CD27 open: The Congressional ethics panel investigating U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Corpus Christi) has expanded its scope to include whether government resources were used for campaign activities and whether Farenthold made false statements or omissions. Farenthold is not seeking re-election. After a brief set of legal skirmishes, his name has been left off the Republican primary ballot even though he withdrew after the statutory deadline to do so.

SD19: The death of a defense counsel’s family member has caused a two-week postponement in the criminal fraud trial of Sen. Carlos Uresti (D-San Antonio) and two co-defendants. The trial is now scheduled to begin January 18. Uresti is not up for re-election until 2020.

HD8 open: The Texas Assoc. of Realtors TREPAC endorsed Cody Harris in the Republican primary for the seat being vacated by Rep. Byron Cook (R-Corsicana).

Virginia: A random drawing will now be needed to break a tied race for the House of Delegates. A three-judge panel re-examined one ballot and awarded it to Republican incumbent David Yancey one day after a recount determined he was defeated by Democratic challenger Shelly Simonds by one vote. The ballot was originally counted as an over-vote because the voter filled in circles next to both candidates’ names. The panel determined that a line drawn near and slightly through the circle next to Simonds’ name indicated the voter intended to vote for Yancey. If Yancey wins the drawing, Republicans will have a two-seat majority in the lower chamber. If Simonds wins the drawing, the chamber will be tied, 50-50.

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