Boulter, Gilbreath In Texas GOP Senate Runoff
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) _ U.S. Rep. Beau Boulter easily defeated millionaire Houston businessman Wes Gilbreath in Tuesday’s Republican runoff for the nomination to run against Democratic U.S. Sen. Lloyd Bentsen in November.
Final tallies of the 4,229 precincts showed Boulter with 60.1 percent to Gilbreath’s 39.9 percent.
Gilbreath’s campaign director, David Davidson, said Gilbreath was a victim of low voter turnout, especially in Houston.
In Washington, Bentsen issued a statement congratulating Boulter. ″The real race starts now that each party has chosen its nominee. I expect a hard- fought campaign,″ Bentsen said.
GOP voters in Tuesday’s Texas runoffs also decided a runoff race in one congressional district.
In the 13th District, in the Panhandle, political newcomer Larry Milner defeated Bob Price, who held the seat 20 years ago, to challenge Democratic state Sen. Bill Sarpalius in November to replace Boulter.
Democrats settled all their statewide races in the March 8 primary, but had contests in two congressional districts.
In one of the Democratic congressional runoffs, attorney Wayne Walker led teacher Richard Konrad by one-half of one percent to face incumbent Rep. Tom DeLay of the 22nd District, a Houston suburb.
In the 6th District, contractor N.P. ″Pat″ Kendrick of Joshua in central Texas defeated farmer John E. Welch of Waxahachie, with the winner facing Republican incumbent Rep. Joe Barton.
Bentsen, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, crushed a political unknown in the March 8 Democratic primary.
Gilbreath, 59, was the top vote-getter in the GOP primary, picking up 36.6 percent of the vote in the four-man race. Boulter, 46, was second with 30.5 percent.
The two men agreed on most major issues, opposing abortion, urging curbs on government spending and favoring a traditional conservative approach to governing.
Boulter’s campaign depended on endorsements from Texas Republican officials, including a majority of the members of the State Republican Executive Committee and the third- and fourth-place finishers in the March primary. He picked up the backing of the major anti-abortion groups.
Boulter, a two-term congressman from Amarillo, spent about $250,000 on the campaign. Gilbreath spent over $1 million, almost all of it out of his own pockets.
″It takes money to run a media campaign, and that is the only way you are going to beat Lloyd Bentsen in the state of Texas,″ Gilbreath said.