In yesterday’s report, we made a logical leap between a couple of sentences that needed some sentences in between. We’ll fill in the details here.
Rep. Chris Paddie (R-Marshall), who was not seeking re-election, has resigned. A special election will be required to fill his unexpired term. It will be run in the district as it is currently configured. Paddie represented Cass, Harrison, Marion, Panola, Sabine and Shelby Cos., none of which are in HD9 following redistricting.
After redistricting, HD9 (Safe R)* includes Angelina, Houston, Polk, San Augustine, Trinity and Tyler Cos., none of which are part of the current HD9, which Paddie has represented. They are each currently represented in the Legislature, so Paddie’s resignation does not affect them in any way.
Rep. Trent Ashby (R-Lufkin) faces Lufkin diesel technician Jason Rogers (D) in the general election for redrawn HD9. Ashby currently represents HD57, which is comprised of Angelina, Houston, Leon, Madison, San Augustine and Trinity Cos., four of which are in the redrawn HD9 he’s running to represent but none of which are within current HD9.
Ashby cannot be a candidate for the HD9 special election because he does not live in the district as it is configured today. Besides, the Constitution will not let him hold two offices at once. Rogers would not be eligible for the special election either because he also lives in the new HD9, not the current one.
A special election to fill Paddie’s unexpired term will result in someone from Cass, Harrison, Marion, Panola, Sabine or Shelby Co. serving until the incoming Legislature convenes in January, when the winner of the general election for HD9 will be sworn into office. The winner of the special election would serve in any special sessions between the election and the start of the new session (if there are any), but they will not serve in the next session.** They would, however, hold the title of state representative and get to be referred to as “the Honorable” for the rest of their life.
This also applies to the special election for HD147 resulting from Rep. Garnet Coleman’s (D-Houston) resignation. The special election will be held within the boundaries of the current HD147, not the redrawn district, just like HD9. The main difference between the HD147 special and the HD9 special is virtually all the affected Harris Co. precincts are in both versions of HD147 – its boundaries were largely kept intact. So, unless they just happen to live in one of the precincts not currently within HD147, the two candidates vying for the Democratic nomination for HD147 (Safe D) can serve Coleman’s unexpired term if they win the special election. Someone else could win it, of course. If that happens, then they would serve until January just like Paddie’s immediate successor.
The same situation does not apply to CD3 unless U.S. Rep. Van Taylor (R-Plano) leaves office early. He has suspended his re-election bid and likely will formally withdraw from the runoff, but that does not trigger a special election. Only his resignation would do that, and he has said he would serve out his term.
Hopefully this clears up any confusion over these special elections.
* If Paddie isn’t seeking re-election, they why isn’t HD9 listed as “open” like we do other seats when the incumbent doesn’t run? Great question! We consider a seat to be open if no incumbent is running for it. No incumbent is not the same thing as the current incumbent. In this case, Rep. Ashby is running for HD9 even though he currently represents HD57. So the seat isn’t open – an incumbent is running for it, just not the one representing that district number.
** Unless they mount a successful write-in candidacy for whichever district the county in which they currently reside falls into after redistricting, an incredibly unlikely but nonetheless possible outcome.
©2022 Texas Election Source LLC