Former Navy SEAL Morgan Luttrell has won the Republican primary to succeed retiring Congressman Kevin Brady in a district that includes Conroe.
Luttrell avoided a runoff with more than 52% of the vote, compared to roughly 22% for the second-place finisher, conservative activist Christian Collins.
Luttrell went into the primary with the endorsements of former Gov. Rick Perry, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Houston Congressman Dan Crenshaw, and the Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC aligned with the House GOP leadership. He also held a certain amount of star power as the brother of war hero Marcus Luttrell, also a former Navy SEAL and the author of the memoir Lone Survivor.
There were few notable policy differences between Luttrell and Collins. Both are strong supporters of gun rights and securing the border, and both are staunch opponents of abortion. But Collins sought to portray himself as the more pro-Trump conservative and pledged to join the congressional Freedom Caucus if elected. Luttrell has not made a similar commitment, though he stressed his willingness to stand up to the House GOP leadership.
Former President Donald Trump did not endorse a candidate in the Republican primary.
Eleven Republicans vied to claim Brady's mantle in Texas's 8th Congressional District, which stretches across nine counties and includes north Houston. Brady himself is retiring after a quarter-century in office.
“This is really a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Republican hopefuls," said Montgomery County voter and drone technology consultant Nick Madincea. "So many people have been waiting on Kevin Brady to retire, and we really love Kevin Brady in this in this part of the country. He's without a doubt, I think, one of the most underappreciated Republicans in our nation."
Brady took office in 1997 and rose to the chairmanship of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee before Republicans lost control of the House in 2018.
But the GOP imposes term limits on its chairs. Even if Republicans regain control of the chamber this fall, Brady wouldn't retake the gavel.
Luttrell will face former San Jacinto County Democratic Party chair Laura Jones in the fall.
"This district has changed in in this last round of redistricting in a way that makes it maybe slightly more moderate because it went down and picked up some of northwestern suburban Harris County," said Austin Bussing, an assistant professor of political science at Sam Houston State University. "But it's still a solidly — and really, I think, safely — Republican district."