The fight for 59 is on.
Six-term incumbent State Representative Sid Miller (R-Stephenville) will fight to keep his District 59 seat from two-time challenger J.D. Sheffield (R-Gatesville) in a July 31 runoff.
Miller squeaked by Sheffield with 42.48 percent of more than 18,000 votes cast in the race over Sheffield's 41.50 percent in Tuesday's Republican primary.
The two men faced off in the 2010 primary, and Miller took the nomination with 55.82 percent voter approval.
While another challenger Mike Jones (R-Glen Rose) finished the race in a distant third with 16 percent of the vote, his presence kept Miller and Sheffield from gaining a majority vote.
Sheffield, medical director at Coryell Medical Clinic, breezed by Miller gaining 64.04 percent voter approval in Coryell County. Miller garnered 30.22 percent and Jones 5.73 percent.
"About half of the district is in Coryell County," Miller said, adding his main concern is seeing that District 59 maintains its rural representation. "Coryell is a big population hub and one of the fastest growing areas. I believe it is important rural counties have representation in Austin."
While Miller admitted Sheffield's approval rating in Coryell caused some concern, he said rural voters continue to stand behind him.
In Comanche County 48.69 percent of voters backed Miller compared to 32.21 who supported Sheffield and 19.09 who favored Jones. In Mills County, Miller received 54.13 percent of the vote, compared to 33.54 who supported Sheffield and 12.32 who backed Jones.
"I really appreciate the support I continue to receive in Erath and the surrounding rural counties and those who supported me in Coryell and Fort Hood area," Miller said.
Miller also maintained majority confidence in Erath, his county of residence, garnering 53.77 percent of the vote, compared to Sheffield's 29.22 percent and Jones' 17.10 percent.
Somervell also supported its local candidate. Jones garnered 44.76 percent of the county's vote, followed by Miller at 39.97 percent and Sheffield at 15.26.
"Heading into the runoff, I really feel good about Somervell," he said.
But Miller will apparently have to work to take Hamilton County, where Sheffield received 48.31 percent of the vote, compared to Miller's 39.59 percent and Jones' 12.09.
The winner of the July 31 primary nominee will face Democrat Bill Norris (D-Dublin) in November.