September 9, 2014
By Stevie Poole and Josie Musico

Charles Perry will be returning to Austin, but he’ll have a different seat.

After gaining momentum during early voting, the state representative maintained a strong lead and avoided a runoff in the 6-person race by more than 23 percentage points.

Former Texas Tech Vice Chancellor Jodey Arrington came in second place with 30.27 percent of the total votes, while former Sweetwater Mayor Greg Wortham, the sole Democrat in the Senate District 28 special election, came in third with 13.09 percent.

Perry said he’s looking forward to taking office now that a busy campaign season is behind him. The senator-elect is thankful to his voters and other supporters, he added.

“The campaign was run hard, run well and I wouldn’t do anything differently,” he said. “It came together because of all the people behind me in all the counties and all their support.”

Perry will replace now-Texas Tech Chancellor Robert Duncan in the state senate, and the former legislator said he looks forward to working with him.

“Charles is a strong supporter of Texas Tech and this region,” Duncan said. “Charles Perry was an incumbent who did a good job and so it is no surprise that he was able to win that.”

Still, Duncan applauded all of the candidates.

“It is a tough deal to run in one of these races,” he said.

Perry plans to work on the state’s finances as soon as he takes his new seat, he said.

“We’ve got some holes in the state budget we need to fix,” he said.

Education, water, transportation and border security are other top priorities. He said border protection is insufficient at the federal level and has grown to demand action from Texas’ government.

“We need to fix our border, and we’re going to have to make budget resources available to protect our citizens,” he said. “The federal government’s not going to do it.”

Arrington, who many pollsters expected to be in a runoff against Perry, said he will throw his support behind the next state senator.

“I thank everybody who went to the polls and engaged in this very important election because the future of our region is at stake,” he said before the final votes were counted. “I thank those who voted for me and I assure everybody that whoever wins this…I will get behind the winner 100 percent and make sure that I do everything I can to ensure that they are as effective of a representative of this region as they can be.”

Republican E.M. Garza came in with .81 percent of votes, Libertarian Kerry McKennon won .83 percent of the votes, and Republican Delwin Jones, who is in fair condition at Covenant Hospital after being admitted a week and a half ago, won 1.57 percent of the vote.

The Lubbock County Ballot Board will meet at 5 p.m. Monday to review any provisional ballots.

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