Unlikely write-in candidate only challenge left for Dade Phelan and state rep reelection

Published 12:26 am Thursday, May 30, 2024

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Dade Phelan’s bid for reelection to the District 21 seat is in the bag following Tuesday’s Republican Primary run-off, observers believe.

While there is no Democratic opponent, Phelan’s name will still appear on the Nov. 5 ballot. Barring a write-in candidate Phelan is the winner of the race.

A write-in candidate must file a declaration with a filing fee or petition in lieu or a filing fee between July 20 to Aug. 19.

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The filing fee for State Representative is $750 or a percentage of voters.

The window to file as an Independent candidate has closed.

The State of Texas has a structured process for a person to file as an Independent that is not affiliated with any political party, according to information from the Jefferson County Elections Office.

An Independent, or non-partisan candidate would have had to declare intent to run as an Independent between Nov. 11, 2023 and Dec. 11, 2023 with the county judge or the Secretary of State.

The person must then file a candidate application along with a nomination petition by June 27, 2024 with the county judge or the Secretary of State.

In addition there must be a specific number of nominating signatures of registered voters that have not participated in the primary election or run-off primary of a party that has nominated, at either election, a candidate for the office sought, according to the Secretary of State website.

On Tuesday, Phelan defeated former Orange County Republican Party chairman David Covey, who also had the backing of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Attorney General Ken Paxton and former Texas Republican Party Chairman Matt Rinaldi.

In doing so, he avoided becoming the first House speaker to lose a primary in 52 years.

Phelan came in with 12,813 or 50.7 percent of the votes while Covey brought in 12,447 votes or 49.3 percent.