Updated May 29 at 7:25 a.m.

With all voting centers reporting results in Harris County, unofficial results show Molly Cook victorious in a close race with Jarvis Johnson for Texas Senate District 15.

Johnson, who has served as a state representative for Texas House District for District 139 since 2016, was leading Cook by around 350 votes late May 28, but Cook, a grassroots activist and emergency room nurse, retook the lead as election day votes continued to come in. Cook finished the night with 50.2% of the votes, or 9,428 votes to Johnson's 9,354, a 74-vote margin.

Votes are considered unofficial until they are canvassed, a process by which Harris County election officials make sure all votes are valid and accounted for. Vote totals may change during the canvassing process.

Under Texas law, a candidate may also file a petition for a recount when the margin of victory is less than 10% of the winning candidate's vote totals.

Updated May 28 at 10:22 p.m.

With votes in from 77 of 313 voting centers in Harris County, Texas Rep. Jarvis Johnson maintains a lead in the race for Texas Senate District 15 over Molly Cook with 51.46% of the votes.

Election day votes so far have allowed Cook to close the gap slightly over Johnson, though Johnson maintains a lead of roughly 350 votes.

In an election night statement following the release of early votes, Johnson expressed confidence in his position.

“With an early voting period and election day that both withstood significant weather event challenges and prolonged power outages, we take no vote for granted," he said.

The winner of the runoff will face off against Republican Joseph L. Trahan in the November election to see who will represent District 146 for a two-year term beginning in January. As results continue to come in overnight from Harris County, this story will be updated May 29.

Posted May 28 at 8:15 p.m.

Less than a month after emergency room nurse Molly Cook won a special election over Texas Rep. Jarvis Johnson for Texas Senate District 15, Johnson has taken an early lead in a runoff election that holds greater implications for the long-term future of the seat.

With early votes tallied in Harris County, Johnson holds a slight lead over Cook with 51.67% of the votes, or 5,636 votes to Cook's 5,272. When the two ran against each other in the May 6 special election, a total of 16,422 votes were cast, and Cook won with 9,370 votes to Johnson's 7,052.

Zooming out

Cook and Johnson are both competing for a seat formerly held by John Whitmire before he stepped down in 2023 to run for mayor of Houston. The two have competed in several elections already this year.

Prior to Whitmire stepping down in 2023, he held the heavily Democratic seat going back to 1983.
  • Johnson and Cook were the top two candidates in the Democratic primary election, beating out four other candidates. In Texas, when no candidate in a race gets more than 50% of the votes, the top two candidates engage in a runoff election. Johnson earned 36.13% of the votes in that race, while Cook earned 20.65% of the votes, setting up the May 28 runoff. The winner will be on the ballot again this November to determine who will hold the seat for its next four-year term, which begins in 2025.
  • Cook then defeated Johnson in a special election in May to determine who would hold the District 15 seat for the rest of Whitmire's vacated term, which runs through the end of 2024.
The context

Senate District 15 is located entirely within Harris County, covering a horseshoe shape that includes parts of East Houston, Generation Park, Humble and Cy-Fair as well as parts of the Heights, Montrose, the University Place area, Bellaire and Meyerland.

Cook has portrayed herself as a dedicated candidate who will turn out Democratic voters and fight for progressive causes, including reproductive rights, public education and expanding Medicaid. Johnson has also said he will fight for public education, expanding Medicaid and reproductive rights, while emphasizing his experiencing in the Texas House of Representatives, where he has served since first being elected in 2016.

Cook's endorsements include the LGBTQ+ Victory Fund, the Greater Heights Democratic Club and the Working Families Party. Johnson's endorsements include the Texas American Federation of Teachers, the Houston Police Officer's Union and Congressman Al Green.

What's next

The winner of the runoff will face Republican Joseph L. Trahan in November.

All results are unofficial until canvassed. For more information about voting in Harris County, visit www.harrisvotes.com.

Visit communityimpact.com/voter-guide/election-results to see results from all local elections in your community.