Republican Michael Cloud wins special election to succeed Farenthold

July 01–9 p.m. update: Republican Michael Cloud has been declared the winner of the special election in Texas’ 27th Congressional District.

With more than 88 percent of precincts reporting, Cloud had 54 percent of the vote and Democrat Eric Holguin had 32 percent. Cloud had to win more than 50 percent of votes to avoid a runoff election.

Cloud, the former chairman of the Victoria County GOP, will complete the term of former U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold, who resigned in April following a sexual harassment scandal. Cloud will hold the seat until November’s midterm elections, where he will again face off with Holguin.

Earlier: Polls have now closed in the special election for Texas’ 27th Congressional District, where nine candidates are vying to replace former U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold and gain an early edge before November’s midterm races.

The winner of Saturday’s election must gain more than 50 percent of the vote. If no candidate reaches that threshold, the top two vote-getters will square off in a runoff election, likely to be held in September.

The seat became vacant after Farenthold, R-Corpus Christi, resigned in April amid reports that he used taxpayer money to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by one of his congressional staffers.

On the ballot are Republicans Michael Cloud, Marty Perez and Bech Bruun; Democrats Eric Holguin, Raul “Roy” Barrera and Michael Westergren; Independents Judith Cutright and Christopher Suprun; and Libertarian Daniel Tinus.

Just three of those candidates — Cloud, Holguin and Tinus — are on the November ballot seeking a full term. Cloud and Holguin each secured their party’s nominations for the general election during runoffs held last month.

Cloud is largely seen as the favorite to win in November and represent the conservative 13-county district, which stretches from the Coastal Bend to Bastrop and Caldwell counties. The former chairman of the Victoria County GOP was endorsed by Gov. Greg Abbott earlier this week.

Abbott used his emergency authority related to disaster relief to call the special election, saying the district needs a voice in Washington to lobby for Hurricane Harvey relief funds. Many of the counties in the coastal district were ravaged by Hurricane Harvey’s 130 mph winds and record rainfall, and some are still struggling to recover.

But Abbott has also drawn criticism for the special election, which could cost up to $200,000. If no candidate is elected on Saturday, the district’s 13 counties will have to pay for another runoff election.

Election results will be updated throughout the night on the Secretary of State’s website.

This article provided by NewsEdge.