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In Texas House GOP runoffs, VanDeaver defeats Spencer, Pierson beats Holland

VanDeaver was one of the few Republicans opposing school vouchers who survived this spring's primary elections.

In Tuesday’s party primary runoff elections, two Northeast Texas Republican state representatives defended their seats against challengers. Of those two, one was successful, and one was not.

In Texas House District 1, incumbent Gary VanDeaver defeated challenger Chris Spencer. That district includes Lamar County, as well as counties to the east.

In Texas House District 33, challenger Katrina Pierson defeated incumbent Justin Holland. House District 33 is composed of Rockwall County, along with parts of southern Collin County.

Both VanDeaver and Pierson are the presumptive favorites to win the November general election. Neither Republican will face a Democratic opponent this fall.

VanDeaver was an outlier in this spring’s Texas Republican primaries. He was one of the handful of rural Republicans who opposed Gov. Greg Abbott’s school voucher plan. Of the eight House GOP primaries that went to runoffs, six races were won by challengers, all of whom support the creation of the educational savings accounts.

Overall, in this spring’s primaries, the pro-voucher contingent of Republican state representatives appears to have gained 15 seats going into next year’s session of the Texas Legislature.

In other Republican Party runoffs, on the State Board of Education, incumbent Pam Little defeated challenger Jamie Kohlmann in the race to be the GOP nominee for the District 12 seat. Little was elected to the office in 2018. District 12 includes most of Northeast Texas. Little will face Democrat George King in the Nov. 5 general election.