Republican Fred Rangel (38%) definitely qualified for the HD125 runoff, and a three-way scramble for second appeared to go to former San Antonio council member Ray Lopez (19.4%), who edged out Coda Rayo-Garza (19.0%) by just 22 votes. Former Rep. Art Reyna (D-San Antonio) finished fourth with 17% after fading on Election Day (He was in second in early voting.). Democrat Steve Huerta was last with 6% of the vote.
Lopez’s second-place finish is not a lock. Overseas mail ballots, potential provisional ballots and a possible recount could conceivably vault Rayo-Garza into second.
Rangel will enter the special runoff for HD125 as the frontrunner, reminiscent of a November 2015 special election for nearby HD118. Just as in that election, the Republican candidate received fewer votes than the collective group of Democrats but nonetheless received more than any one of them. In HD118, John Lujan (R-San Antonio) defeated Tomas Uresti (D-San Antonio) in the runoff and served out the unexpired term. Lujan never cast a vote on the House floor, as he was defeated by Uresti in the general election. Unlike that election, the winner of the HD125 runoff will serve at least part of a regular legislative session.
Turnout for the special election was 6.0% of registered voters, placing it in the middle of the pack for a Bexar Co. special legislative election since 2015.
HD79: Rep. Art Fierro (D-El Paso) was sworn in today (Tuesday) in the House chamber. He won the January 29 special election outright.
HD97: Fort Worth attorney Elizabeth Beck established a campaign committee for a potential challenge of Rep. Craig Goldman (R-Fort Worth), likely as a Democrat.
HD145 special: Gov. Greg Abbott (R) ordered a March 5 special runoff election to fill the remainder of Sen. Carol Alvarado’s (D-Houston) unexpired House term. An abbreviated early voting period begins February 25. Houston funeral home executive Christina Morales (36%) and former Houston council member Melissa Noriega (31%) emerged from an 8-candidate field on January 29.
SEN: M.J. Hegar, who unsuccessfully challenged U.S. Rep. John Carter (R-Round Rock) in 2018, is considering challenging U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (R). Hegar raised more than $4.8M during the 2017-18 election cycle, trailing only Lizzie Pannill Fletcher ($5.6M), Colin Allred ($5.2M) and Gina Ortiz Jones ($5.2M) among U.S. House challengers in Texas.
Arlington: District Judge John Neill dismissed a lawsuit seeking to toss the city’s term limits proposition, which voters passed, 63%-37%, in November. The suit claimed voters were deceived into thinking that current council members could serve their full terms. As it stands, incumbents Michael Glaspie, Kathryn Wilemon and Lana Wolff are term-limited and cannot seek re-election in May.
Meanwhile, Ruby Faye Woolridge, who has run unsuccessfully for CD6 as the Democratic nominee in 2016 (39%) and 2018 (39%), announced she would run for mayor. She faces incumbent Jeff Williams, Chris Dobson and Ashton Stauffer.
Temple: Tony Hennes, a former local television anchor who was running for city council, passed away on Monday. His name will be removed from the ballot.
Uresti Sentenced: Former Sen. Carlos Uresti (D-San Antonio) was sentenced to five years after pleading guilty to bribery in connection with a Reeves Co. contract. The sentence will be served concurrently with his 12-year sentence for money laundering and fraud related to Four Winds, a bankrupt frac sand company.
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