A new, largely rural district in the Texas House of Representatives that includes part of Brazos and all of Robertson County will be represented by an area rancher.
Republican Kyle Kacal of Brazos County defeated Democrat Robert Stem Tuesday in the race for District 12. Kacal scored 56 percent of the vote. Stem, an attorney in Waco who ranches at his home in Falls County, earned 43 percent.
District 12 covers mostly rural Brazos County. It encompasses all of Robertson, Falls and Limestone Counties, along with an eastern, rural portion of McLennan County.
Kacal is a 1992 graduate of Texas A&M, and has a ranch management certificate from Texas Christian University. He has served on various local boards, including Allen Academy's, the Texas Beef Extension's and the Brazos Valley Farm Bureau's.
Kacal's road to victory was paved with close calls. In the May primary, he finished second out of five Republican candidates, only advancing to a July runoff by winning 61 more votes (or 0.5 percent) than Chris Scotti. In the runoff, Kacal defeated Tucker Anderson by 147 votes out of the 8,313 cast.
Fellow Republican John Raney will represent the rest of Brazos County. He defeated Judy LeUnes Tuesday for District 14, which covers the majority of Bryan/College Station.
Lois Kolkhorst first won election to District 13 in 2000, and the Republican was unopposed in 2012. The district covers Burleson, Grimes and Washington Counties, plus four to the southwest.
Republican Trent Ashby of Lufkin will represent District 57 after being unopposed this November. Incumbent Marva Beck of Centerville was defeated in the May Republican primary. The district was drastically redrawn, and now includes Leon and Madison Counties, along with four to the east.
The next legislative session in Austin begins in January. There are 150 state representatives. A full term in the Texas House lasts two years.