July 14, 2020 743 PM
PRESIDIO COUNTY — Polls closed for runoff elections in Presidio County at 7 p.m. on Tuesday. With all precincts reporting, candidates are declaring victories, and in one close contest for the Republican nomination for Texas’ 23rd District, a minuscule seven vote difference has candidate Tony Gonzales claiming victory over Raul Reyes – who says it’s not over yet.
The July 14 runoff races included Democrats Mary “MJ” Hegar and state Senator Royce West, who were facing off for the opportunity to challenge Republican incumbent John Cornyn for a U.S. Senate seat. With all the votes tallied in Presidio County, Hegar defeated West with 161 votes to his 103. In the rest of the state, voting ended with Hegar defeating West with 52.1% of the vote to West’s 47.9%.
On Twitter, Hegar claimed victory and shifted her focus towards sending “John Cornyn packing in November,” while late Tuesday night West argued that “at last count, 37,000 votes remained uncounted.” West fell short of winning by approximately 40,000 votes according to the final polling tally; early Wednesday morning West conceded.
Also on the ballot were Democrats Roberto R. “Beto” Alonzo and Chrysta Castañeda, running for a chance to join the Texas Railroad Commission, which regulates energy industries in Texas. Castañeda received 177 votes from Presidio County, beating Alonzo, who fell short with 76 votes. As results are finalized across Texas, Castañeda looks to have won handily, receiving 62% and overcoming Alonzo by more than 200,000 votes. Castañeda will now go on to oppose Republican Jim Wright in November.
On the Republican side, Tony Gonzales, who was endorsed by Representative Will Hurd and President Donald Trump, and Raul Reyes, endorsed by Senator Ted Cruz, battled in the only race on the local Republican ballot. With all results accounted for in Presidio County, Gonzales fell short of his opponent, getting 48 votes to Reyes’ 56.
But with 100% of polls reporting, Gonzales’ vote tally across Texas’ 23rd District came out exactly seven votes higher than Reyes. But given that the result is without all mail-in votes accounted for, at the moment the race is too close to call.
Despite this, Gonzales has claimed victory on Twitter, but a recount in this situation seems likely. Reyes sounded off on Facebook claiming that the race “is far from over,” and that there are still many votes that need to be counted — including absentee and military ballots. Whoever wins will earn a chance to oppose Democrat Gina Ortiz Jones in the general election for the U.S. House of Representatives’ District 23 seat.
In the race for the Democratic nomination for TX Senate District 19, which includes Brewster County, the contentious battle between Roland Gutierrez and Xochil Peña Rodriguez ended with Gutierrez at 52.7% and Rodriguez behind at 47.3%. In Brewster County, Rodriguez earned more votes than Gutierrez.
Also in Brewster County, Reyes, Hegar and Castañeda beat back their opponents to win the majority support of Brewster County voters.
According to the election clerk, in-person voters this time around were met with a number of safety precautions that included masks being provided, on-site hand sanitizer, and a maximum of two people allowed to vote at one time. Additionally, all workers at the polls were wearing masks.