In an overwhelming upset, Dr. Brad Buckley, of Salado, defeated incumbent state Rep. Scott Cosper in the Republican House District 54 runoff Tuesday, winning by about 1,260 votes, according to unofficial final results.
In Bell County, Buckley, who lives in Salado, received 2,889 votes, or 57.7 percent of the votes cast, to Cosper’s 2,117 votes — a 772-vote margin.
District 54 also includes Lampasas County, where Buckley outpolled Cosper 1,556 votes to 1,068 in final, unofficial results.
Buckley said Tuesday he attributed his win to his grassroots support and personal style with voters.
“It was a grassroots win, very old fashioned, door to door and hug to hug,” Buckley said. “We worked very hard, my family and supporters.”
Cosper could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
The District 54 race was one of a kind this year, as Cosper was the only incumbent House Republican to face a challenger in the runoff phase.
In the March 6 primary, Cosper received 4,472 votes — for 44.56 percent of the electorate — to Buckley’s 4,173 votes, or 41.58 percent. Larry Smith, of Killeen, received 1,390 votes, or 13.85 percent.
Cosper and Buckley largely split Lampasas County with 42.02 percent and 42.24 percent of the electorate, respectively, in the March 6 primary.
Cosper led the field in campaign funding, including a massive funding push from two political action committees tied to former Texas Speaker of the House Joe Straus.
Since Jan. 26 Cosper received $191,400 in contributions from two political action committees — the House Leadership Fund and the Associated Republicans of Texas Campaign Fund — which were primarily funded by Straus in 2018. Those contributions made up around 51 percent of Cosper’s combined campaign contributions during that time.
Buckley ran a relatively lightly funded campaign with minimal PAC support. Between Feb. 25 and May 12, Cosper outraised Buckley by a nearly 5-to-1 margin.
In the last week of the race, mailers between the two candidates became increasingly venomous with Cosper calling Buckley a liar and Buckley linking Cosper to Texas House Rep. John Zerwas, a House Speaker candidate who Buckley called a “liberal.”
Buckley said despite the barbs, he held no ill against Cosper and his campaign.
“He and I will likely get together and talk about things like two men,” Buckley said. “This whole campaign was just about different ideas, nothing personal. I’ve learned politics gets kind of crazy, and that happens.”
Buckley will go on to face Democrat Kathy Richerson, of Bell County, in the general election.
For the latest election results, go to kdhnews.com/centerforpolitics.
U.S. District 31
Democrat Mary Jennings “M.J.” Hegar, of Cedar Park, an Air Force veteran and author, won the Democratic runoff for the Texas Congressional District 31 nomination, according to the Texas Tribune.
Hegar faced Dr. Christine Eady Mann of Cedar Park, a family physician. As of 10 p.m., Hegar received 8,843 votes, or 62,2 percent of the electorate. Mann received 5,370 votes.
District 31 encompasses a section of the Interstate 35 corridor, Killeen and most of Fort Hood.
Hegar will face eight-term GOP Rep. John Carter, of Round Rock, in the Nov. 8 general election.
U.S. District 25
Austin attorney and medical professional Julie Oliver narrowly won the Texas Congressional District 25 Democratic runoff Tuesday.
Oliver beat out opponent Chris Perri, an Austin criminal defense attorney, with 12,005 votes, or 52.2 percent of the electorate. Perri had 10,984 votes.
Oliver will face incumbent Rep. Roger Williams, R-Austin, who was unopposed in March’s primary.