Political newcomer Janet Dudding won the nomination for the District 14 seat in the Texas House of Representatives on Tuesday, earning 5,886 votes, or 65.4%.
Dudding’s opponent, Texas A&M University student and lifetime Bryan-College Station resident Raza Rahman, received 3,110 votes, or 34.6%. Dudding will face Republican incumbent John Raney — who is seeking a sixth two-year term — in November. In 2018, Raney received about 56% of the vote in the district, which encompasses most of Bryan and College Station.
At the Brazos County Democratic Party watch party Tuesday, Dudding said she was happy to meet everyone she has encountered throughout her campaign. As she looks toward the November election, Dudding said her campaign will be steady.
“I’m so grateful to everyone,” Dudding said. “I’ve got a fantastic team of people that walked with me and that allowed me to walk with them. It’s been good.”
Dudding and her husband moved to Bryan-College Station about 14 years ago, a year after the two weathered Hurricane Katrina in Bay St. Louis-Waveland, Mississippi — an experience that Dudding says makes climate change personal to her.
Dudding said she wants to be a representative so she can focus on climate change, health care and healthy wages, among other issues.
Dudding said she would prioritize electrifying transportation, cleaning up existing industries and take action to reduce methane. She said there needs to be more electric trains as well as charging stations so people are more likely to use electric cars. Incentivizing renewable energy is critical, Dudding said, and also can provide wind turbine service jobs and solar installer jobs.
Dudding wants to expand Medicaid and increase the minimum wage — which hasn’t changed in about a decade — to a living wage.
Throughout his campaign, Rahman said the three main points of his platform were education, infrastructure and health care.
In an interview on Tuesday night, Rahman congratulated Dudding on her win. Rahman said that while he is disappointed that he will not have the chance to serve the community as a representative, he is happy to see Dudding is looking to implement a vision similar to his.
Rahman said he feels like he found his purpose in life through the campaign — being a public servant.
“In my time as a candidate, the interest and passion and the love I had for it when I started grew by an exponential amount,” Rahman said.
Dudding led a governmental accounting career, beginning with a job in Mississippi’s Office of the State Auditor, where she investigated allegations that government officials embezzled money or took kickbacks.
During her time working for the city of College Station, Dudding was budget manager and then assistant director of finance. Most recently, Dudding was a business administrator in the department of oceanography at Texas A&M University. She took an early retirement to run for office.
Dudding is a member of the Bryan-College Station Chamber of Commerce, the Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants, Governmental Financial Officers Association of Texas and more.
“A great big thank you to everyone who got involved; everyone who contributed time, talent and treasures,” Dudding said. “Don’t go anywhere. We’re going to need you.”
Raney, who won a special election to the seat in 2011, was uncontested in the Republican primary.
Election day is Nov. 3. Early voting runs from Oct. 19 through Oct. 30.