Friedman received 46.4 percent of the vote to 55.3 percent for Jim Hogan, the secretary of state's office reported. Hogan, who topped the Democratic field in the March primary by a single percentage point, did not campaign or raise any money for the race.
While he is best known as a singer who claims to be the only Jew to have sung at the Grand Ole Opry, the author of 17 mystery novels and a former columnist for Texas Monthly, Friedman has made other runs for elective office. He was a Republican candidate for justice of the peace in Kerrville in 1986, and as an independent candidate for governor in 2006. He came in fourth behind Republican Rick Perry, Democrat Chris Bell and Carole Strayhorn, a Republican office-holder who ran as an independent because of a feud with Perry.
Friedman also campaigned for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in 2010.
On the Republican side, Sid Miller, a rancher and former state legislator, defeated Tommy Merritt 55 percent to 45 percent. Miller, one of the few candidates endorsed by Gov. Rick Perry, brought some star power to his campaign by recruiting Ted Nugent, the country western singer and gun-rights advocate, as treasurer.