Bryan Slaton will be the Republican Party nominee for Texas House of Representatives District 2 in the Nov. 3 general election. Slaton’s victory in the July 14 GOP primary runoff election over incumbent Dan Flynn makes Slaton the heavy favorite to defeat Democratic nominee Bill Brannon this fall in the reliably Republican district.
House District 2 is composed of Hopkins, Hunt and Van Zandt counties. Flynn, of Van, has represented the district in Austin since 2003. Slaton, of Royse City, had challenged Flynn before in 2016 and 2018.
Slaton won by a margin of 9,757 to 6,221 votes cast, good enough for a 61.07 percent to 38.93 percent victory over Flynn.
“I can't tell you how humbling it is to be so overwhelmingly supported by my community,” Slaton posted on social media. “To grassroots conservatives across the state, I promise you I won't back down from the fight next session. I want to thank Mr. Flynn for his service, and also let every one of Dan Flynn's voters know that my door is open, and I'm ready to serve you.”
Flynn, despite his outspoken support for President Trump and long record of conservative stances on various issues, could not overcome the Slaton campaign’s claim that Flynn has not been sufficiently conservative during recent legislative sessions.
Slaton received financial and messaging support from the hard-line conservative group Empower Texans, which has a history of helping insurgent Republican candidates unseat incumbents the group views as leaning toward the political center.
Flynn was endorsed by Gov. Greg Abbott, who has been criticized from the right wing of the Texas Republican Party for his response to the coronavirus crisis. Some prominent Texas Republicans, such as State Sen. Bob Hall, of Edgewood, have characterized the governor’s response to the pandemic as authoritarian and damaging for Texas businesses.
Hall, whose Senate District 2 includes all of House District 2, supported Slaton – an unusual move for a state senator of the same party to oppose an incumbent state representative in a shared district. Slaton’s victory echoed Hall’s defeat of longtime state senator Bob Deuell of Greenville in 2014.
“Obviously we are very disappointed,” Flynn told the Greenville Herald-Banner. “I will be calling Bryan and will be congratulating him.”
Percentages were fairly similar across the district’s three counties. Slaton fared best in Hopkins County, with 64.57 percent (1,316 of 2,038 votes). Numbers in Flynn’s home county of Van Zandt and Slaton’s home county of Hunt were almost identical. Slaton took Hunt County with 60.54 percent of the vote (4,386 of 7,245) and Van Zandt County with 60.57 percent (4,055 of 6,695).
Turnout was light, typical of party primary runoff elections. Of eligible voters, 13.56 percent (15,978 of 117,866) participated in the election. Van Zandt County had the highest turnout by percentage of voters (17.77 percent; 6,695 of 37,685 voters). Hunt County turned out 12.75 percent (7,245 of 56,830), while participation was lowest in Hopkins County (8.73 percent; 2,038 of 23,351).
Democratic candidate Bill Brannon, of Como, was unopposed in his party’s primary. Flynn defeated Brannon in the 2018 general election.