HD125 special: Early voting began today (Monday) for the special runoff election between Fred Rangel and former San Antonio council member Ray Lopez. A total of 845 people voted in person on the first day. It took four days  to reach this total for last month’s special election. Bexar Co. does not release the number of mail ballots until Election Day.

Meanwhile, runoff campaign finance reports were due from the candidates today (Monday). We expect those reports to be available online tomorrow (Tuesday).

HD145 special: The runoff election between Houston funeral home executive Christina Morales and former Houston council member Melissa Noriega is tomorrow (Tuesday). Our live coverage will begin at 7 p.m. CST at txelects.com/live. Morales reported $6K in contributions, all from Latino Democratic PAC, in a daily pre-election report. Noriega reported a $1.5K contribution from Houston homebuilder Richard Weekley in a daily pre-election report.

UT/TT Poll: The latest Univ. of Texas/Texas Tribune poll shows Texans remain generally pleased at the job performance of Gov. Greg Abbott (R), whose approval rating is 51/32 (+19), virtually unchanged from October. A third of respondents strongly approve of his job performance. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) has a 42/31 (+11) rating, virtually unchanged from October. Speaker Dennis Bonnen (R-Angleton) polled at 26/16 (+10).

Comptroller Glenn Hegar

Comptroller Glenn Hegar

Interestingly, just one out of eight respondents correctly identified Glenn Hegar as the state’s comptroller, even though he was just re-elected to the position in November. He was listed along with Sid Miller (AGRIC), George P. Bush (LAND) and Christi Craddick (RRC). Thirty percent incorrectly named one of them, while 57% admitted they didn’t know.

Non-citizen Voter Probe: In a new advisory, the Secretary of State’s office directed county officials to “pause their efforts” to verify the citizenship of registered voters on a list previously provided to them by the state. The advisory follows a federal court ruling that directed the Secretary of State to order county officials to refrain from contacting voters directly about their citizenship pending further litigation. The next hearing in the case is scheduled for March 11.

SEN: Beaumont sales manager Michael Cooper, who unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination for LTGOV in 2018 (48%), announced he would challenge U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (R).

Dallas: Land Comm. George P. Bush endorsed former Rep. Jason Villalba (R-Dallas) for mayor.

Dallas ISD: The school board opted not to fill the D4 seat vacated by former board member Jaime Resendez, who resigned last month after his residency was questioned. Three of the final five candidates are running in the open-seat election in May. The board decided to leave the seat open until voters selected a new trustee.

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