HD13 open: Former Grimes County Judge Ben Leman will be sworn in as the newest state representative on May 31 at 11 a.m.

Rep.-elect Ben Leman

Rep.-elect Ben Leman

He is the lone remaining candidate in the special election to fill the unexpired term of former Rep. Leighton Schubert (R-Caldwell). Leman defeated Jill Wolfskill, 57%-43%, in the Republican runoff on Tuesday. Wolfskill on Wednesday withdrew from the special runoff election.

Leman faces Democratic nominee Cecil Webster in the general election. Webster received 20% of the vote in the three-way special election on May 8.

GOV: Annie’s List endorsed challenger Lupe Valdez. Meanwhile, the Houston Chronicle’s Mike Ward reported that Valdez owes more than $12K in back property taxes, and she appears to have inconsistencies on her personal financial disclosure reports. A campaign spokesperson said Valdez has been making monthly payments to Dallas and Ellis Cos., and she intends to file an amended personal financial disclosure form.

COMP: Annie’s List endorsed challenger Joi Chevalier.

AGRIC: Annie’s List endorsed challenger Kim Olson.

Rep. Ron Reynolds

Rep. Ron Reynolds

HD27: The Court of Criminal Appeals declined to review the criminal conviction of Rep. Ron Reynolds (D-Missouri City), likely paving the way for him to begin serving a one-year sentence. Reynolds was convicted of misdemeanor charges of barratry in 2014. He has two weeks to file a motion for rehearing. Reynolds has maintained his innocence throughout the legal process. Since the conviction, Reynolds has lost his law license, been ordered to pay a $504K judgment in a civil case, filed for bankruptcy and been sued by the Office of Attorney General for delinquent fines owed to the Texas Ethics Commission for failing to file campaign finance reports and personal financial statements. He nonetheless is unopposed for re-election after receiving 61% of the vote in the 2018 Democratic primary. Even if he serves his prison sentence, Reynolds remains eligible to serve in the Legislature because his conviction was for misdemeanor crimes.

CD7: The national Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has added the seat to its “Red to Blue” program following Lizzie Pannill Fletcher’s runoff victory over Laura Moser. The DCCC previously posted on its web site opposition research and messaging against Moser. Fletcher faces U.S. Rep. John Culberson (R-Houston) in the general election and potentially an independent candidacy from Houston project manager Harold Rocketto.

Gregg Co.: The Office of Attorney General announced it was investigating claims of illegal mail-in ballot harvesting in the Democratic primary race for county commissioner P4. Hundreds more mail-in ballots were cast in that precinct than in the other three commissioner precincts combined. Just five votes separated the two candidates. The winner, Shannon Brown, received 73% of the mail-ballot vote. Opponent Kasha Williams received 61% of the in-person vote (early and Election Day). Williams filed suit to contest the election, but it was filed too late and ultimately tossed.

Del Rio: The city council set a June 9 runoff that will settle a pair of council seats. Early voting will begin Tuesday.

Edinburg: Texas Rangers arrested three people accused of voting illegally in the November 2017 general election, during which Edinburg elected its leaders. Details of the allegations were not released.

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