GOV: The campaign of Gov. Greg Abbott (R) released its first ad for the general election, “Promises Made, Promises Kept.”
The ad premiered online and during tonight’s (Thursday) NFL preseason game between the Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans.
SD6 “open”: Secretary of State Rolando Pablos has asked Atty. Gen. Ken Paxton (R) for an opinion as to whether he is the “returning officer” for a legislative district that lies entirely within one county. Article 3, Section 13(a), Texas Constitution requires the Governor to “issue writs of election to fill” legislative vacancies. Importantly, that provision authorizes “the returning officer of the district” to order an election if the Governor fails to act within 20 days after a vacancy occurs.
Sen. Sylvia Garcia (D-Houston) submitted a letter to Gov. Greg Abbott (R) expressing her intent to resign in January, but Abbott argued that her letter did not trigger his authority to order a special election. Former Gov. Rick Perry (R) ordered a special election to fill the unexpired term of former Sen. Leticia Van de Putte (D-San Antonio) that included similar wording.
Garcia then asked Harris County Clerk Stan Stanart to order an election under the above provision. He declined, arguing that he has no authority to do so. The term “returning authority” is not defined in the Constitution or statute. It could conceivably refer to county judges, county clerks or, possibly, county election administrators in the counties that employ them. but it is unclear if any of these offices could be the “returning officer” for a legislative district located within one county.
The deadline has passed for any authority to order a special election to coincide with the November general election.