Killeen Mayor Scott Cosper is one of three candidates seeking the Republican nomination to succeed the retiring Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock (R-Killeen). As such, he is not running for re-election in May. At least two current council members are running for mayor: Elizabeth Blackstone and Jose Segarra. The city’s charter requires both of them to resign from the council no sooner than 40 days before the election, which would be March 28.
However, only one of the could be required to resign. If Cosper were to resign before March 28, then Segarra would, as Mayor Pro Tem, take over. He would thus be running as the incumbent and could remain on the city council. Cosper has said he would serve out his complete term, which would negate any potential advantage to Segarra (or disadvantage to Blackstone).
Regardless of whether Segarra resigns, or becomes mayor following a Cosper resignation, the remaining city council members must choose a replacement for his council seat. Blackstone’s seat was up for election in May, so her seat will not be filled by appointment, regardless of when she resigns to run for mayor. Either way, the council will temporarily be comprised of five members — instead of seven — meaning that it will take only three votes, instead of four, to change city policies.
In Harris Co., another “resign to run” situation can have significant downstream implications. Sen. Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) has confirmed he will seek the office of Harris Co. Commissioner following the death of El Franco Lee, who is unopposed for re-election. Ellis is already on the Democratic primary ballot for his own re-election, and he cannot be on the ballot for two offices at the same time. If he is selected as a replacement nominee in lieu of Lee, then he will need to replaced as a nominee. Depending on timing, there might also be a special election to fill his unexpired term. And, depending on who the replacement nominee is, there may yet be more replacement nominees, special elections or other actions to replace elected officials. Most of these changes could occur without voter input.
This year, there have been several other resignations that have caused replacements, special elections and vacancies. Former Harris Co. Sheriff Adrian Garcia resigned to run for mayor of Houston. Former Sen. Leticia Van de Putte and Rep. Mike Villarreal resigned to run for mayor of San Antonio. Former Austin ISD board president Gina Hinojosa resigned to run for HD49. Former Hood Co. Constable Mike Lang resigned to run for HD60.