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State Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr. fends off challenge from Brownsville attorney in Democratic Party primary runoff election

3 weeks 14 hours 36 minutes ago Tuesday, July 14 2020 Jul 14, 2020 July 14, 2020 3:03 PM July 14, 2020 in News - Local

State Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr. fended off a challenge from local attorney Sara Stapleton Barrera in the Democratic Party primary runoff election Tuesday night.

At 10 p.m. Tuesday — when 70% of polling locations had reported results to the Texas Secretary of State's Office — Lucio held a small but significant lead over Stapleton Barrera.

Lucio won nearly 54% of 31,500 ballots cast across State Senate District 27, according to results published by the Texas Secretary of State's Office.

The results aren't final and will remain unofficial until canvassed.

Lucio, however, won Hidalgo County and Cameron County, the two most populous counties in State Senate District 27, which also includes Willacy County, Kenedy County, Kleberg County and part of Jim Wells County.

About 50.5% of Cameron County voters supported Lucio, according to preliminary results published by the Cameron County Elections Department.

He had slightly stronger support in Hidalgo County, were nearly 58% of voters picked Lucio, according to preliminary results published by the Hidalgo County Elections Department.

Lucio also won a whopping 66.5% of ballots cast in Willacy County, according to results released by Willacy County officials.

The runoff pitted state Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr., 74, of Brownsville against Sara Stapleton Barrera, a 36-year-old attorney from Brownsville.

Lucio, who joined the Texas Senate in 1991 after decades in Cameron County politics, campaigned on his experience and seniority in Austin.

In a series of campaign mailers and television ads, Lucio touted his support for public schools and promised to help South Texas recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

Stapleton Barrera pitched herself as a progressive alternative to Lucio — a champion for the rights of women, immigrants and the LGBTQ community.

"Lucio has voted with Republicans on school vouchers, bathroom bill, tort reform, and restricting a women's (sic) right to choose," according to her campaign website.

Lucio attacked Stapleton Barrera, an attorney, for representing clients accused of violent crimes.

In July, his campaign sent out a mailer with a photo of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Javier Vega Jr., who was murdered during an attempted robbery in 2014.

"On August 3, 2014, Javier Vega Jr. was fishing in Willacy County with his parents, wife, two children and another child. The family was ambushed by two men with suspected ties to Mexican cartels. When Javier Vega Jr. bravely defended his family from the attackers, they shot him in the chest and he died. He was only 36 years old," according to the mailer. "Sara Stapleton Barrera defended one of Javier Vega Jr.'s murderers."

Lucio will face Vanessa Tijerina — a perennial political candidate who filed as a Republican — in November.

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