Gov. Greg Abbott set the special runoff election between independent Laura Thompson and Democrat Lou Miller for August 2. Early voting will occur July 25-29. The winner will serve the remainder of former Rep. Ruth Jones McClendon’s (D-San Antonio) unexpired term.
Thompson would make history if she won. The last independent to serve was John Poerner of Hondo, who was elected as a Republican in 1968 but changed to independent after his election. Howard Green of Fort Worth was unaffiliated following his 1958 election after being elected as a Democrat in 1956. He would be elected as a Democrat three more times.
The last independent elected as such to the Texas Legislature was Homer Leonard of McAllen in 1932, 1934 and 1936. He won re-election as a Democrat in 1938 and served as Speaker in the 47th Legislature (1941). In 1932, voters elected another independent, Bodo Holekamp of Boerne, who served a single term and never affiliated with either party.
Thompson finished first in the special election with 33%, five points ahead of Miller. Neither Democratic runoff candidate, Barbara Gervin-Hawkins or Mario Salas, was eligible to run in the special election. Miller is not a candidate in the primary runoff (He received 8% of the vote.), so he will be ineligible to serve in the regular session.
Thompson filed as an independent for the genera election and could theoretically win re-election in November if she wins this special runoff election.