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.
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