As polls closed down in Fort Bend County on Nov. 5, two front runners were evident in the special election for Texas House District 28 - Democratic Candidate Elizabeth “Eliz” Markowitz and Republican Gary Gates. The two are likely headed into a runoff election because neither was able to garner 50 percent or more of the vote in the district as required by Texas law.
“I commend each and every one of my Republican colleagues for putting their all into it and I look forward to working to change the narrative and hopefully move into a positive runoff with Mr. Gates,” Markowitz said.
Unofficial results show Markowitz receiving about 39 percent of the vote while Gates received about 28 percent. Markowitz was the only Democratic candidate while Gates was joined by five other Republicans - Anna Allred, Clinton D. Purnell, Sarah Laningham, Tricia Krenek and Gary Hale. Krenek received about 18 percent of the vote while no other candidates received more than 10 percent.
Craig Murphy, a spokesman for the Gary Gates campaign, said the campaign felt the election was generally a win for Republicans with that party’s candidates taking a little more than 60 percent of the vote. He added that the runoff campaign should run smoothly moving forward.
“We’re going to continue doing what we’ve been doing,” Murphy said. “[Gates is] going to be walking door to door. He’s hit 5,000 households himself already.”
This special election for Texas House District 28 was prompted by former Representative John Zerwas’ (R-Richmond) resignation in September of this year. Zerwas has since moved on to become the University of Texas System health administrator.
A runoff election occurs in Texas whenever no candidate in a race obtains a majority of more than 50 percent of the vote according to the Texas Election Code. Candidates for a runoff include the two candidates in the race that received the two highest percentages of the overall vote. Canvassing of the vote must occur within five days of the election and the runoff election must occur between 20 and 45 days of canvassing.
Unofficial voter turnout in Fort Bend County was 15.5 percent. Official results will be reported once the vote is canvased within the next five days.
Overall support was good for Republicans and the Gates campaign anticipates that Republicans will support their remaining candidate, Murphy said.
Markowitz said she felt increased Democratic voter turnout for the runoff would aid her in the runoff campaign.
“We’re going to make sure that we have the messaging in order to activate the Democratic base and get them out to the polls,” Markowitz said. “We had a great campaign this time, but we can always improve upon it and we have the numbers, we just got to have people turn out to the polls.”
Other local election results include the passage of Fort Bend County Drainage District’s Proposition A for $83 million in bond authorization for drainage infrastructure to mitigate flooding countywide.
The original version of this story indicated an incorrect district number. The story has been updated with the correct district number.