U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela (D-Brownsville) announced he would resign early to take a position at Akin Gump. His resignation will trigger a special election to fill his unexpired term.

The special election will be conducted in CD34 as it has been configured for the past decade, creating another situation where one or more candidates running for the seat in the primary elections would not be able to run for the special election including, most notably, U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-McAllen), who currently represents CD15 (Toss Up).

Section 203.004, Election Code (by way of Section 204.021) provides that a “special election shall be held on the first uniform election date occurring on or after the 36th day after the date the election is ordered” by Gov. Greg Abbott (R). The next two upcoming uniform election dates are May 7 and November 8. If Abbott were to order the election on or before April 1, then the election would be held May 7. Otherwise, the election would be held November 8, unless Abbott declares an emergency election. U.S. Rep. Michael Cloud (R-Victoria) was elected under emergency election designations in June 2018, although the emergency was connected to “devastation resulting from Hurricane Harvey.”

A May 7 or otherwise earlier than November date would likely benefit 2022 Republican nominee Mayra Flores, who received 60% of the vote in the primary election. She could conceivably be the only Republican in the special election – and likely the first-place finisher in that election – facing a field of Democrats, none of whom would be able to serve past January 2023. Gonzalez could run in the special election only if he resigned his seat, which seems highly unlikely.

Thus, the only rewards for a Democrat winning the election would be a few months in Washington, a lifetime of being called “the Honorable” and the ability to put member of Congress on their resume.* Flores, on the other hand, would become an incumbent, with all of the fundraising advantages that entails, instead of simply being a challenger facing another incumbent in November.

*A certified write-in candidacy for the seat in November is possible, but it would be an astronomically high hurdle to defeat both Flores and Gonzalez in the general election.

Houston: Former council member Amanda Edwards announced she would run for mayor in 2023. Sen. John Whitmire (D-Houston) and former interim Harris Co. Clerk Chris Hollins (D) have already announced they would run to succeed Mayor Sylvester Turner, who is term-limited.

©2022 Texas Election Source LLC