Republican State Rep. Lois Kolkhorst avoided a runoff for the state Senate District 18 seat by receiving 55 percent of the vote Saturday to win a special election, according to unofficial results.
Kolkhorst, who has served as a state representative for 14 years, won the race for the position vacated by Sen. Glenn Hegar, who resigned his post after being elected as Texas' next comptroller in the November elections.
"I'm excited to work with my colleagues in the State Senate, Governor-elect [Greg] Abbott, and Lt. Governor-elect Dan Patrick in the next legislative session," she said. "We have an opportunity to have the most conservative session in recent history, responding to the demand of the voters of Texas. I cannot thank the voters of District 18 enough. I'm truly humbled by the results."
Kolkhorst garnered 21,833 votes [or 55.69 percent] with all precincts reported, beating out fellow Republican Gary Gates [13,414 votes or 34.21 percent]. Also running were Democrats Cindy Drabek [1,900 votes or 4.84 percent] and Christian E. Hawkins [1,275 or 3.25 percent], and Republican Charles Gregory [778 votes or 1.98 percent].
Campaigning in Katy
Gates, Gregory and Rep. Kolkhorst were in Katy on Dec. 4 to participate in a forum as part of the Republican Women's Club of Katy Christmas Luncheon at Willow Fork Country Club.
Kolkhorst spoke of her stances on border security, education and her experience as a small business owner of Kolkhorst Petroleum.
"[My husband and I] have taken a company of 20 employees to one just under 400 employees," she said. "We know what it's like to empty out our savings account and wonder if we'll be able to make it the next day."
Gates, CEO of Gatesco Inc., a family-owned real estate investment company with operations in the Texas Gulf Coast, spoke of the difficulties he has had adopting eight of his 11 children.
"I wan to focus on issues of constitutional rights for families and businesses," he said.
Gregory, a Richmond resident and attorney, said he believed he is in the race for the right reasons.
"I'm not motivated by power or money, but I have a pedigree of being involved in state and local government," he said.