August 2, 2018 500 AM
FAR WEST TEXAS – Republican Pete Flores and Democrat Pete Gallego have advanced to a runoff in the special election to replace convicted former state Sen. Carlos Uresti, D- San Antonio to represent Senate District 19, a district that stretches from Brewster County to San Antonio and the Lower Valley.
With all precincts reporting Tuesday night, Flores finished 5 points ahead of Gallego, 34 to 29 percent, according to unofficial results. Because no candidate won with 50 percent of the vote, the two will head to a runoff on a date to be picked by Gov. Greg Abbott in the coming weeks.
At 24 percent, Roland Gutierrez of San Antonio finished third in the eight-way race and he conceded in a statement, “We started in 5th place and came as close as you can get to making the runoff. I’m so proud of my team and grateful to the folks all over this district who supported us. The other five candidates received single digit outcomes, including state Rep. Tomas Uresti – Carlos’s brother – who was defeated in the March Democratic primary election.
The first-place finish by Flores, who ran unsuccessfully against Carlos Uresti in 2016, could be seen as advantageous to Republicans in the Democratic-leaning district. In the lead-up to the election Flores was endorsed by Texas’s top elected officials including Gov. Gregg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, and U.S. Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz.
After the results came in and congratulatory calls taken, Flores issued a statement insisting a second-round victory was within his reach.
“I know we can win this runoff, “ Flores said. “We will win this run off. The real work begins tomorrow.”
In an email sent to his supporters on Wednesday, Gallego stated, “I’m honored to represent the hopes, dreams and desires of the people in Senate District
19. This district is home – and the choices in this race are now clear. We cannot squander our opportunity to make a difference.”
The special election was triggered in June, when Carlos Uresti resigned after being found guilty of 11 felonies, including securities fraud and money laundering. He was sentenced to 12 years in prison days after he stepped down.
Attorney Gallego, an Alpine native, former longtime member of the Texas House of Representatives and one-term congressman, received 62 percent of the vote in Brewster County. Flores, a former Texas game warden received 27 percent in Brewster. Gutierrez, who campaigned heavily in Brewster Country, earned 6 percent. Much of the action was centered on Gallego and Gutierrez, which can explain the split in the Democratic vote, 7,541 to 6,351, including the other two Democratic candidates, the total Democratic votes came to 15,473. Comparatively, the Republican candidates received a total of 10,333.