Art Fierro, the chair of the El Paso Community Coll. board, won a three-way race outright to succeed former Rep. Joe Pickett (D-El Paso). Fierro received 53% of the vote, defeating El Paso council member Michiel Noe (27%) and Republican candidate Hans Sassenfeld (20%). Pickett resigned in December, citing health reasons.

In HD145, funeral home director Christina Morales (36%) and former Houston council member Melissa Noriega (31%) advanced to a runoff. Republican candidate Martha Fierro, no relation to Art, finished third with 25%. None of the other five candidate received more than 3% of the vote or more than 100 votes.

Turnout was light for both races. In HD145, just 4.8% of registered voters cast ballots, tying for third lowest out of the 11 expedited special elections for a legislative seat since 2010. Turnout in HD79 was 5.4% of registered voters, finishing just ahead of HD145 in that list. Both elections are now among the 10 lowest-turnout special elections since 2013:

  • 2.0% – HD139 special (May 2016)
  • 2.2% – HD120 special (May 2016)
  • 2.3% – HD124 special (March 2015)
  • 4.6% – SD6 special (December 2018)
  • 4.8% – SD26 special (January 2015)
  • 4.8% – HD145 special (January 2019)
  • 5.4% – HD79 special (January 2019)
  • 5.5% – SD19 special (July 2018)
  • 5.7% – SD6 special (January 2013)
  • 6.1% – SD4 special (May 2014)

Art Fierro’s 2,514 votes were the fewest for a candidate who won a legislative special election outright since at least 1992. He breaks the previous low of former Rep. Kirk England’s (R/D-Grand Prairie) 2,812 votes in a February 2006 contest.

Just four legislative special election candidates have advanced to a runoff with fewer votes than Morales (1,238) and Noriega (1,077) since 1992:

  • Ina Minjares (828) in March 2015
  • Laura Thompson (675) in May 2016
  • Lou Miller (574) in May 2016; and
  • Delicia Herrera (555) in March 2015.

Both of those other races occurred in Bexar Co., where voters in HD125 are able to vote early for the February 12 special election. Through two days of early voting, a total of 503 people have voted in person.

The HD145 runoff must be held on a Tuesday or Saturday between the 12th and 25th days after it is ordered by Gov. Greg Abbott (R).

©2019 Texas Election Source LLC