Election officials were settling in for a long summer, but voters decided Saturday that Michael Cloud should go to congress now, and thus spared the county and District 27 yet another runoff.
Cloud, a Republican, bested eight other candidates in the special election to fill the seat vacated by Blake Farenthold, who quit congress in April amidst sexual harassment allegations, a congressional ethics investigation, and protests from groups opposed to his use of taxpayer dollars to silence his accuser. Gov. Greg Abbott even entered the conversation, demanding the former rep repay the money or face consequences that never were explained.
Cloud did nearly the unthinkable in such a crowded field of Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians and independents vying for the spot: he won over 50 percent of the vote and thus avoided having to appear in a runoff election later this summer.
And it wasn't even that close. Cloud scored 19,856 votes across the district, translating to 54.74 percent of the vote. The next closest candidate was Democrat Eric Holguin, who brought in 11,594 votes, or 31.96 percent.
Holguin will face Cloud again in November in the general election for the same seat. The winner of that race will take office in January when the next congressional term begins. The race that was decided Saturday was to fill Farenthold's unexpired term, which will run from now until December. Cloud is expected to be sworn into congress within the next couple of weeks after the votes from all of the counties have been canvassed.
In the parts of Gonzales County that includes District 27, 434 voters went to the polls. Of those, 288 selected Cloud, with 66.35 percent of the totals. Holguin received 86 votes for 19.81 percent. Not much support was levied for the other candidates on the card, with Democrats Raul “Roy” Barrera netting 23 votes and Michael Westergren getting 4. Republican Bech Bruun, who essentially dropped out of the race earlier this month, got 27 votes. Republican Marty Perez got two votes, and independent Judith Cutright got two as well. Independents Christopher Suprun and Libertarian Daniel Tinus snuck in with one vote each.
“I am pleased that Texas’ 27th Congressional District will finally have adequate representation in Washington D.C.," Gov. Abbott said in a statement. "As we approach the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Harvey, it is imperative that Texans who lost everything have a congressman who will continue to fight for their needs, and I know Michael will be that representative.”