Three seats in the House of Representatives were vacant when the Legislature convened two weeks ago:

  • HD79, an El Paso Co. seat vacated by former Rep. Joe Pickett (D-El Paso), who resigned in December, citing health reasons.
  • HD125, a Bexar Co. seat vacated by former Rep. Justin Rodriguez (D-San Antonio), who resigned earlier this month to accept an appointment to the Commissioners Court; and
  • HD145, a Harris Co. seat that was held by now Sen. Carol Alvarado (D-Houston) prior to her special election victory.

Tuesday is Election Day in HD79 and HD145. Early voting begins tomorrow (Monday) in HD125.

Early voting turnout in HD79 was 3.1% of registered voters, as a total of 2,705 people had voted through Friday. Turnout was lower in HD145, where just 1,528 ballots were cast through Friday, amounting to 2.1% of registered voters.

There have been nine expedited special elections for legislative seats since 2010, and turnout has exceeded 10% of registered voters in just one of them.

Recent Expedited Special Elections
December 2018 – SD6 special, 15,146 votes cast (4.6%)
March 2015 – HD124 special, 1,981 votes cast (2.3%)
January 2015 – HD13 special, 9,939 votes cast (10.2%)
January 2015 – HD17 special, 7,631 votes cast (8.4%)
January 2015 – HD123 special, 7,105 votes cast (8.1%)
January 2015 – SD26 special, 19,018 votes cast (4.8%)
December 2014 – SD18 special, 39,352 votes cast (8.1%)
January 2013 – SD6 special, 16,369 votes cast (5.7%)
December 2010 – HD44 special, 11,036 votes cast (9.7%)

In all cases, the elections were required because of a vacancy in the Legislature either during a regular session or during the 60 days immediately prior to its convening. Section 203.013, Election Code requires the election to be held between the 21st and 45th day after it is ordered, providing candidates with very short windows of opportunity to meet voters, gin up interest and raise money.

The 11 candidates for the HD79 and HD145 seats raised a combined $225K up until the final week of the race. Just two candidates – Christina Morales in HD145 and Michiel Noe in HD79 – have raised at least $50K. We will not see new campaign finance information for HD125 until next week.

Heading into a March 2015 special election, the four candidates vying for HD124 – another Bexar Co. district – raised a total of $56K and spent a total of $34K combined. Fewer than 2K people voted in that special election.

Bexar Co. voters have turned out particularly lightly for special elections in recent years. Seven of the 10 special and runoff elections with the lowest percent turnout since 2013 have been wholly or significantly in Bexar Co.

©2019 Texas Election Source LLC