School choice was one of the most discussed topics by Texas candidates leading into Tuesday’s Republican primary, and the effects of these discussions seemingly played a major role in the outcome of multiple races.

Stances on school choice and endorsements from well-known state officials likely contributed to 11 incumbents losing their seats in the Texas House of Representatives, with another eight currently set to face off against challengers in runoff elections on May 28.

As previously highlighted by The Dallas Express, many primary races for House Republicans relied heavily on the impact of school choice.

Texas House District 1:

Gary VanDeaver (i) – 13,912 votes, 45.5%

Chris Spencer – 13,155 votes, 43.1%

Dale Huls – 3,490 votes, 11.4%

Vandeaver is set to face off in a May 28 runoff election against Spencer, with school choice playing a major factor in the upcoming race.

The incumbent has previously voiced his displeasure with school choice, while the challenger has openly stated his support. 

Spencer’s belief in school choice prompted an endorsement from Gov. Greg Abbott, which likely helped boost the number of votes received.

Texas House District 7:

Jay Dean (i) – 15,590 votes, 72%

Joe McDaniel – 4,964 votes, 22.9%

Bonnie Walters- 1,113 votes, 5.1%

Despite being vocal about his dislike of school choice, Dean won the race to represent HD 7 in a landslide and will not face off against any of his challengers in a runoff election.

Texas House District 11:

Joanne Shofner – 19,695 votes, 63.0%

Travis Clardy (i) – 11,587 votes, 37%

Shofner won the right to represent HD 11 outright in her race against the incumbent.

While Clardy previously voted in favor of an amendment that removed school vouchers from an education bill, Shofner stated that she would support the implementation of school choice in the Lone Star State.

These opinions prompted Abbott to endorse Shofner, stating that the challenger “represents the values of East Texas,” as previously reported by DX.

Texas House District 18:

Janis Holt – 15,005 votes, 53.2%

Ernest Bailes (i) – 10,960 votes, 38.8%

Stephen A. Missick – 2,257 votes, 8%

Challenger Holt won the race to represent HD 18 with no need for a runoff election in May. Holt previously earned an endorsement from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

Texas House District 33:

Katrina Pierson – 9,715 votes, 39.4%

Justin Holland (i) – 9,554 votes, 38.8%

Dennis London – 5,360 votes, 21.8%

Holland and Pierson are set to face off in a runoff election in May, with the two sides being on opposite ends in the fight over school choice. 

Holland previously stated that he would prefer “teacher pay raises and accountability for testing reforms.” In contrast, Pierson has voiced an opposite opinion on the topic and said that her top priority would be to “empower parents” if elected, according to earlier reporting from DX.

Texas House District 44:

Alan Schoolcraft – 10,910 votes, 48.1%

John Kuempel (i) – 10,213 votes, 45%

Greg Switzer – 1,030 votes, 4.5%

David Freimarck – 523 votes, 2.3%

A runoff election will be held in May between Schoolcraft and Kuempel, where the incumbent will attempt to retain his position as the HD 44 representative. 

Kuempel has expressed disapproval of school choice in the past, stating that he would rather strengthen the public school system. On the other hand, Schoolcraft has stated that he would support the implementation of school choice, which earned him endorsements from both Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.

Texas House District 55:

Hillary Hickland – 9,107 votes, 53.1%

Hugh Shine (i) – 6,775 votes, 39.5%

Davis Ford – 775 votes, 4.5%

Jorge J. Estrada – 493 votes, 2.9%

Hickland was a challenger in this race and won outright, preventing any potential runoff election.

Hickland previously obtained an endorsement from Abbott, who claimed she is the “kind of new conservative leader we need in Austin to deliver results in the Texas House.”

Texas House District 58:

Helen Kerwin – 11,519 votes, 48.9%

DeWayne Burns (i) – 9,706 votes, 41.2%

Lyndon Laird – 2,329 votes, 9.9%

Since none of the candidates vying to represent HD 58 earned a majority of the votes, a runoff election is set to occur between Burns and Kerwin.

Kerwin has consistently voiced her approval of school choice within the state, noting in a social media post that “school choice is a pathway to success for everyone.”

These opinions resulted in Abbott and Paxton endorsing Kerwin in her race against Burns, but it remains to be seen if the endorsement will be enough to propel her to victory in May.

Texas House District 60:

Mike Olcott – 25,238 votes, 63.4%

Glenn Rogers (i) – 14,550 votes, 36.6%

A runoff election is not necessary in the race to represent HD 58 due to Olcott receiving a majority of the votes cast.

Olcott has claimed to support school choice in Texas, writing on his campaign website that he believes parents should “have the right to direct their child’s education and the money that is being spent educating their child.”

Texas House District 62:

Shelley Luther – 16,946 votes, 53.4%

Reggie Smith (i) – 14,774 votes, 46.6%

Since Luther obtained a majority of the votes in HD 62, a runoff will not be needed to determine the winner of this race.

The challenger has openly stated that she believes the government should not interfere with a child’s education and that funding should “follow a child for their education with NO hidden government strings or rules attached, now or in the future.”

Texas House District 71:

Stan Lambert (i) – 13,998 votes, 52.4%

Liz Case – 12,713 votes, 47.6%

Lambert earned greater than 51% of votes cast and will retain his role as the representative for HD 71 without participating in a runoff election in May.

He defeated his challenger despite an endorsement from Abbott, who chose to support Case because Lambert voted for an amendment to remove school choice from an education bill.

Texas House District 72:

Drew Darby (i) – 14,008 votes, 56.9%

Stormy Bradley – 10,592 votes, 43.1%

A runoff election will not be required in this race due to the incumbent obtaining a majority of the votes.

Darby previously expressed his dislike for school choice when he voted to strip the amendment from an education bill, also stating that the funding would be provided “without the same testing, without the same transparency (and) without the same open enrollment policy that public schools have,” according to Fox West Texas.

Texas House District 88:

Ken King (i) – 17,853 votes, 77.6%

Karen Post – 5,164 votes, 22.4%

The incumbent in this race earned more than 51% of the votes cast, meaning a runoff election will not be held for HD 88.

King has discussed the idea of implementing school choice in Texas, saying he is concerned about the lack of accountability and that the program would likely provide no benefit to the members of his district.

Texas House District 99:

Charlie Geren (i) – 9,053 votes, 60.2%

Jack Reynolds – 5,993 votes, 39.8%

Geren received a majority of the votes in HD 99, resulting in him retaining his role as the representative for the district. The incumbent winner previously voted against school choice, writing on his campaign website that he would rather focus on strengthening the public school system.

Texas House District 121:

Marc LaHood – 11,796 votes, 53.5%

Steve Allison (i) – 8,695 votes, 39.4%

Michael Champion – 1,571 votes, 7.1%

LaHood will now serve as the representative for HD 121 after receiving more than 51% of the votes, thus avoiding the need for a runoff election between him and Allison.

LaHood has been a strong advocate of school choice, writing in a social media post that one of his priorities would be to “pass real school choice in Texas!” These beliefs prompted Abbott to endorse LaHood in his race, claiming that the challenger “will fight side-by-side with me to empower parents, secure our border, and lower property taxes.”