Update: Updated at 1:35 a.m. Wednesday with 100% reporting and Taylor forced into a runoff.
WASHINGTON – Keith Self, who served 12 years as Collin County judge, forced two-term congressman Van Taylor into a runoff.
Taylor, a Plano Republican, was one of four Texas Republicans who rejected Donald Trump’s claims that Democrats stole the presidential election through fraud. Self and another challenger, businesswoman Suzanne Harp, had blasted him over his vote to certify President Joe Biden’s victory the day of the U.S. Capitol riot, turning the primary into a referendum of sorts on Trump’s baseless claims.
With 100% of precincts reporting, Taylor fell about 800 votes short of the 50% needed to avoid a runoff.
Trump endorsed 16 other Texas GOP incumbents seeking reelection to Congress but snubbed the four who refused to join in objections to Biden’s election.
Self accused Taylor, falsely, of supporting the House Jan. 6 investigation.
Taylor did vote to create a 9/11-style bipartisan commission. But when Senate Republicans killed that idea, he vehemently opposed creation of the House committee by Speaker Nancy Pelosi. He also echoes Trump’s complaints that it has turned into a partisan witch hunt.
Of the four incumbents snubbed by Trump, Taylor was the only one who faced a serious challenge, though he enjoyed a 4-1 financial edge over three opponents. The others sailed through the primaries: Reps. Dan Crenshaw of Humble, Tony Gonzales of San Antonio and Chip Roy of Austin.
Rep. Pete Sessions of Waco, formerly of Dallas, was the only Texas Republican who failed to get on Trump’s list even though he did vote to challenge Biden’s win.
But like the other incumbents who did get Trump’s seal of approval, he faced only token opposition and he coasted to a win Tuesday night.
Trump kept clear of a race to succeed his ally Rep. Kevin Brady of The Woodlands that, like Taylor’s race, reflects a simmering GOP civil war.
Morgan Luttrell enjoyed a wide lead over 10 rivals in the 8th District, north of Houston and appeared to have the nomination locked up late Tuesday. He was backed by Crenshaw – both were Navy SEALs – plus House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and former Gov. Rick Perry.
Luttrell served as an adviser when Perry was energy secretary, though his time in the Trump administration didn’t earn a nod.
The MAGA crowd, including Sen. Ted Cruz and conspiracy peddling U.S. Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Madison Cawthorne, backed Christian Collins, a conservative activist.
In East Texas’ 1st District, Smith County Judge Nathaniel Moran sailed past three rivals and was headed for the nomination to succeed Rep. Louie Gohmert. The Tyler Republican gave up his safe seat to challenge Attorney General Ken Paxton.
The race drew little attention outside the district and Trump kept out of it.
Trump did weigh in on two other open seats, though he waited until two weeks ago when it was clear who had emerged as the front-runners.
In South Texas, the former president backed Monica De La Cruz in a 9-way Republican field for the 15th District. She lost to Democratic Rep. Vicente Gonzalez of McAllen by just 6,000 votes in 2020. With most votes counted, she appeared to have sealed the nomination without a runoff.
Redistricting flipped the odds in this district, which runs from San Antonio to the Rio Grande. Trump lost the old 15th by 2 points. Under the new map, he would have won by 3 points.
It’s one of Texas’ few swing districts.
Gonzalez fled to a neighboring, more Democrat-friendly seat in his reelection bid.
In northwest Houston, Trump backed another near-miss candidate from 2020: Wesley Hunt, a West Point graduate and former Army helicopter pilot and clear front-runner in a 10-way race.
Texas jumped from 36 seats to 38 thanks to torrid population growth last decade, the biggest increase of any state. Hunt is running in the new 38th District.
About a third of the residents were shifted from a neighboring district where Hunt fell just short against Rep. Lizzie Fletcher, a Houston Democrat, in 2020.
Hunt would be the third Black Republican in the House. Texas currently has none.
Todd J. Gillman. Todd became Washington Bureau Chief in 2009 and has covered East Texas, Dallas City Hall and politics since joining The News in 1989. He’s been elected three times to the White House Correspondents’ Association board, with a term ending in 2023. Todd has a Master in Public Policy from Harvard and a BA from Johns Hopkins in international studies.