Democratic Party precinct chairs residing within Harris Co. Commissioner Precinct 1 will meet tomorrow (Saturday) at 10 a.m. at CWA Local 6222’s office to choose a nominee to replace the late El Franco Lee on the general election ballot. Lee was running unopposed for re-election when he passed away in January.

Sen. Rodney Ellis

Sen. Rodney Ellis

Sen. Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) and Interim Comm. Gene Locke are considered the frontrunners for the nomination. Ellis has claimed the endorsement of a majority of precinct chairs eligible to vote, a notion challenged by Locke and Houston council member Dwight Boykins.

Other confirmed candidates for the post include former health administrator Vernell Jessie, Rev. DeWayne Lark, photographer and former at-large council candidate George Provost, former HD139 special election candidate Rickey Tezino and Nathaniel West Sr. In addition to Boykins, two other council members have expressed interest: Jerry Davis and Larry Green. None of the council members have made their candidacies official because doing so might trigger the state resign-to-run law.

Ellis, Jessie, Provost and Tezino were the only four candidates to submit written responses to a candidate questionnaire prepared by the Harris Co. Democratic Party.

Locke was appointed to fill Lee’s unexpired term by the Harris Co. Judge Ed Emmert, a Republican. At the time, Locke said he would not seek a full term. He changed his mind in early April.

Ellis is running unopposed for re-election. If Ellis is chosen, then a future meeting of Democratic precinct chairs residing in SD13 would be called to choose a replacement nominee. If a sitting House member were chosen to replace Ellis, then another meeting of Democratic precinct chairs would be required to choose a replacement nominee for the affected House seat.