Waco businesswoman Renée Swann and former Dallas Congressman Pete Sessions appeared to be headed for a May 26 runoff after a crowded primary election Tuesday with no majority winner.
With 178 of 367 precincts reporting around 12:30 a.m., Sessions had 19,159 votes, 30.4% of votes in the 11-way race. Swann had 12,518 votes, 19.9% of the vote.
Neither Travis County nor Freestone County listed vote totals for Election Day on the Secretary of State’s website, which could possibly skew the number of votes in another candidate’s direction. Pflugerville candidate George Hindman, 52, was close behind Swann with 17.8% of the vote, or 11,232.
On the Democratic ticket, Rick Kennedy, 57, an Austin software engineer who unsuccessfully challenged Flores in 2018, was the front-runner with 49.6% of the vote, or 17,422 votes, based on incomplete numbers. David Jaramillo of Waco had 11,529 votes or 32.8%, while William Foster III of Hearne had 6,169 votes or 17.6%.
Sessions, 64, who lost his Dallas congressional seat in 2018, moved back to Waco to run in the election for the seat to be vacated by U.S. Rep. Bill Flores of Bryan, who announced he would not seek another term after a decade in office. Flores endorsed Swann, 64, a retired chief operations manager for Brazos Eye Surgery of Texas.
Swann did not immediately return a call for comment Tuesday night.
Sessions said late Tuesday that he believes the opportunity to show the district how he stands out among 11 candidates helped push him to the forefront, as a candidate with experience who can get things done in Congress. The former congressman maintained a message that conforms to the conservative base, with priorities like building a southern border wall and supporting veterans and the disabled.
“There’s a whole bunch of voters who heard us and listened,” he said. “I believe I was the consensus today for people who want to grow the Republican Party. We have a big opportunity to sell Republican values. I believe that is something that people need to know. We’d like them to be part of the Republican Party.”
Based on early totals, he received the most votes in both of the biggest counties in District 17, McLennan and Brazos counties.
“When you’ve got 11 people running, that’s saying something when you win that many counties,” he said.
But Sessions is not done. He said he is prepared for the May 26 runoff election, regardless of who his opponent is.
“No matter who it is, we are going to go sell the same record of leadership and knowledge that I stand behind, a record that can be counted on,” he said. “It’s going to take somebody who can hit the ground running.”