The House of Medicine’s commitment to getting more physicians in high state office netted promising returns in Texas’ primary runoff elections, with one physician advancing to represent her party in the race for state land commissioner and another advancing to the general election for an open seat in the state House of Representatives.
In the land commissioner runoff, stalwart physician advocate Sen. Dawn Buckingham, MD (R-Lakeway), defeated Tim Westley in the Republican land commissioner runoff, 69%-31%. She will face Democrat Jay Kleberg in November. If elected, Senator Buckingham (above) would be the first physician elected to statewide public office, a significant victory for medicine.
Meanwhile, a Democratic physician endorsed by TEXPAC, the Texas Medical Association’s political arm, took the next step toward giving medicine a new voice at the Capitol in House District 76. Suleman Lalani, MD, from Sugarland, defeated Vanesia Johnson in the runoff, 63%-37%. If elected in November, Dr. Lalani would become the first Democratic physician in the House.
Well beyond those victories for physicians, TEXPAC enjoyed further success in securing big wins for medicine-friendly candidates. Twenty-nine seats were in contention in the runoff races. TEXPAC endorsed candidates in 11 of those races and came out victorious in eight of them. Some of medicine’s other biggest wins were:
- Senate District 24, open: Former Sen. Pete Flores (R-Pleasanton) defeated Raul Reyes Jr., 59%-41%;
- Senate District 27, open: Morgan LaMantia (D) defeated Sara Stapleton-Barrera (D), a medical negligence attorney, 57%-43%; and
- House District 84, open: Carl Tepper (R) defeated David Glasheen (R), a trial lawyer, 59%-41%.
At the congressional level, TEXPAC-endorsed U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Laredo) defeated Jessica Cisneros by 177 votes, 50.2%-49.8%, in their rematch for Congressional District 28 in one of the state’s closest and most-watched races. Representative Cuellar will face off against a Republican opponent in the fall.
On election day, approximately 8% of voters turned out, while 4.4% voted early. Out of the 17 million registered voters, approximately 1.4 million voted.
TEXPAC makes its endorsements using a deliberative and democratic process involving local physicians in a candidate’s district, TEXPAC’s Candidate Evaluation Committee, Executive Committee, and board. For more information on TEXPAC, visit its website.