Hilderbran concedes GOP comptroller race to Hegar

AUSTIN (AP) — Katy Sen. Glenn Hegar captured the GOP nomination for Texas comptroller on Friday when state Rep. Harvey Hilderbran conceded the race, ending the need for a runoff.

Hilderbran’s decision means Hegar is now favored to become the state’s chief financial officer in the November general elections. Hegar was just a few votes shy of winning more than 50 percent of the vote, and barring a victory from absentee and provisional ballots, would have faced Hilderbran again on May 27.

“Texans owe Harvey Hilderbran a great deal of gratitude for his years of public service to the state of Texas,” Hegar said in a statement after Hilderbran to spoke to him by phone. “Our campaign will now shift focus toward the general election.”

Tea party activist Debra Medina and former state Rep. Raul Torres also ran for comptroller, but came in third and fourth. Hilderbran collected 300,000 votes and numerous endorsements, but was outspent by Hegar by more than $1.5 million.

“I am proud of the campaign that we ran, and I will always be grateful to my tireless campaign team and the hundreds of contributors and thousands of supporters that we had from all over Texas,” Hilderbran said. “I ran for this office to enact a plan to improve the Comptroller’s office for taxpayers and I am excited that Glenn has agreed to work together to enact much of my platform, for the benefit of all taxpayers.”

The 43-year-old Hegar is the youngest member of the Senate. He’s a farmer from suburban Houston who was first elected to the Capitol in 2003.

Hegar gained fame last session for authoring legislation that imposed some of the most stringent regulations on abortions in the country. Fort Worth Sen. Wendy Davis, a Democrat, gained national attention for filibustering the bill and is now a candidate for governor.

His Democratic opponent in November is Houston businessman Mike Collier, who’s never held elected office.

The comptroller handles the state’s money and makes a revenue estimate that lawmakers use to draft the state budget. The comptroller must then certify the budget passed by the Legislature falls within expected revenues.

Republican Comptroller Susan Combs didn’t seek re-election. She had drawn criticism for revenue projections that underestimated state spending power, which exacerbated cutbacks at schools and state agencies.

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