Chambers County oilman Mayes Middleton, who promised to bring Galveston County’s representation in Austin further to the political right, completed an upset bid against incumbent state Rep. Wayne Faircloth during the GOP primary election Tuesday night.
Middleton received about 7,981 votes, 57 percent of total ballots cast in both Galveston and Chambers counties, according to complete but unofficial results.
“It was the hard work that we all put into it,” Middleton said. “It was being willing to meet every single voter individually and talk to them and listen to what they care about.”
Faircloth could not be reached for comment late Tuesday.
Middleton mostly self-funded his campaign, and outspent Faircloth by a large margin on advertising.
His campaign also received a boost in January with an endorsement from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who spent weeks during primary campaigning attacking Republican members of the Texas House of Representatives who the governor said helped block his conservative agenda during the 2016 legislative session.
Faircloth had the support of outgoing Texas Speaker of the House Joe Straus, and several large business-oriented political action committees.
In addition to being backed by the governor, Middleton is a major donor and close ally of Empower Texans, an organization pushing for some of the most conservative pieces of legislation presented to lawmakers.
Middleton supports private school vouchers and has promised to work with Abbott on tax reforms that would limit cities’ ability to raise property tax revenue.
In the late days of the campaign, Faircloth received a bevy of support from Galveston-area civic and business groups.
Faircloth carried Galveston County, but by only 92 votes, according to complete but unofficial results. He trailed in Chambers County by nearly 1,300 votes after early results, however, and was never able to make up that margin.
“We’re giving the people that actually own the seat, the voters and the citizens and the taxpayers a voice, and they really haven’t had one,” Middleton said. “Austin lobbyists and career politicians are the ones that have had the voice.”
Faircloth was first elected to his seat in 2014. He was the first Republican elected to represent Galveston Island in Austin since Reconstruction.
Middleton will face Galveston Democrat Amanda Jamrok in Nov. 6 general election. Jamrok is a 25-year-old first-time candidate who ran unopposed in the primary.
Texas state representatives serve two-year terms. State representatives earn $600 a month, plus $190 a day when the legislature is in session.