DENTON, Texas (AP) — A Texas lawmaker backed by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott won a state Senate runoff Saturday night against a Dallas hair salon owner who was jailed for defying the governor's coronavirus restrictions.
Republican state Rep. Drew Springer's victory over fellow Republican Shelley Luther in a low-turnout special election was equally a win for Abbott, who spent six figures of his own campaign dollars to ensure the defeat one of his most visible critics in his own party.
Springer won more than 56% of the vote after he and Luther finished in a dead heat in a September election.
Luther spent two days in jail in May for keeping her salon owner despite Abbott's shutdown orders at the time that closed nonessential businesses. She became a symbol of conservative angst over COVID-19 restrictions, and nearly $500,000 poured into a donation fund set up by conservative activists.
Springer spent nearly a decade in the Texas House representing a large and fiercely conservative district near Dallas. He will fill a seat vacated by Republican Pat Fallon, who is headed to Congress to fill a U.S. House seat in January.