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Lacey Hull defeats Jared Woodfill in GOP primary for Houston seat

A close race between two conservative candidates

Lacey Hull, a first-term state representative from Houston, has won the Republican primary for the 138th district, defeating Jared Woodfill, a former Harris County GOP chairman and a staunch ally of Attorney General Ken Paxton. The race was one of the most closely watched and contentious in the state, as both candidates claimed to be the true conservative choice for the voters.

Hull, who was endorsed by Governor Greg Abbott, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, and several other prominent Republicans, campaigned on her legislative record and her support for pro-life, pro-gun, and pro-border security policies. She also touted her role in passing the “heartbeat bill”, which bans abortions after six weeks of pregnancy and is currently being challenged in the courts.

Woodfill, who was backed by Paxton, former President Donald Trump, and several conservative groups, attacked Hull as a “fake conservative” and a “RINO” (Republican in name only). He accused her of being too cozy with the House leadership and the Democrats, and of betraying the conservative cause on issues such as election integrity, critical race theory, and transgender rights. He also highlighted his legal battles against the Biden administration and the local authorities over COVID-19 restrictions and mask mandates.

Lacey Hull defeats Jared Woodfill in GOP primary for Houston seat

A narrow victory for Hull

The primary election, which was held on Tuesday, March 5, 2024, saw a low turnout of about 15,000 voters, or less than 10% of the registered voters in the district. According to the unofficial results, Hull received 7,865 votes, or 52.4%, while Woodfill received 7,135 votes, or 47.6%. The margin of victory was only 730 votes, or 4.8%.

Hull declared victory on Tuesday night, thanking her supporters and vowing to continue fighting for conservative values in the legislature. She also congratulated Woodfill for running a spirited campaign and urged him to join her in uniting the party for the general election.

Woodfill, however, did not concede defeat, and instead hinted at a possible recount or a legal challenge. He claimed that there were “irregularities” and “anomalies” in the voting process, and that he had received reports of “voter fraud” and “ballot harvesting” in some precincts. He said he would consult with his lawyers and his supporters before making a final decision.

A competitive district for the general election

The 138th district, which covers parts of northwest Houston and the suburbs of Spring Branch and Cypress, is considered to be a competitive and diverse district, with a mix of urban, suburban, and rural voters. The district has a population of about 180,000, of which 43% are Hispanic, 34% are white, 14% are Asian, and 7% are black. The district also has a median household income of about $60,000, and a median age of 35.

The district has been held by Republicans since 1993, but has become more competitive in recent years, as the demographics and the political preferences of the voters have shifted. In 2018, Hull’s predecessor, Dwayne Bohac, won the seat by only 47 votes, or 0.1%, against Democrat Adam Milasincic. In 2020, Hull won the seat by 5,318 votes, or 8.3%, against Democrat Akilah Bacy, who is now running for Harris County District Attorney.

The district is expected to be a battleground in the 2024 general election, as both parties will try to gain or retain the seat. Hull will face Democrat Jenifer Pool, a civil engineer and a LGBTQ activist, who won the Democratic primary with 63% of the vote. Pool, who is transgender, has made history as the first openly transgender person to win a major party nomination for a state legislative seat in Texas. Pool has campaigned on issues such as health care, education, infrastructure, and civil rights.

The general election will be held on November 5, 2024, and will likely attract national attention and resources, as both parties will try to influence the balance of power in the Texas House of Representatives, which currently has 83 Republicans and 67 Democrats.


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