Democrats hold on to Texas House seat in San Antonio special election runoff

Texas Tribune News

Ray Lopez is the Democratic candidate seeking election in District 125.
Ray Lopez is the Democratic candidate seeking election in District 125.
Miguel Gutierrez Jr./The Texas Tribune

Democrats easily kept control of a Texas House seat Tuesday night, holding off another push by the state’s top Republicans to flip a solidly blue district in a special election runoff.

With all precincts reporting, Democrat Ray Lopez defeated Republican Fred Rangel, 58 percent to 42 percent, according to unofficial returns. Lopez, a former member of the San Antonio City Council, is now set to replace former state Rep. Justin Rodriguez, D-San Antonio. Rodriguez gave up the seat in January to become a Bexar County commissioner.

Rangel, a longtime GOP activist, had the support of high-ranking Texas Republicans, including Gov. Greg Abbott and U.S. Sen. John Cornyn. They had hoped to replicate the success they had last year in Senate District 19, where they captured a seat under similar circumstances.

But Democrats were determined to prevent another humiliating upset, and they presented a more organized, united front once Lopez advanced to the runoff.

Rangel finished first in the initial Feb. 12 contest, getting 38 percent of the vote to 20 percent for Lopez. Rangel was the only GOP candidate in the race, while Lopez faced three fellow Democrats. They backed him in the runoff, as did every Democratic member of the Bexar County delegation to Austin.

The HD-125 runoff was the final contest since the November midterms to fill a vacant seat in the Legislature. After Lopez and state Rep.-elect Christina Morales, D-Houston, take office in the coming days, all 150 House seats will be occupied again.