SD30 special (Safe Republican): In a tweet, Dallas-area salon owner Shelley Luther said she has been approached by “dozens” of people encouraging her to seek the seat being vacated by Sen. Pat Fallon (R-Prosper). Her tweet comes a day after Rep. Jonathan Stickland (R-Bedford) tweeted, “Where are the fighters” who would stand up to Gov. Greg Abbott (R).

HD121 (Lean Republican): An internal poll released by the Celina Montoya (D) campaign shows the challenger leading Rep. Steve Allison (R-San Antonio), 49%-42%. Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden leads President Trump, 54%-42%, in the district. The EMC Research poll of 406 “likely November 2020 general election voters” was in the field July 28-August 1. The poll’s stated margin of error is ±4.9%.

The district has been growing slowly but steadily friendlier to Democrats, though it has remained redder than the state as a whole through 2018, when it was 0.2 points redder than the state. Montoya over-performed the rest of the Democratic ticket by 0.4 points in her 2018 race against Allison. She is the first Democrat to seek the House from these precincts since at least 2002.

CD23 open (Lean Democratic): The campaign of Gina Ortiz Jones (D) released a new ad, “My Story,” a biographical piece.

CD32 (Lean Democratic): The campaign of Republican challenger Genevieve Collins announced a $2.8M ad buy, which will run from September 8 through November 3. The Republican Congressional Leadership Fund PAC announced it was reserving $3.2M in TV time in the Dallas market. Presumably a significant chunk of this buy will support Collins and Beth Van Duyne in open CD24.

Houston: Cynthia Bailey may remain on the runoff ballot despite a felony conviction, ruled a three-judge panel of the First Court of Appeals. The ruling (PDF) clears the way for the long-delayed runoff, originally scheduled for December 2019, to proceed. Renee-Jefferson Smith, who finished third in the November 2019 election, is not expected to appeal the decision.

The court did not address the actual question of Bailey’s eligibility, consistent with other courts’ rulings on the matter, and instead addressed whether the city erred in not declaring her ineligible.

The suit was filed by third-place finisher Renee Jefferson-Smith in November after the city certified that Tarsha Jackson and Bailey had qualified for a runoff election. That runoff has been on hold ever since. A bench trial occurred in January, and the district judge ruled against Jefferson-Smith.

Sec. 141.001, Election Code provides that a candidate is ineligible for elective office if they have “been finally convicted of a felony from which the person has not been pardoned or otherwise released from the resulting disabilities.” Bailey neither sought nor received a pardon, so her eligibility hinges on the latter phrase. Bailey contends that the “resulting disabilities” of her conviction were “removed based on me [sic] completing my sentence and having my voting rights restored.” Atty. Gen. Ken Paxton (R), in a May 2019 opinion, said the restoration of voting rights “does not also restore his or her eligibility to hold public office.”

However, the court ruled that none of the public records that Jefferson-Smith provided the city conclusively established Bailey’s ineligibility. Thus, “the Mayor had no authority to resolve” Bailey’s eligibility and thus “made no ‘mistake’ in declining to do so.” In other words, while Bailey may in fact be ineligible, the city had “no duty imposed by law” to declare her ineligible.

While it would make sense to hold the runoff election on November 3, it may not be legal to do so. Sec. 232.013, Election Code, provides that a runoff for a contested election must be held on the same day of the week as the regularly scheduled runoff. The regularly scheduled runoff was held on Devember 14, 2019, which was a Saturday.

Palmview: The city council ordered a November 3 special election to fill the unexpired term of Anthony Uresti, who is running for La Joya school board.

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