Over the weekend state representative Brandon Creighton placed first in the special election to replace Tommy Williams in Senate District, and will head to a runoff with state representative Steve Toth. Creighton got about 45% of the vote, Toth about 24%.
Like the other three candidates who ran, Creighton is a Republican. He is obviously a conservative one, having spent much of the last regular session as a de facto leader of the House's amorphous Tea Party caucus, and attracting the approval of right-wingers for, among other things, his efforts to block Medicaid expansion. He is sufficiently conservative that EmpowerTexans has described him as having "a strong record," despite the fact that, as they note, he voted to keep the dread Joe Straus as speaker in 2011. He is sufficiently conservative that Toth, his strongest challenger, acknowledged as much:
"There are four nice guys running — four conservatives — but in the Senate, it’s not enough to just be a conservative voice. You’ll get pushed out,” Toth said. “You need a conservative record and fight to get things done.”
And yet Toth was somehow challenging Creighton from the right, and received the support of several influential right-wing groups, including EmpowerTexans, which endorsed Toth despite Creighton's aforementioned "strong record."