locations, like bigger rec centers instead of grocery stores, so we can spread out our equipment better. Travis County has spent a lot of time and money to make polling locations safe.”

As the General Election in November approaches, it’s a question that county elections officials have to deal with: Where are people going to vote with proper social distancing?

“Grocery stores, highly unlikely,” Hess said. “Schools, I think it will be difficult. It just really depends on what the schools look like.”

If schools have students in them, using them is probably out of the question, Hess said. If students aren’t there, then maybe.

“It’s a work-in-progress, as everything has been since we’ve been in this pandemic,” Hess said.

Hess said cafeterias and gyms in schools are great for them. It allows staff to easily space out equipment to allow for social distancing.

More than 16,000 mail-in ballots have come in, Hess said, and typically for a primary, the county receives around 1,000-2,000.

Hess said they are hoping to get most of the votes counted Tuesday, but said it will be difficult to have results in close races by the end of the night.

11:30 a.m.

Voters came out to the Ben Hur Shrine Temple Tuesday morning to cast their ballots.

KXAN photojournalist Frank Martinez went out around 10:30 a.m. to see if folks were lined up at the polling place, which from what officials tel KXAN, is one of the busier spots during an election.

runoff election day July 14
Voters show up to cast their ballots at the Ben Hur Shrine Temple in Austin July 14. (KXAN Photo/Frank Martinez)
runoff election day July 14
Voters show up to cast their ballots in the runoff election at the Ben Hur Shrine Temple in Austin. (KXAN Photo/Frank Martinez)

7 a.m.

The polls are now open, and before you perform your civic duty, here’s everything you need to know about Tuesday’s election.

Travis County spent $1 million to put protections in for both voters and staff ahead of the runoffs and special election. They were originally scheduled for May 26 but were moved back to help limit the spread of COVID-19.

Here’s a list of candidates and a few short breakdowns of some of the races we’ll be watching:

U.S. Senate – Democratic

MJ Hegar

Royce West

Hegar is an Air Force veteran, a helicopter pilot wounded in combat.  West has served 25 years as a State Senator from Dallas.  West has campaigned on his experience as a lawmaker, and has earned endorsements from many elected Democrats in Texas.  Hegar has run as an outsider, and has the backing of national Senate Democratic leaders and has led the race in fundraising.   The winner of this race will take on Republican incumbent John Cornyn in November.

U.S. House District 10 – Democratic

Pritesh Gandhi

Mike Siegel

The winner of this race will take on incumbent Republican Michael McCaul in November.  Siegel was the Democratic nominee in 2018, and came within five percentage points of McCaul.  He campaigned as a progressive – backing ideas like the Green New Deal and Medicare For All, and gaining endorsements from Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.  Gandhi is a physician at a non-profit clinic.  He’s appeared frequently on cable news, talking about being on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19.  He’s led the way in fundraising, and has been airing TV ads for several weeks.

U.S. House District 31 – Democratic (Kaitlyn covered in March) 100 precincts

Donna Imam

Christine Eady Mann

Both candidates in this runoff say healthcare is their top issue.  Mann is a doctor in Cedar Park.  She supports single-payer health care.  Mann says the coronavirus crisis shows that we need a system where you don’t lose your healthcare if you lose your job.  Imam is a computer engineer.  She’s led the race in fundraising and has been airing television ads during the early voting period.  She also supports single-payer health care. Imam says the country needs people in Congress who understand technology.  The winner in this race faces incumbent Republican John Carter in November.

Texas Senate District 14 – Special Election

Eddie Rodriguez (D)

Sarah Eckhardt (D)

Don Zimmerman (R)

Waller Thomas Burns II (R)

Pat Dixon (L)

Jeff Ridgeway (I)

Six candidates are vying to replace Democrat Kirk Watson, who resigned to take a job with the University of Houston. Rodriguez is a State Representative representing Austin and Travis County. Sarah Eckhardt stepped down from her role as Travis County Judge in May to run for the office.  Don Zimmerman served on the Austin City Council for two years.  Waller Thomas Burns is a former prosecutor.  Pat Dixon served as a Lago Vista council member, and also served 10-years as the chair of the Libertarian Party of Texas.  Jeff Ridgeway is a practicing physician in Austin.

U.S. House District 17 – Democratic 

Rick Kennedy

David Anthony Jaramillo

U.S. House District 17 – Republican

Pete Sessions

Renee Swann

District 17 is an open seat – longtime Republican Congressman Bill Flores is retiring.  District 17 includes Waco, Bryan-College Station, and a small part of north Austin and northern Travis County.  It’s drawn to heavily favor Republicans – so the real race is between Sessions and Swann.  Sessions is a former Congressman from the Dallas area.  He lost his seat in 2018, then moved south to run for this open seat.  Swann is a businesswoman who co-owns an eye surgery business.  She’s endorsed by Flores.  Swann had to stop in-person campaign events earlier this month after testing positive for COVID-19, although she has been asymptomatic.  For the Democrats, Kennedy is a project manager from Pflugerville.  Jaramillo is a Marine veteran from Waco.

Texas House District 45 – Republican

Carrie Isaac

Kent “Bud” Wymore

This district covers Hays and Blanco counties.  The winner will take on Democrat Erin Zwiener, who flipped the seat from red to blue in 2018.  Isaac runs a non-profit that she touts as helping disabled veterans. Wymore is the general counsel for the Hays County Republican party.  Isaac is running to take back the seat held by her husband Jason – who stepped down to run unsuccessfully for Congress.

Texas House District 47 – Republican

Justin Berry

Jennifer Fleck This district covers western and south Travis County.  Democrat Vikki Goodwin flipped the district in 2018.  Berry is an Austin Police Officer.  Fleck is an Austin attorney.  Berry is endorsed by Gov. Greg Abbott.  Fleck has the backing of the conservative group Texas Values.

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