By Zach Tufenkjian | Contributor
Three Republican members of the Texas State Legislature were leading the vote totals in their reelection campaigns on Tuesday night.
Republican state senator Brian Birdwell was leading Democrat Robert Vick with roughly 199,000 votes to Vick’s 98,859 in the Texas Senate District 22 race as of 9:45 p.m with 23.93% of precincts reporting according to the Texas Secretary of State’s website.
In Texas House District 56, Republican state representative. Charles “Doc” Anderson was leading Democrat Katherine Turner-Pearson with 45,827 votes to Turner-Pearson’s 22,392 with slightly over one percent of precincts reporting.
Republican state representative Kyle Kacal ran unopposed in his race for Texas House of Representatives District 12. He obtained 45,534 votes with 2.25 percent of precincts reporting.
TEXAS SENATE 22
Sen. Birdwell, a non-profit director from Granbury, has represented Senate District 22 since 2010. His win will mark his fourth election that will award him another four-year term in the Texas Senate should he be certified as the winner.
A reaction to the election results could not be obtained from Birdwell’s campaign for this story.
Texas Senate District 22 includes the counties of McLennan, Hood, Johnson, Somervell, Bosque, Hill, Ellis, Navarro and Falls. The district also includes a small portion of Tarrant County. In March of 2020, the district contained a population of about 870,000 people. Voters in the district have historically leaned Republican during elections.
Birdwell was optimistic in the days leading up to election day. His campaign focused on border security, preserving the Second Amendment, supporting anti-abortion stances and other positions.
The Texas Legislature will reconvene for its 87th legislative session in January. In an email on Friday, Birdwell’s campaign team said that the senator’s legislative priorities would include addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, bolstering energy production and infrastructure in Texas and serving on the Senate’s Select Committee on Redistricting. Birdwell will also serve again as the chairman of the Senate’s Committee on Natural Resources and Economic Development.
Sen. Birdwell faced off against Democratic candidate Robert Vick of Granbury. Vick formerly served as the chairman of the Hood County Democratic Party. Among issues central to Vick’s campaign were healthcare, criminal justice reform, gun violence prevention and others.
Vick’s campaign could not be reached for comment on this story.
TEXAS HOUSE 56
State representative Charles “Doc” Anderson has served as Texas House of Representatives District 56’s representative since his election in 2004. He has subsequently been elected every two years since. If certified as the winner of his race, it will mark his ninth election to the Texas House.
Anderson campaign consultant and spokesman Todd Smith extended the Anderson campaign’s congratulations on a well-run race to Turner-Pearson in a phone interview on Tuesday night.
“[Anderson] will continue to be their [residents of District 56] voice in Austin,” Smith said. “Now it’s time to put the election behind us and get back to governing, and get back to work in bringing Texas back to work and back to normal after the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Smith said that the representative was watching election returns on Tuesday evening with fellow Republican colleagues, friends, and family.
Texas House District 56 is enclosed entirely within McLennan County and includes Baylor University. The district contains almost 175,000 people and has historically supported more Republican and conservative-leaning candidates running for office.
Anderson’s policy priorities for the upcoming legislative session include balancing the budget, uplifting the Texas economy and providing broadband access to rural areas. Anderson’s candidacy was endorsed by several groups, including Texas Right to Life, the National Rifle Association and others.
Rep. Anderson was challenged by Democrat Katherine Turner-Pearson, also of Waco. Turner-Pearson works as a registered archaeologist and ran on a platform of property tax, education, healthcare, and other reforms.
In a phone interview on Tuesday night, Turner-Pearson said she was still waiting for more votes to be reported before definitively conceding the election as of 9:30 p.m.
“Every single person’s vote counts,” Turner-Pearson said. “As of this point tonight I am still hopeful that McLennan County’s super off-the-top, out-of-the-park numbers for people voting will make a difference.”
Turner-Pearson reflected on her effort to meet voters at polling places on election day.
“I met people from all walks of life and many of them had never voted before,” Turner-Pearson said. “The real winner tonight is the fact that people who have never voted before have turned out to vote in McLennan County, and that is good for everybody if we can get people to vote, that means our democracy is working at its very best.”
Turner-Pearson said that she was participating in an outdoor election-night watch party on Tuesday evening.
TEXAS HOUSE 12
State representative Kyle Kacal of College Station was leading in his bid for another two-year term in Texas House District 12.
Texas House District 12 includes Falls, Limestone and Robertson counties and parts of Brazos and McLennan counties. The district, with a population of slightly over 165,000 people, leans Republican in elections.
Kacal is a rancher who operates a breeding and hunting cattle business near College Station. He is a graduate of Texas A&M University and served on the House Committees on Environmental Regulation and Culture, Recreation and Tourism during the 86th session of the Texas Legislature in 2019.
Kacal ran a campaign prioritizing illegal immigration, education reform, anti-abortion stances and other issues. Kacal’s candidacy was endorsed by the National Rifle Association, Texas Alliance for Life and Texas State Teachers Association, according to VoteSmart.org.
During a phone interview on Monday, Kacal said that he planned to spend election day visiting polling places and events for candidates running in the Bryan-College Station area.
Kacal’s campaign could not be reached Tuesday night for comment on this story.