Narrow victories secure subsequent terms for Republican incumbents in Plano and Richardson

State representatives in Collin and Dallas counties held onto their seats in the Nov. 3 election, but not by much. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
State representatives in Collin and Dallas counties held onto their seats in the Nov. 3 election, but not by much. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)

State representatives in Collin and Dallas counties held onto their seats in the Nov. 3 election, but not by much. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)

State representatives in Collin and Dallas counties held onto their seats in the Nov. 3 election, but not by much.

Incumbent state Rep. Matt Shaheen, R-Plano, drew two challengers for his House District 66 seat, which covers parts of Plano and north Dallas. Shaheen won the race with 49.68% of votes, but Democrat challenger Sharon Hirsch was not far behind with 48.47%, according to unofficial results. Libertarian Shawn Jones finished with 1.86% of votes.

This was not the first time Shaheen and Hirsch have gone head-to-head. The candidates ran against each other in another tight race in 2018. Shaheen won the seat with 50.29% of the vote, while Hirsch finished with 49.71%.

Hirsch said despite the outcome, she feels proud of her campaign. The tight race shows that priorities are shifting in Collin County, which used to be solidly red.

“[The result] reflects the changing community and really a need and desire for more balanced representation in our area,” she said.

Jones said he had hoped for a better outcome for himself and for others in the Libertarian party. The Texas Legislature ended the use of straight-ticket voting in general elections in 2017, a move that Jones hoped would pave the way for more candidate-based voting rather than party-based.

“From a statewide perspective I was disappointed that the removal of straight-ticket voting did not have the influence I had anticipated or hoped for,” he said.

Shaheen said he is grateful for the opportunity to serve his constituents again.

“I am more excited than ever to serve and tackle the challenges ahead,” he said.

Other state House races saw similar results. State Rep. Jeff Leach, R-Plano, held onto his District 67 seat with 51.8% of the vote, according to unofficial results. Democratic opponent Lorenzo Sanchez finished with 48.2%. In 2018, Leach narrowly won his race against Democrat Sarah Depew with 51.2% of the vote.

Leach said a commitment to his goals during the campaign helped him to emerge victorious despite the close race.

“We stayed focused on our positive aspirational message and, with the help of an incredible grassroots army of supporters, we secured a remarkable victory on Election Day,” Leach said.

Sanchez said in a statement on his Facebook page that he would continue to advocate for Collin County residents.

“While our campaign came up short, I will continue to push forward and fight for working-class families, and I am proud of everything we have accomplished,” he said in the statement.

Two candidates tried to unseat incumbent state Rep. Angie Chen Button, R-Richardson, in the race for House District 112, which covers parts of Richardson, Sachse and Garland. Button narrowly won the race with 48.92% of votes, while Democratic challenger Brandy Chambers trailed behind with 48.59%, according to unofficial results. Libertarian Shane D. Newsom finished with 2.49% of votes.

Button and Chambers also faced off in 2018 when Button won with a slightly larger but still narrow margin of 51.04% of the vote.

A spokesperson for Dallas County confirmed that there will not be a runoff in the race for District 112; however, she said she was unsure of whether Chambers would demand a recount.

As of Nov. 10, all votes had been counted in Dallas County, but Chambers had yet to concede. She told Community Impact Newspaper on Nov. 6 that she is unsure why voters favored Button.

“I’m very curious as to what motivated each voter to vote the way they did,” she said. “I’m kind of [at] an analytical questioning point.”

Newsom said he was happy with his campaign, and he intends to run as a third-party candidate again in the future.

"I did see that the people wanted other voices, as you saw all over the U.S. with Libertarians running and the few that won,” he said.

Button did not respond to requests for comment.

Results are unofficial until they are canvassed and certified by the county clerk. Collin County plans to canvas its results Nov. 11, according to Elections Administrator Bruce Sherbet. Dallas County results will be canvassed Nov. 13.
By Makenzie Plusnick
Makenzie graduated from Tarleton State University in 2019 with a degree in communications. While in school, she interned at the Weatherford Democrat and was editor of Texan News Service, a news outlet at Tarleton. She enjoys true crime podcasts, riding horses, and spending time with her dog.


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