This report has been updated since our Breaking News alert.
Sen. Pat Fallon (R-Prosper) will replace former U.S. Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Heath) as the Republican nominee for CD4. He won a majority vote of the district executive committee on the first ballot. His nomination was supported by 82 of the 144 delegates attending the meeting in Sulphur Springs. U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R) stumped for Fallon prior to the vote.
Twelve candidates had their names placed into nomination. Jason Ross, Ratcliffe’s former district director, finished second with 34 votes, followed by Atlanta Mayor Travis Ransom with 16 votes. Late endorsements by conservative groups Grassroots America We the People and Young Conservatives of Texas did not help Aaron Harris. The former head of Direct Action Texas received 5 votes. No one else received more than two votes.
There is no residency requirement to seek or hold congressional office, permitting Fallon to seek the seat. SD30 and CD4 overlap in portions of Collin Co., though not Fallon’s hometown of Prosper, and all of Grayson Co. SD30 otherwise heads west, while CD4 heads east.
Fallon’s nomination will create a vacancy in his Senate seat, which could be filled by a special election as soon as November 3. Fallon was not up for re-election this year, so a special election would be for the two remaining years of his term. When he vacates his seat – more importantly, when Gov. Abbott recognizes a vacancy has occurred – dictates when that special election occurs.
If the vacancy occurs on or before August 21, then the special election will be November 3. If the vacancy occurs after that, then an expedited special election will be held between the 36th and 50th day after it is ordered. A runoff would be required if no one wins a majority. It would be held between the 12th and 25th day after Abbott orders it.
Any current House member seeking re-election may have to abandon that pursuit in order to run for Fallon’s unexpired term if the special election occurs on November 3. Sec. 141.033, Election Code prohibits a candidate from filing for multiple offices “to be voted on at one or more elections held on the same day.” House members’ names may still be on the ballot for their House seat, even if they ineligible to win it, unless they withdraw by August 21, giving the relevant district executive committee a very narrow window to select a replacement nominee.
A November 3 special election could conceivably result in multiple Republican House seats being vacant when the Legislature convenes in January and a new House Speaker is elected.
If the SD30 special election occurs after November 3, then any current Republican officeholders seeking the seat would retain their seats while they campaigned and, if they lost, afterward.
Residency matters for holding state office. Due to the timing of the eventual vacancy, only individuals currently living in the district would be eligible to win a special election culminating within the next six months. Current House members currently residing in SD30 include Reps. James Frank (R-Wichita Falls), Phil King (R-Weatherford), Reggie Smith (R-Sherman), Drew Springer (R-Muenster) and Lynn Stucky (R-Sanger).
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