Dems choose Hegar, Castaneda to challenge for Senate, Railroad Commissioner
Llano County voters elected Debra (Deb) Edwards to fill out the unexpired Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace tenn during Tuesday's Republican runoff in complete but unofficial returns.
Voters also overwhelmingly supported Lani Popp for the District 5 State Board of Education seat, helping her soundly defeat opponent Robert Morrow, a former Travis County GOP chair who drew criticism from fellow Republicans for comments Morrow has made about President Donald Trump.
On the Democratic side, Llano County voters threw their backing behind eventual winners Mary "MJ" Hegar for U.S. Senate and Chrysta Castaneda for railroad commissioner.
In the Precinct 3 JP race, Edwards defeated her runoff opponent, Dorothy "Dot" Wooten, with 21 6 votes (62.61 percent) to Wooten's 129 (37.39 percent). Edwards was appointed last year to replace former JP Era Marion after the latter stepped down from the position when she moved out of the area. Now she will fill out the remainder of Marion's tenn through 2022 as Edwards will not have an opponent in the November general Popp election.
Edwards and Wooten were the top two votegetters in the March primary, advancing from a field of four candidates, but neither had gained more than 50 percent of the vote to avoid the runoff, which was moved back to July 14 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Precinct 3 serves the Kingsland area of Llano County.
In the State Board of Education race, Popp received a total of 55,670 votes throughout District 5, or 77.94, as she easily defeated Castaneda Morrow, who received just 15,756 votes, or 22.06 percent. In Llano County, Popp received 1,462 votes, or 81.72 percent, to just 327, or 18.28 percent, for Morrow. Popp now faces Democrat Rebecca Beli-Metereau and Libertarian Stephanie Berlin in the November general election. The winner will succeed Kent Mercer, who did not seek re-election.
In an unusual move, the Llano County Republican Party announced earlier this year it endorsed Popp and was actively campaigning against Morrow, a onetime fringe presidential candidate who was called out by party leadership for allegedly making “misogynistic and vulgar” statements about candidates from both parties as well as making criminal allegations against President Trump and other GOP officeholders and behaving in a manner “demeaning to the Republican Party and to the office to which he seeks election.”
In the U.S. Senate race, Democrats chose Hegar to be their nominee in November as statewide the former U.S. Army search and rescue and medevac pilot received 498,180 votes, or 52.13, to 457,555 votes, or 47.87, for state Sen. Royce West of Dallas.
Hegar will face off against incumbent U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, the Republican nominee. In Llano County, Hegar received 598 votes, or 84.82 percent, to just 107, or 15.18 percent, for West.
Castañeda received 61.95 percent of the votes statewide, or 575,460, to claim victory in the railroad commission race against Roberto “Beto” Alonzo, who received 353,399, or 38.05 percent. She will now square off in November against James Wright, the Republican nominee, who upset incumbent Ryan Sitton in the March primary. In Llano County, Castañeda received 531 votes, or 77.53 percent, to 151 votes for Alonzo.
There was not a GOP runoff election in Burnet County as all races on the ballot in the primary were decided in March.
More than 1,000 Democrats went to the polls for the same two races as voters in Llano County saw.
In the Senate race, Burnet County voters gave their overwhelming support to Hegar, as she received 864 vote or 85.21 percent. West only received 150 votes or 14.79 percent.
In the Railroad Commissioner race, Castañeda received 693 votes or 69.86 percent, compared to 299 votes, or 30.14 percent, for Alonzo.