Bryan Hughes (politician)

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Bryan Hughes
Member of the Texas Senate
from the 1st district
Assumed office
January 10, 2017
Preceded by Kevin Eltife
Member of the Texas House of Representatives
from the 5th district
In office
January 14, 2003 – January 10, 2017
Preceded by Bob D. Glaze
Succeeded by Cole Hefner
Personal details
Born (1969-07-21) July 21, 1969 (age 49)
Quitman, Texas, U.S.
Nationality American
Political party Republican
Residence Mineola, Wood County, Texas
Alma mater Tyler Junior College
University of Texas at Tyler
Baylor Law School
Occupation Attorney

Bryan Hughes (born July 21, 1969)[1] is an American attorney and politician in Mineola, Texas, who is a Republican member of the Texas State Senate for District 1. Elected in November 2016, he succeeded the retiring Republican Kevin Eltife of Tyler. Previously, Hughes was a member of the Texas House of Representatives from 2003 through January 2017.

In 2002, Hughes was elected as state representative for District 5, which includes Camp, Harrison, Upshur, and Wood counties in the northeastern section of Texas.[2][3] In 2016, he did not seek House reelection in order to run for the open state Senate seat.


Hughes was born in Quitman, the county seat of Wood County, but reared in a blue-collar family in nearby Mineola. He graduated in 1987 from Mineola High School and thereafter enrolled at Tyler Junior College. In 1992, he earned his undergraduate degree in economics from the University of Texas at Tyler. Hughes was the first member of his family to receive a college education.[4]

In 1995, Hughes completed his Juris Doctor degree from Baptist-affiliated Baylor Law School in Waco, Texas. For the next two years, Hughes was a law clerk and briefing attorney for the late U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of Texas William M. Steger of Texas, a pioneer in the Republican Party of Texas, who was his party's 1960 gubernatorial nominee against Governor Price Daniel. The federal courthouse in Tyler, the county seat of Smith County is named for Judge Steger. For a time Hughes practiced law in Marshall in Harrison County,[4] but in 2003, he joined the Lanier law firm in Mineola. He describes his practice as one dedicated to "representing working families and small businesses."[5]

Hughes is an active member of the nondenominational Golden Bible Chapel in Golden in Wood County.[4] Among his other affiliations are the Christian Trial Lawyers Association (for which he is one of the directors), other bar associations, the American Red Cross,[5] the National Rifle Association, Mineola Rotary,[4] and the Stewards Foundation, a non-profit organization set up to aid churches financially.[5]

Legislative service[edit]

Hughes was elected to the legislature in 2002, when he upset the incumbent Democratic Representative Bob D. Glaze (1927–2010) of Gilmer in Upshur County. Hughes polled 20,286 votes (52.4 percent) to Glaze's 18,451 (47.6 percent).[6] In the 2004 general election, Glaze sought a rematch with Hughes but lost, 23,029 votes (38 percent) to the Republican's 37,529 (62 percent).[7] In 2006, no Democrat filed against Hughes, as he defeated the Libertarian Timothy J. Carmichael, 26,286 (81.9 percent) to 5,795 (18.1 percent).[8]

Hughes was unopposed in the 2010 general election, when Republicans carried 101 of the 150 seats in the state House.[9]

In 2011, Hughes served on the House Agriculture and Livestock and the Human Services committees though his committee assignments have varied during his House tenure.[3] Strongly pro-life, Hughes worked to secure passage in 2011 of the state law which requires women procuring abortions to undergo a sonogram to witness the development of the fetus prior to termination.[10]

On March 19, 2011, Hughes dedicated the Mineola Nature Preserve, a conservation project which began in 2002, the year he was first elected to the state House. The preserve includes nearly three thousand acres along the Sabine River, which are inhabited by almost two hundred animal species; the preserve also includes trails for visitors, an area of wetland, and locations for birdwatchers. The two-acre Pullen Pond is funded by Ozarka Brand Spring Water.[11]

On September 13, 2011, Hughes called upon then Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott to investigate a new air pollution rule of the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Abbott indicated that he is already checking into the issue raised by Hughes. According to Hughes, the rule if implemented had the potential of producing blackouts, increasing costs to consumers, and creating job losses.[12] Hughes added that the directive would cause the Luminant utility company to shut down operations in his own district as well as across the state. Hughes continued, "I don't know what's going on in Washington, but here in the real world, money is tight, and families are struggling. . . . As if the job losses weren’t enough, these new rules will also raise electric rates – in the middle of a recession."[12]

Dispute with Speaker Straus[edit]

Hughes initially pledged to support a second term for Republican Joe Straus of San Antonio as Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives. However, after the 2010 elections, Hughes withdrew his support for Straus on the grounds that Straus had punished intraparty conservative opponents with redistricting. Straus nevertheless retained the speakership and won an easy re-nomination in 2016. Hughes based his charge on a conversation with one of Straus' staffers, who allegedly notified Hughes that plans were already being laid to alter Straus' opponents' districts. Hughes said that he was informed that efforts were especially aimed at two East Texas members, then Representative-elect Erwin Cain of Sulphur Springs and Dan Flynn of Van. Representative Chuck Hopson of Jacksonville, a Democrat-turned-Republican and chairman of the House Ethics Committee, called upon Hughes to reveal the name of the informant.[13] Hopson had received $42,000 in contributions from Straus.[14]

Chuck Hopson identified the informant as District 62 Representative Larry Phillips, an attorney from Sherman and a member of the Ethics Committee. Phillips removed himself as a committee member for the hearing and denied Hughes's accusation. The phone call was not recorded. The committee did not reach a judgment because of the lack of corroborating witnesses.[15][16]

Hughes was renominated in the Republican primary held on May 29, 2012. He polled 13,015 votes (77.7 percent) to 3,744 (22.4 percent) for his opponent, Mary Lookadoo.[17] No Democrat opposed him the November 6 general election.

After his 2012 renomination, Hughes announced that he would attempt to unseat Speaker Straus in 2013. However, in December after six months of attempting to line up needed commitments from colleagues, Hughes exited the contest. His conservative colleague and state Senate opponent in 2016, Representative David Simpson of Longview, then entered the contest for Speaker, with Hughes's full support.[18]

However, Simpson withdrew before the balloting for Speaker began, and Straus was reelected without opposition on January 8, 2013.[19]

2016 Texas Senate election[edit]

When the moderate Republican and former Tyler Mayor Kevin Eltife announced his retirement from the state Senate after thirteen years service, Hughes and Simpson entered the Republican primary to succeed Eltife. Eliminated in the March 1 primary was the two-star United States Army General James K. "Red" Brown of Lindale, who polled 28,285 votes (21.25 percent). Brown trailed David Simpson, the second-placed candidate, by 13 votes. Simpson received 28,288 votes (21.26 percent) in the primary. In fourth place was Mike Lee with 12,630 (9.5 percent). Hughes handily led the primary with 63,844 votes (48 percent) but short of a majority in a multi-candidate field.[20]

Hughes carried the backing of Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, the presiding officer of the state Senate.[21]

In the runoff election on May 24, 2016, Hughes defeated fellow State Representative David Simpson, 27,348 (69.3 percent) to 12,105 (30.7 percent).[22] He faced no Democratic opponent in the November 8 general election.

Two other Republicans, Cole Hefner and Jay Misenheimer, competed in the primary runoff for the District 5 seat that Hughes vacated. Hefner led the primary with 12,759 votes (46 percent); Misenheimer finished second in a five-candidate primary field with 7,524 votes (27.1 percent).[20] Hefner then won the runoff, 6,989 (60.4 percent) to Misenheimer's 4,582 (39.6 percent). Like Hughes, Hefner faced no Democrat in the upcoming general election.


  1. ^ "Representative Bryan Hughes". Retrieved September 26, 2011. 
  2. ^ "Bryan Hughes". Retrieved September 26, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b "Rep. Hughes, Bryan". Retrieved September 26, 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Bryan Hughes biography". Retrieved September 26, 2011. 
  5. ^ a b c "D. Bryan Hughes". Retrieved September 26, 2011. 
  6. ^ "Texas general election returns, November 5, 2002". Archived from the original on November 8, 2006. Retrieved September 26, 2011. 
  7. ^ "Texas general election returns, November 2, 2004". Archived from the original on November 8, 2006. Retrieved September 26, 2011. 
  8. ^ "Texas general election returns, November 7, 2006". Archived from the original on November 8, 2006. Retrieved September 27, 2011. 
  9. ^ "Texas general election returns, November 2, 2010". Archived from the original on November 8, 2006. Retrieved September 26, 2011. 
  10. ^ "House passes sonogram bill". Retrieved September 26, 2011. 
  11. ^ "State Representative Bryan Hughes to Dedicate Mineola Nature Preserve Project on Saturday, March 19, 2011". Retrieved September 26, 2011. 
  12. ^ a b "Representative Bryan Hughes Decries EPA Attack on Texas Jobs". Retrieved September 26, 2011. 
  13. ^ "Elise Hu, "Bryan Hughes Withdraws Support for Straus," November 10, 2010". Retrieved September 26, 2011. 
  14. ^ "Rep. Chuck Hopson, Who Chairs Ethics Panel Investigating Allegation Against Texas House Speaker Joe Straus, Received $42K," Texas Watchdog, November 22, 2010
  15. ^ "Texas House committee won't act on Rep. Phillips' alleged threats, November 23, 2010". Retrieved September 27, 2011. 
  16. ^ "Patrick Brendel, "Texas House Ethics Panel Takes No Action on Alleged Redistricting Threats by Vice-Chair Phillips," November 23, 2010". Archived from the original on December 27, 2010. Retrieved September 28, 2011. 
  17. ^ "Republican primary election returns, May 29, 2012". Archived from the original on June 10, 2012. Retrieved May 30, 2012. 
  18. ^ "Tim Eaton, "Simpson announces run for speaker of Texas House", December 10, 2012". Austin American Statesman. Retrieved December 30, 2012. 
  19. ^ Legislature opens; Straus re-elected", Laredo Morning Times, January 9, 2013, p. 10A
  20. ^ a b "Republican primary returns". Texas Secretary of State. March 1, 2016. Archived from the original on March 6, 2016. Retrieved March 3, 2016. 
  21. ^ Ross Ramsey (August 25, 2015). "Lt. Gov. Patrick Endorses Hughes in Open Senate Seat". The Texas Tribune. Retrieved November 30, 2015. 
  22. ^ "Election Returns". Texas Secretary of State. May 24, 2016. Retrieved May 24, 2016. 

External links[edit]

Texas House of Representatives
Preceded by
Bob D. Glaze
Texas State Representative from District 5

Bryan Hughes

Succeeded by
Cole Hefner
Preceded by
Kevin Eltife
Texas State Senator for District 1

Bryan Hughes

Succeeded by