Gov. Greg Abbott (R) ordered a December 11 special election to fill the unexpired term of term of U.S. Rep.-elect Sylvia Garcia (D-Houston), who resigned her Senate seat today.

The timing of her resignation triggered the expedited election provisions of Sec. 203.013, Election Code because the vacancy occurred within 60 days of a legislative session. The election could have occurred on any Tuesday or Saturday between December 1 and January 19.

Rep. Ana Hernandez

Rep. Ana Hernandez

Rep. Carol Alvarado

Rep. Carol Alvarado

Candidates must file with the Secretary of State by Friday, November 16. Reps. Carol Alvarado (D-Houston) and Ana Hernandez (D-Houston) confirmed their previous plans to enter the race. Other candidates may enter the race but none have filed paperwork with the Texas Ethics Commission to form a campaign committee.

Alvarado reported having $441K on hand as of October 27. Hernandez reported having $185K on hand as of June 30. She was unopposed in the general election and did not have to file pre-election reports.

Early voting begins November 26 and runs until December 7. If no candidate receives a majority vote in the special election, an expedited runoff election would be required.

In July, Garcia sent a letter to Abbott expressing her intent to resign on January 2, expecting Abbott would call a special election to coincide with the general election. Abbott decided the language of her letter did not constitute a resignation and thus there was no vacancy to fill.

Garcia is one of the first two Latinas ever elected to Congress from Texas on Tuesday, joining U.S. Rep.-elect Veronica Escobar (D-El Paso).

Alvarado previously sought the seat in a 2013 special election necessitated by the death of Sen. Mario Gallegos (D-Houston). She lost the runoff election to Garcia, 53%-47%. Turnout for that special election was 5.7%, and runoff turnout was 6.3%.

Garcia’s term expires in 2021, so the winner of the special election will face re-election in 2020 and again in 2022 when districts are redrawn. Should Alvarado, Hernandez or another legislator win the special election, a special election would be needed to fill that unexpired term. It would also be subject to the same expedited election provisions.

©2018 Texas Election Source