BROWNSVILLE, Texas – Veteran state Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr., must face a runoff against challenger Sara Stapleton Barrera in the Democratic primary election for Senate District 27.

Lucio, a former teacher from Brownsville, won 30,849 votes, or 49.8 percent of the vote. Stapleton Barrera, a trial lawyer who was born in Harlingen but has made Brownsville her home, won 22,062 votes, or 35.6 percent. Ruben Cortez, Jr., a former educator also of Brownsville, and a member of the State Board of Education, picked up 9,059 votes, or 14.6 percent.

Lucio had made the case that this was not a time to elect a rookie to the Senate because redistricting will come up during the next legislative session. Critics, however, said it was time for a change. Education was one of the top issues in the campaign.

“I am happy. We were very serious about this campaign. We did not slack off. We did not take it easy. We worked real hard. I want to thank all my supporters,” Sen. Lucio told reporters, before all the votes were in.

“For me this was a wonderful reunion and re-engagement with people I had not seen for a while, because I had not been opposed for a while. When you get elected you do not see as many people as you would like.”

Lucio said that for the runoff he would likely “put on the gloves.”

A breakdown of the votes by county shows:

Lucio won 15,917 votes in Cameron County, which anchors District 27. Stapleton Barrera picked up 11,632 votes there, while Cortez secured 4,982 votes.

In Hidalgo County, Lucio won 11,795 votes, while Stapleton Barrera picked up 8,400 votes and Cortez 3,394 votes.

Stapleton Barrera won the most votes in Kleberg County. There she picked up 1,075 votes, to Lucio’s 1,036 votes. Cortez trailed there with 288 votes.

Lucio won comfortably in Willacy County, where he picked up 2.020 votes, compared to Stapleton Barrera’s 919 and Cortez’s 383.

In tiny Kenedy County, Lucio won 81 votes, Stapleton Barrera 36 votes, and Cortez 12 votes.

The winner of the Lucio vs. Stapleton Barrera race will face Republican Vanessa Tijerina of Raymondville in the general election in November.

All Texas House members from RGV all victorious

The most closely watched of the Texas House races in the Rio Grande Valley was District 37, because incumbent Alex Dominguez had only served one term.

Dominguez, an attorney and former educator, won 6,061 votes, or 51.4 percent, in the Democratic Party primary. His challenger, Amber Medina, a former Cameron County Democratic Party chair, won 5,721 votes, or 48.6 percent.

District 37 is anchored in Brownsville.

Dominguez does not have a Republican challenger in the general election.

The next closest race was in neighboring House District 38. There, incumbent Rep. Eddie Lucio, III, a businessman, secured 7,865 votes, or 53.9 percent. His challenger, attorney Erin Gamez, picked up 6,737 votes, or 46.1 percent.

District 38 includes parts of Brownsville and Harlingen and all of San Benito.

Lucio will face Republican Erasmo Castro in the general election in November.

All the other incumbent Texas House members won their primary election.

Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying the above news story shows state Sen. Eddie Lucio speaking to reporters at his election night party in Brownsville. (Photo: Ron Whitlock/Ron Whitlock Reports)