Update: It appears that SD13 precinct chairs will meet on July 16 to choose a new Senate nominee. The state Democratic Party is responsible for managing the process of choosing a replacement nominee because SD13 is in located more than one county.

Second Update: Ronald Green added as a potential successor.

Democratic precinct chairs have selected Sen. Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) to replace the late El Franco Lee on the general election ballot for Harris Co. Commissioner, Precinct 1. Lee was running unopposed for re-election when he passed away in January. The vote appears to have been 78 for Ellis and 36 for interim Comm. Gene Locke. It is not clear if any other candidate received votes.

Sen. Rodney Ellis

Sen. Rodney Ellis

Ellis is running unopposed for re-election to the Senate but must abandon that race to run for county commissioner. Ellis is not required to resign to run for county commissioner, so a special election is not required at this time.

Democratic precinct chairs residing within SD13 will meet at a later date to select a replacement nominee. Reps. Garnet Coleman (D-Houston), Borris Miles (D-Houston) and Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston) have been mentioned as potential replacement candidates, and others will no doubt emerge. Former Houston City Controller Ronald Green also appears to be a candidate.

If a sitting House member seeking re-election were chosen to replace Ellis on the ballot, then another meeting of Democratic precinct chairs residing within the affected House district would meet to choose a replacement nominee. All replacement nominees must be named by August 26.

Ellis has served in the Senate since 1990 and is third in seniority behind Dean John Whitmire (first elected in 1982) and Sen. Judith Zaffirini (1986). His departure means that at least 17 of the 31 incoming and returning senators will have four or fewer years of service in the upper chamber when the Legislature convenes in January.