There were almost 3 dozen runoff races from the primaries! We have reviewed the results of these runoffs and how they may impact our ability to reform cannabis laws in the upcoming legislative session. These candidates will be on the ballot for the General Election on November 3rd, 2020. (We will also have an update regarding the SD14 Special Election at the end of our summary.)
US Senator: MJ Hagar wins the Democratic Runoff for US Senator and will face Republican incumbent John Cornyn. Hagar is a veteran and has supported access to medical cannabis in her campaign. John Cornyn has stood in the way of change, often replying to constituents that he needs “more research” and that “regular use of marijuana has been associated with psychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders, as well as a risk of developing dependence.”
CD 17: Long time prohibitionist Pete Sessions, who moved to Waco to run in Congressional District 17 after losing a Dallas-area seat in 2018, wins the Republican Runoff. Sessions will face Democratic opponent Rick Kennedy. CD 17 is a historically conservative district and it is likely that Session could win.
SD 19: Roland Gutierrez wins the Democratic Runoff for Texas Senate District 19 and will face the Republican incumbent Pete Flores. Gutierrez has pledged to author a bill legalizing a retail cannabis market in Texas. Flores was a co-sponsor of the low THC medical cannabis and industrial hemp bills.
SD 27: Eddie Lucio, Jr wins the Democratic Runoff for Texas Senate District 27 and will face Republican challenger Vanessa Tijerina. Lucio, Jr was a co-sponsor for limited medical expansion and voted yes on the industrial hemp bill. We do not yet know Tijerina’s position and hope to have more info for you in the upcoming General Election voter guide.
HD 2: Dan Flynn (Republican incumbent) lost the Republican Runoff in Texas House District 2 to Bryan Slaton. Flynn consistently voted no on medical cannabis and decriminalization. We do not yet know Slaton’s position and hope to have more info for you in the upcoming General Election voter guide. Salton will face Democratic challenger Bill Brannon.
HD 45: Carrie Isaac (wife of former Texas House Representative Jason Isaac) wins the Republican Runoff for Texas House District 45. She will face Democratic incumbent Erin Zwiener. Zwiener was a co-author for medical cannabis, penalty reduction and hemp during her freshman term. Isaac’s husband held the district before Zweiner’s election and was a big medical cannabis advocate, spearheading a bipartisan bill. HD 45 has switched between Democratic and Republican leadership. Both candidates have a good shot at the seat.
HD 47: Justin Berry, an active police officer and appointed vice-president for his police union, wins the Republican Runoff for Texas House District 47. He will face Democratic incumbent Vikki Goodwin. Goodwin was a co-author for medical cannabis and penalty reduction as well as voting yes for the hemp bill.
HD 59: Dr. J.D. Sheffield (Republican incumbent) lost the Republican Runoff in Texas House District 59 to Shelby Slawson. Dr Sheffield was a joint author for a comprehensive medical cannabis program and voted yes on decriminalization and hemp bills. We do not yet know Slawson’s position and hope to have more info for you in the upcoming General Election voter guide. Slawson is running unopposed.
HD 142: Harold Dutton, Jr. (Democratic Incumbent) won the Democratic Runoff in a close race for Texas House District 142. Dutton has been a longtime advocate for changing cannabis laws in Texas. Dutton will face Republican challenger Jason Rowe.
Texas Senate District 14 Special Election: (UPDATED)
This special election will determine who serve the remainder of Senator Kirk Watson’s term, which ends in 2022. Out of the six candidates, none reached the 50% threshold. This would have meant a runoff between Sarah Eckhardt or Eddie Rodriguez. Rodriguez has decided to forgo the runoff which means that Sarah Eckhardt will serve the remainder of the term. You can learn more HERE.
We will have an updated Texas Marijuana Policy Voter Guide: General Election Edition available to the public in time for early voting in October. You can view the 86th Legislative Session voting records HERE.
Texans must rely on our state elected officials, specifically our state representatives and state senators. Learn more about engaging with your legislators by reviewing our Activist Training Guide.