RRC: Comm. Christi Craddick was elected chair of the Railroad Commission of Texas by her peers, Comm. Ryan Sitton and outgoing Comm. David Porter, for a two-year term. By tradition, the gavel rotates among the sitting commissioners. First elected in 2012, she is up for re-election in 2018. Porter, who did not seek re-election, will be succeeded by former Rep. Wayne Christian (R-Center) in January.

HD46 special: Four candidates have filed campaign treasurer appointments with the Texas Ethics Commission:

  • Attorney and former Austin council member Sheryl Cole
  • Medical management consultant and Manor ISD trustee Ana Cortez
  • Austin software executive Nnamdi Orakwue; and
  • Austin attorney Chito Vela.

Republican Gabe Nila, who received 19% of the vote in the general election, has already announced for the race. Travis Co. Democratic Party chair Vincent Harding, two-time Libertarian nominee Kevin Ludlow, and Austin criminal defense attorney Adam Reposa (Green Party’s 2016 nominee for CCA2) are potential candidates (Reposa’s new Twitter handle is labeled “Adam Reposa, D46”.). Austin political consultant Joe Deshotel, son of Rep. Joe Deshotel (D-Beaumont), is not expected to run.

Cole’s campaign kickoff event is scheduled for December 14. It is described on Facebook as a “community conversation on what history has to teach us about the fight we face today to protect our rights.”

Rep. Dawnna Dukes (D-Austin) won re-election last month after she said she would resign in January. An expedited special election would then be ordered by Gov. Greg Abbott pursuant to Section 203.013, Election Code. The election must be held on a Tuesday or Saturday within 21 to 45 days after it is ordered.

Pre-filed Legislation: Rep. Mike Schofield (R-Katy) filed a bill today (Wednesday) that would return the primary runoff election to the second Tuesday in April for all but federal offices. Federal runoffs would continue to be the fourth Tuesday in May pursuant to the federal Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act. The runoff date was changed to May from April in 2011 and was first in effect in 2012.

Schofield filed five other bills, including proposals to cancel a voter’s registration if the person acknowledges he or she is not a citizen, permitting voters older than 70 to use expired photo identifications at polling places, increasing criminal penalties for certain ballot-by-mail offenses and establishing the offense of soliciting voters to provide assistance at the polls.

San Antonio: Bexar Co. Judge Nelson Wolff endorsed Mayor Ivy Taylor. Filing for the May 6 election does not begin until January 18. All 10 council positions are also on the ballot. Wolff endorsed former Sen. Leticia Van de Putte (D-San Antonio) prior to the 2015 runoff eventually won by Taylor.

Rio Grande ISD: Three defeated candidates have sued the three victors alleging that “school district employees and politiqueras conspired” to shuttle students to vote for a slate of candidates including the three victors. Once they reached the polling place, “elections judges told voters who to vote for and that the [plaintiffs] were committing fraud and they shouldn’t be voted for.” The suit also alleges that Starr Co. election officials “knowing[ly] accepted over 200 forged or otherwise illegal mail in ballots” and “refused voter assistance” at the polls.

The election pitted two competing slates of candidates campaigning under the banners of “Kids’ Choice Team” and the “U.S.S. Restore Team.” Plaintiffs were part of the Restore team’s slate. Incumbent Noe Gonzalez lost by 189 votes, Bacho Villarreal lost by 317 votes and Ruben Klein lost to the incumbent board president by 464 votes out of more than 9K cast.

The suit, which was filed in the 381st Judicial District in Starr Co., seeks to have the election results invalidated.