SD14 special: Former Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt (R) remains below 50% following the release of what we expect to be final unofficial results from Travis and Bastrop Cos. Eckhardt sits at 49.75%, which puts her in a runoff against Rep. Eddie Rodriguez (D-Austin), who finished with 33.9% of the vote.

Gov. Greg Abbott (R) has not yet set the date for the runoff election. If the runoff election is scheduled to occur after August 17, it may not be possible to replace Rodriguez as the Democratic nominee for HD51 if he were to win the SD14 runoff. Section 145.032, Election Code, provides that a “candidate may not withdraw from the general election after the 74th day before election day,” which is August 17. Rodriguez’s name would have to remain on the ballot under Section 145.039, Election Code.

Assuming voters re-elected an ineligible Rodriguez, under this scenario, then a special election would be required to fill his unexpired term, conceivably both in 2019-20 and 2021-22. The timing of that election would depend on when the vacancy occurred, which would be somewhere between the SD14 special runoff election day or the day those results were canvassed, if Rodriguez were to win. The timing of that election affects the timing of the runoff election if one were needed.

This scenario could have an impact on the Legislative session if, say, the November election results yielded an evenly divided House between 75 Republicans and 75 Democrats, with one Democratic vacancy, at the time a new Speaker is elected.

SC5: Justice Paul Green (R) announced he would retire at the end of August. Green, who has served on the court since 2005, is up for re-election in 2022. Based on the timing of Green’s resignation, Gov. Greg Abbott (R) will appoint a successor, his fourth Supreme Court appointment since 2018. Two of those appointees – Justices Jane Bland (R) and Brett Busby (R) – are on the ballot this year, and Justice Jimmy Blacklock (R) was elected to a full six-year term in 2018.

Three other current justices were appointed by former Gov. Rick Perry (R) prior to being elected by voters: Justices Jeff Boyd (R), Eva Guzman (R) and Debra Lehrmann (R). Perry appointed Lehrmann after she had secured the Republican nomination for the seat.

If Green were to resign up by August 21, his successor would be chosen in a special election in November. Section 202.002, Election Code provides that an “appointment to fill a vacancy continues until the next succeeding general election” if the vacancy occurs after the 74th day before the next general election. That day is August 21.

HD67: The Plano Police Assoc. endorsed Rep. Jeff Leach (R-Allen).

HD100: Rep. Lorraine Birabil (D-Dallas) conceded the Democratic runoff to Jasmine Crockett, pledging to continue the “necessary work on the issues that matter most.”

SEN: The M.J. Hegar (D) campaign announced she raised more than $1M between winning the runoff election on Tuesday night and this (Tuesday) morning.

CD23 open: Tony Gonzales II’s lead over Raul Reyes Jr. sits at 25 votes after Bexar, El Paso and Medina Cos. reported updated results after counting provisional and overseas ballots. Those three counties represent two thirds of the votes cast in the runoff. Medina Co. was Reyes’s strongest – he won it by over 1,200 votes – but the additional ballots did not help him much. On Facebook, Reyes asked for contributions to cover legal bills and a “very expensive” recount.

2020 Census: President Trump today (Tuesday) signed a memorandum “clarifying that illegal aliens are not to be included for the purpose of apportionment of representatives.” Doing so would reduce Texas’s population by approximately 1.6-2.0 million people, equal to two or three congressional districts. Several civil rights groups said they would challenge the memorandum in court as a violation of the Enumeration Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

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