Harrison, Wray advance to District 10 runoff

Well-funded Republicans to face off in tight 2-man race for state House seat

Bill Spinks
Waxahachie Daily Light
Texas House District 10 candidate Brian Harrison speaks to voters at a meet-and-greet in Maypearl on Aug. 17. Harrison squeaked past former state Rep. John Wray to win a plurality of votes in Tuesday's special election, and Harrison and Wray will advance to a runoff.

The two candidates showing the most campaign muscle in the race for the vacant Texas House District 10 seat are headed to a runoff.

A late surge in vote tabulations in Ellis County gave former Trump administration official Brian Harrison a 504-vote margin in the county and a 582-vote edge across the entire district over former three-term state Rep. John Wray on Tuesday night, after final unofficial results were posted by the Ellis County Elections Office.

However, Harrison did not come close to receiving a majority of votes. Therefore, Harrison and Wray will advance to a runoff election whose date will be set in coming days.

Brian Harrison

As of 9:12 p.m. on Tuesday, with all polling locations reporting across District 10, Harrison had 4,613 total votes, or 40.7%, to Wray’s 4,031 votes or 35.57% according to the Texas Secretary of State’s Office.

“Last night was a tremendous victory for conservatives who want someone to faithfully represent their values and be a reliable fighter for freedom and liberty,” Harrison said in a statement provided to the Daily Light and Mirror on Wednesday.

“The voters were clear in their decision, with over 40 percent of them voting for me in an eight-way race. I agree with John Wray that the people of our District need to be represented in the special legislative sessions ‘immediately,’ and the honorable thing for John Wray to do is to take his own advice and not pursue a costly and unnecessary runoff.”

John Wray

Wray’s reaction to the outcome was more succinct.

“Thank you to everyone who voted, volunteered, and endorsed our campaign! Michele and I are excited to be in the runoff and grateful for the amazing outpouring of support we have received through this process,” Wray wrote on Twitter.

Democrat Pierina Otiniano was a distant third with 1,231 votes or 11.3%. Republican Kevin Griffin finished with 883 votes or 7.79%, and Republican Clark Wickliffe, independent Scott Goodwin, Republican Susan Mellina Hayslip and Libertarian Matt Savino brought up the rear.

Wray and Harrison were the two favorites to advance to a runoff from the start, with each gaining endorsements from GOP dignitaries and organizations across the county and state. Wray, who held the seat from 2014 until his term ended on Jan. 12 of this year, is seeking to return to Austin after deciding not to run for re-election.

The new Ellis County Elections Office, located at 204 E. Jefferson St. in Waxahachie.

Of 122,520 registered voters in Ellis County, only 5,757 cast an early ballot, or 4.70%. That included 520 absentee ballots and 5,237 votes cast at early voting centers across the county. The final count of total ballots cast was 10,783, or an 8.8% turnout.

Of the eight candidates on the ballot, only seven remained in the race to Election Day. Hayslip, a Republican retired attorney from Waxahachie, withdrew from the race and endorsed Harrison last week.

The special election was necessary because of the July 27 runoff victory by Jake Ellzey, the former officeholder, for the U.S. House District 6 seat. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott called a special election on Aug. 6, setting up a pell-mell rush of candidates over a 25-day period.