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The San Antonio Express-News’s Josh Baugh and Dylan McGuinness reported that Rep. Justin Rodriguez (D-San Antonio) is the likely successor to the late Bexar Co. Comm. Paul Elizondo (D), who passed away last week. Prior to his 2012 election to the House, Rodriguez served on the San Antonio ISD school board and the San Antonio council.

Rep. Justin Rodriguez

Rep. Justin
Rodriguez

Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff (D) is expected to appoint Elizondo’s successor fairly soon. That appointee will serve until the 2020 general election, at which point the voters will decide who will serve the remaining two years of Elizondo’s unexpired term.

If Rodriguez is appointed, a special election would be required to fill his unexpired term. His would be the third vacant seat in the House, which convenes on Tuesday. Recent history suggests turnout for such an expedited special election will be very, very low.

Since 2013, six of the eight lowest percentage turnouts in special elections for any legislative office have occurred in Bexar Co.:

  1. 3% – HD120 runoff (August 2016)
  2. 0% – HD139 special (May 2016)
  3. 2% – HD120 special (May 2016)
  4. 3% – HD124 special (March 2015)
  5. 8% – HD124 runoff (April 2015)
  6. 1% – HD118 runoff (January 2016)
  7. 5% – SD4 runoff (August 2014)
  8. 9% – SD26 and HD123 specials (January 2015)
  9. 5% – SD19 special (July 2018) – Bexar Co. turnout was 4.2%
  10. 7% – SD6 special (January 2013)

A special election to replace Rodriguez would follow a similar timeline to the January 2015 special elections for SD26 and HD123, which were triggered by their occupants’ decisions to run unsuccessfully for mayor of San Antonio. If the race goes to a runoff, turnout may not improve. Since 1996, five of the nine lowest vote totals in special runoff elections for a Texas House seat have occurred in Bexar Co.

If Rodriguez leaves the House for county office, he would be the third to do so in the last two years. Former Sen. Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) abandoned his 2016 re-election bid to succeed the late Harris Co. Comm. El Franco Lee (D) on the ballot. Former Rep. Mark Keough (R-The Woodlands) did not seek re-election in 2018 to run successfully for Montgomery County Judge.

Other News

Filing Deadline: Tomorrow (Thursday) is the deadline for candidates to file for the HD79 and HD145 special elections.

HD145 special: Pasadena print toner business owner Oscar Del Toro established a campaign committee and reportedly filed to seek the House seat vacated by Sen. Carol Alvarado (D-Houston). Del Toro unsuccessfully ran for Pasadena council seats in 2015 and 2017.

Port Arthur: Former Jefferson Co. Justice of the Peace Thurman Bartie announced he would challenge Mayor Derrick Freeman.

PRES: Former San Antonio Mayor and U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro has scheduled a January 12 event in San Antonio at which he is going to make “a big announcement about my 2020 plans.”

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