HD79 special: Michiel Noe narrowly out-raised Art Fierro, $49K to $48K, and outspent him, $40K to $32K, during the first 19 days of the year. Noe has a negligible $11K to $10.5K advantage in cash on hand. Hans Sassenfeld, the lone Republican in the race, reported less than $3K in contributions and less than $1K in expenditures. He has less than $2K on hand.

Noe’s largest contributors were the Texas Medical Assoc. TEXPAC ($15K) and Texans for Lawsuit Reform PAC ($10K). He also received $1K from El Paso Mayor Dee Margo. Fierro’s largest contributor was the Texas Trial Lawyers Assoc. PAC ($13K). Fierro received $1K contributions from Reps. Cesar Blanco (D-El Paso) and Joe Moody (D-El Paso). Both candidates received $1K each from Hillco PAC and El Paso developer Woody Hunt.

Our Crib Sheets have been updated with these results.

Meanwhile, a total of 1,509 people have voted through yesterday (Tuesday), the last day for which numbers are available. Turnout with three days left, including today (Wednesday), is 1.7%.

HD145 special: Christina Morales outraised former Houston council member Melissa Noriega, $36K to $20K, and narrowly outspent her, $31K to $28K. Noriega has a slight $25K to $24K lead in cash on hand. Morales’s largest contributors for the period were Texans for Fairness PAC ($10K), Latino Texas PAC ($5K), Plumbers Local Union No. 68 PAC ($2.5K) and Sugar Land accountant John Thayer ($2.5K). Noriega’s largest contributor was Houston executive Matthew Emal ($2.5K).

The rest of the eight-candidate field is far behind in fundraising. Elias De La Garza reported $14K in contributions, all in kind and nearly all from family members, and $13K in expenditures and a $15K unitemized loan. Martha Fierro, the lone Republican in the race, reported $5K in contributions. She spent $1K and has $4K on hand. She received a $1K contribution from Texas Right to Life PAC. Alfred Moreno reported just over $1K in contributions. Libertarian candidate Clayton Hunt and Democrat Oscar Del Toro reported less than $1K in contributions. Ruben Gonsalez reported no contributions or expenditures.

Meanwhile, with two days left in the early voting period, just 865 people have cast ballots, amounting to 1.1% of registered voters.

House Committees: Speaker Dennis Bonnen (R-Angleton) released standing committee appointments (pdf) today (Wednesday).

The nine-member House Elections Committee will be chaired by Rep. Stephanie Klick (R-Fort Worth). Rep. Philip Cortez (D-San Antonio) will be vice chair. Reps. John Bucy (D-Cedar Park), Dustin Burrows (R-Lubbock), Briscoe Cain (R-Deer Park), Celia Israel (D-Austin), Mayes Middleton (R-Wallsville) and Valoree Swanson (R-Spring) will serve on the committee, as will the eventual winner of the HD79 special election.

Rep. Dade Phelan (R-Port Neches) was appointed chair of the State Affairs Committee, which has jurisdiction over ethics and campaign finance. Rep. Ana Hernandez (D-Houston) is vice chair. Reps. Joe Deshotel (D-Port Arthur), Bobby Guerra (D-Mission), Sam Harless (R-Spring), Justin Holland (R-Heath), Todd Hunter (R-Corpus Christi), Phil King (R-Weatherford), Tan Parker (R-Flower Mound), Richard Raymond (D-Laredo), Eddie Rodriguez (D-Austin), John Smithee (R-Amarillo) and Drew Springer (R-Muenster) will serve on the committee.

CD18: U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Houston) has stepped down as chair of a congressional subcommittee and a leadership role within the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. An unnamed woman has filed a lawsuit claiming that she was sexually assaulted by a foundation employee and Lee fired her when she said she would take legal action against it. Jackson Lee has denied the allegation.

CD22: Pearland attorney Nyanza Davis Moore established a campaign committee for a potential challenge of U.S. Rep. Pete Olson (R-Sugar Land) as a Democrat.

Dallas: Council member Mark Clayton (D9) announced he would not seek re-election. He becomes the second incumbent to retire prior to being term-limited, joining Rickey Callahan (D5).

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