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Republican John Lujan holds off challenge in Texas House District 118

A voting sign in Texas that says "Aqui Vote HERE" in front of another sign that says "Early Voting Poll Site."
John Lujan
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Frank Ramirez (left) and State Representative John Lujan (right).

Democratic challenger Frank Ramirez conceded the race for Texas House District 118 to Republican State Representative John Lujan on Twitter late Tuesday night.

The race was a rematch of the 2021 special election between the two after former Democratic State Representative Leo Pacheco resigned to assume a new job.

Lujan, a business owner, ran his campaign on the goals of securing the border, lowering property taxes, pro-business policies, and the controversial and anti-trans political stance of keeping so-called “transgender ideology” out of classrooms.

Ramirez, a former San Antonio City Council and Texas legislative staffer, ran on increasing teacher pay, raising the age to buy military-style rifles to 21, lowering property taxes, and protecting abortion rights.

Lujan’s campaign pulled in over $1.2 million for the race, compared to Ramirez’s roughly $250,000. Republicans have invested heavily in Lujan's re-election effort in a bid to win over South Texas Latino voters.

Lujan did not immediately respond to TPR’s request for comment on Ramirez's concession.

Since the 2021 special election Lujan won by fewer than 300 votes, D118 was redrawn so that it only favored Biden by 3 points, a much weaker position for Democrats than had existed previously. This time, Lujan was up nearly 2,000 votes when Ramirez conceded the race.

During the campaign, Lujan has faced criticisms over a potential conflict of interest — he sits on a legislative committee that oversees a contract his personal IT business has with the state. Lujan has not had any decision-making powers over the contract because he has not sat during a legislative session.

Ramirez questioned why Lujan hadn’t been open about the potential conflict sooner during a candidate forum held by TPR’s “The Source,” but Lujan said he did nothing wrong. He also committed to selling off his shares in the company if he were to be re-elected.

Now that he has been re-elected, Lujan will sit in his first Texas legislative session next year.

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Josh Peck is the Technology & Entrepreneurship Reporter for Texas Public Radio.