Swann concedes GOP congressional runoff to Sessions

Winner faces Democrat Rick Kennedy
Waco businesswoman Renee Swann (left) conceded her Republican primary runoff race against former Dallas Congressman Pete Sessions Tuesday evening. (File photos)
Waco businesswoman Renee Swann (left) conceded her Republican primary runoff race against former Dallas Congressman Pete Sessions Tuesday evening. (File photos)(KBTX)
Published: Jul. 13, 2020 at 7:28 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 15, 2020 at 12:58 PM CDT
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(KWTX) - Waco businesswoman Renee Swann conceded her Republican primary runoff race against former Dallas Congressman Pete Sessions Tuesday evening.


The concession in the hotly-contested race came at around 9:15 p.m. Tuesday.

“I’m joyful right now,” she told a small group of supporters.

“This is not defeat,” she said.

“I took this journey as a call.”

I answered the call and we’ll see where it goes from here,” she said.

“Where we go forward from here, as a country, there’s a socialist agenda that’s set against us.” “The socialist threat and the Marxist agenda must be met head on, that means we must be a strong country and we need a strong leader and that is President Trump,” she said.

“From this day forward, through the general election, I will do everything I can to represent the man that I admire greatly. " “America is the greatest country on earth, we must remain a light on the hill.”

Sessions, a Waco native received 32% of the Republican votes in March to Swann's 19%.

“I will, hopefully, be a congressman who will be from the bottom up, not from the top down,” he told supporters after Swann conceded Tuesday night.

“I think top down leadership in this congressional district did not work and it was a failure because too many people were told how to do things instead of using the creativity of people like George Hindmann, or people like Scott Bland, of people like Laurie McReynolds who have voices of strength, who have voices of business, who have voices of the experience of working in the bowels of our government.”

Hindmann of Round Rock, Bland of Waco and McReynolds of Robinson were three of almost a dozen Republicans who filed for the seat after Flores announced he wouldn’t seek another term.

Sessions will face Democrat Richard Kennedy of Pflugerville, a project manager, who finished with just less than 50% of the vote in the Democratic primary in March and defeated David Anthony Jaramillo of Waco, a former veteran source representative, with 59% of the vote in the party’s runoff Tuesday.

Kennedy said that running a campaign during a pandemic was difficult, but humbling.

He says while the nomination is rewarding, he’s ready to get back to work with an eye on November.

“I intend to spend the next 111 days earning those votes,” he said.

“This race isn’t about Democrat versus Republican or conservative versus liberal,” he said.

“This race is about ideologue versus pragmatic problem solving.”


In what amounted to a rough dress rehearsal for the November General Election, voters here and around the state returned to the polls Tuesday to decide primary runoffs delayed by COVID-19.

The runoffs were originally scheduled for May, and although they were postponed in an effort to slow the spread of the new coronavirus, the state was in the midst of a surge in new cases as the polls opened Tuesday.

The state reported a one-day record 10,745 new cases Tuesday.

Fears about the coronavirus kept some voters and some poll workers home.

In San Antonio, officials opened fewer polling places than planned.


The big draw on the statewide ballot was the Democratic runoff race between Air Force veteran MJ Hegar and Royce West, who both hope to challenge incumbent U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, in November.

Hegar garnered 23% of the vote in a field of 12 Democrats in the March primary.

She was leading West late Tuesday night and The Associated Press declared her the winner at around 11:30 p.m.

She finished the race with 52% of the vote, defeating West by a 40,000-vote margin.

The only other statewide race on the ballot Tuesday was a Democratic runoff for Railroad Commissioner.

Chrysta Castañeda and Roberto "Beto" Alonzo were the top two vote getters in a four-way race in March.

Castañeda won the runoff Tuesday with 62% of the vote.

She faces Republican James Wright, who defeated incumbent Texas Railroad Commissioner Ryan Sitton in the March GOP primary.


Democrats Christine Eady Mann, a Liberty Hill physician, and Donna Imam an Austin computer engineer, were vying for the right to challenge incumbent U.S. Rep. John Carter, R-Round Rock, in November.

Imam won with 57% of the vote.

Incumbent Republican State Rep. J.D. Sheffield, a Gatesville physician, drew two primary challengers in March in what proved to be a bitter race.

Conservative activist Shelby Slawson finished with 46% of the vote and faced Sheffield again Tuesday in the GOP runoff for State House Dist. 59, which includes Comanche, Coryell, Erath, Hamilton, McCulloch, Mills, San Saba and, Somervell counties.

She was on her way to clinching the nomination Tuesday night with 62% of the vote with 92% of the district’s precincts reporting.

The margin held and Slawson won by more than 3,600 votes.

“I am deeply humbled to report victory for Central Texas conservatives,” she said.

“Our journey, our fight for our shared conservative values and to keep Texas red, has only just begun.”

Peggy Ostrander the chair of the Texas Nurse Practitioners Political Action Committee, called Slawson’s victory “a big win for rural Texas who deserve quality, reliable local health care.”

“We look forward to working with Shelby to eliminate unnecessary government regulations to help keep health care costs low and ensure Texas families can get the care they need, when and where they need it,” she said.

Turnout for the runoff was higher than expected, county officials said

No Democrats filed for the seat.

“We will finish out our term,” Sheffield said.

“We will serve the great people of Dist. 59 and we’ll get back tomorrow to more regular life.”

Republicans Robert Morrow and Lani Popp were vying for the Dist. 5 seat on the State Board of Education.

Popp, who won with 79% of the vote, faces Democrat Rebecca Bell-Metereau in November.


In Bell County Republicans Steve Duskie and Jeff Parker faced off in a GOP runoff Tuesday to succeed 426th State District Judge Fancy Jezek, who didn't seek re-election.

Duskie won with 60% of the vote.

No Democrats filed for the seat.

McLennan County Republicans had to decide a runoff between Kristi DeCluitt and Thomas West who hope to succeed retiring 19th State District Court Judge Ralph Strother.

West won with 53% of the vote.

No Democrats filed for the seat.

James A. “Jim” Smith defeated Chrissy Brault with 57% of the vote in the runoff for the Republican nomination to the Pct. 1 seat on the McLennan County Commissioners Court.

Smith faces Democrat Alice Rodriguez in November.

Incumbent Republican Kelly Snell decided not to seek another term.

Voter interest was apparently high in the county despite the outbreak.

"We've had a good turnout even considering COVID and social distancing," Election Administrator Kathy Van Wolfe said.


Bosque County voters went back to the polls to decide a Republican runoff for sheriff between Clint Pullin and Trace Hendricks.

Hendricks, who won the race with 61% of the vote, faces Democrat Danny Ragsdale in November.

Coryell County Republicans had to decide a runoff between Ryan Basham and Justin Veazey for the Pct. 3 seat on the Coryell County Commissioners Court.

Basham won with 54% of the vote.

No Democrat filed for the seat.


Freestone County Republicans had to decide a runoff between Ronnie French and Lloyd Lynn Lane for the Pct. 3 seat on the Freestone County Commissioners Court.

Lane won the race with 69% of the vote.

No Democrats filed for the seat.

They also weighed in on a Republican runoff race in which Richard Lee McGowan was challenging incumbent Pct. 3 County Constable Pamela Brackens Barnes.

McGowan won the race with almost 62% of the vote.

No Democrats filed for the seat.

In Milam County Henry “Hub” Hubnik challenged incumbent Republican Pct. 1 County Commissioner Richard “Opey” Watkins.

Hubnik won with 59% of the vote.

No Democrats filed for the seat.

Mills County Republicans were deciding a runoff race in which

In Mills County Dale Partin challenged incumbent Pct. 3 County Commissioner Robert Hall in a Republican runoff and won with 59% of the vote.

No Democrats filed for the seat.


(Paul Gately, Alex Gibbs and Rosemond Crown contributed to this story)

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