Four candidates filed for the December 11 special election to fill the unexpired term of former Sen. and now U.S. Rep.-elect Sylvia Garcia (D-Houston):

  • Rep. Carol Alvarado (D-Houston)
  • Houston nurse Martha Fierro (R), a Republican precinct chair and former field organizer for the Gov. Greg Abbott (R) campaign
  • Rep. Ana Hernandez (D-Houston); and
  • Houston executive recruiter and LBGTQ rights advocate Mia Mundy (D).

Earlier this week, former Rep. Gilbert Peña (R-Pasadena) reauthorized his campaign committee for the race but evidently did not file as a candidate.

Early voting begins November 26.

Alvarado reported having $441K on hand as of October 27. Hernandez reported having $185K on hand as of June 30. Fierro established her campaign committee earlier this week. As far as we can tell, Mundy has not filed a campaign treasurer appointment form with the Texas Ethics Commission, though she could have done so today.

Alvarado previously sought the seat in a 2013 special election necessitated by the death of Sen. Mario Gallegos (D-Houston). She lost the special runoff election to Garcia, 53%-47%. Turnout for that special election was 5.7%, and runoff turnout was 6.3%. These two elections had the fewest voters for any special election for a state Senate seat since at least 1996.

This will be the 16th time since 1996 that a state Senate seat has been decided in a special election and the fourth time since 1996 that a state Senate seat has seen two separate special elections, joining SD17, SD19 and SD26. Five of the 16 special elections were won outright, and a sixth ended without a runoff because the second-place candidate withdrew. The rest went to runoffs.

Votes Cast in Senate Special Elections Since 1996

223,295 – SD17 special (November 2008*)
148,335 – SD28 special (November 1996*)
144,752 – SD17 special (November 2002*), won outright
95,115 – SD19 special (November 2006*), won outright
89,540 – SD1 runoff (February 2004)
73,196 – SD31 runoff (February 2004)
69,415 – SD31 special (January 2004)
69,206 – SD1 special (January 2004)
59,327 – SD26 special (November 1999), runoff opponent withdrew
57,175 – SD28 runoff (December 1996)
44,697 – SD19 runoff (September 2018)
43,673 – SD17 runoff (December 2008)
42,816 – SD28 special (September 2014), won outright
39,352 – SD18 special (December 2014), won outright
38,307 – SD5 special (January 1997), won outright
35,731 – SD30 special (November 2001)
30,348 – SD4 special (May 2014)
29,851 – SD22 special (May 2010)
26,207 – SD19 special (July 2018)
24,557 – SD22 runoff (June 2010)
24,452 – SD30 runoff (December 2001)
23,526 – SD26 runoff (February 2015)
22,605 – SD4 runoff (August 2014)
19,019 – SD26 special (January 2015)
18,141 – SD6 runoff (March 2013)
16,269 – SD6 special (January 2013)
* Indicates the special election coincided with an even-year November general election.

Should Alvarado or Hernandez succeed Garcia in the Senate, a special election would be needed to fill the unexpired House term. Because the vacancy would occur during a legislative session, that election would also fall under the expedited election provisions of the Election Code.

©2018 Texas Election Source LLC