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Republican Control of Texas House in Question

By Shelley Kofler, KERA News

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/kera/local-kera-786560.mp3

Dallas, TX – Just 25 votes in a North Texas race may decide whether Republicans retain control of the Texas House of Representatives. Democrats gained three seats. Now Republican Linda Harper Brown of Irving holds an edge of 25 votes over Democratic Challenger Bob Romano. A recount is expected. Democrats believe, at the very least, they have the votes to get rid of Republican Speaker Tom Craddick. KERA's Shelley Kofler recaps the North Texas legislative races that factored into the shift.

The magic number for state Democrats was five additional seats. That's what they needed to take control of the Texas House.

In Dallas County they gained at least two.

Carole Kent, a Richardson School board member, easily defeated incumbent Republican Tony Goolsby, who has represented North Dallas, Lake Highlands and Garland for 19 years.

Attorney Robert Miklos squeaked by former Mesquite Mayor Mike Anderson to give Democrats district 101 in East Dallas County.

In Tarrant, Democrats chalked up another gain, as incumbent Bill Zedler lost his district to political consulant Chris Turner.

Turner says he wants to work in a bipartisan manner to get things done.

Democrats had their disappointments, as well. Fort Worth attorney Dan Barrett surrendered his district to Republican pediatrician Mark Shelton.

But the big shock of the evening was what happened in District 105. Republican Linda Harper -Brown of Irving was thought to have a safe seat. But the conservative, who authored pro-voucher legislation and a controversial voter ID bill, remained in a dead heat with Democrat Bob Romano most of Election Night, with the final tally giving her a mere 25 vote edge that will likely be contested.

At the very least, Republican Tom Craddick may lose his job as House speaker. Ross Ramsey is editor of the Texas Weekly political newsletter.

Ramsey: You start to get into an area where Democrats and Republicans on the fringe of this thing can get behind another candidate and unseat the speaker.

But who has enough support to replace Craddick? That's the unanswered question.