Political newcomer Shelley Luther sent shockwaves across the Texas political scene in her first bid for public office Tuesday, narrowly defeating challenger state lawmaker Drew Springer (R-Muenster) for a first place runoff seat in the special election to fill the District 30 State Senate seat.
The two will now face off in a special election runoff to be set by Gov. Greg Abbott, mostly likely in December.
The senate seat in the state legislature became open when incumbent State Senator Pat Fallon (R-Prosper) was selected by precinct chairs to replace Congressman John Ratcliff in Texas’ 4th Congressional District.
Abbott set the special election date at a record time, giving candidates roughly 30 days to put together campaigns across the 14-county district.
Four other candidates filed seeking the office beside Luther and Springer, bringing the total number of contenders to six, including three other Republicans, and one Democrat.
Both Luther and Springer came in nearly tied after the votes were finally tabulated, with Luther ahead of Springer by 164 votes, with 22,135 (32.17%) votes for Luther and 21,971 (31.93%) for Springer.
Luther became a nation-wide household name earlier this year when she refused to close her hair salon pursuant to executive orders from both Abbott and local officials.
A judge ordered Luther to be placed in jail on contempt charges when she refused to apologize for defending her employees’ right to make a living despite the government-mandated closures.
This prompted a massive backlash against the executive overreach, particularly against the way Gov. Abbott has used his powers to address the COIVD-19 virus.
Luther is seen as a political outsider who is highly critical of the Governor at a time when many state lawmakers are declining to speak out against the Governor’s actions.
Springer was elected to House District 68 in 2013, part of which overlaps SD30.
A veteran member of the House, Springer was appointed as Vice-Chair of County Affairs during the 2017 legislative session by former Speaker Joe Straus, and presently serves as Chair of the Agriculture and Livestock Committee, after being named to the position by current Speaker Dennis Bonnen.
Springer is also currently running for re-election as the Republican nominee for his State House seat, facing Democrat challenger Patsy Ledbetter in the upcoming November General Election.
If Springer is re-elected to his current post, and then elected to the vacant Senate seat, he will have to resign his House seat, causing another special election heading into the 2021 legislative session in January.
Check back with Lone Star Voice as we continue to monitor any new developments on this race.
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