U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela’s (D-Brownsville) resignation will take effect at 11:59 p.m. tonight (Thursday). A special election will be required to fill his unexpired term. The election could be held as early as May 7, but Gov. Greg Abbott (R) would need to order it by tomorrow (Friday), but a key deadline to send military/overseas ballots has already passed. The next uniform election day is November 8.
Because the election would be run under the current boundaries, and since the member of Congress running for the seat is already in office in another district, any Democrat who won this election would serve only until January. Former Cameron Co. Comm. Dan Sanchez (D) is considering the race, according to Vela.
However, Republican nominee Mayra Flores would be running in the general election as an incumbent member of Congress if she were to win a special election held before the next uniform election date. She faces U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-McAllen) in November for a full term in the newly drawn CD34 (Likely D).
Abbott could call an emergency election under Sec. 41.0011, Election Code, which requires the governor to state the nature of the emergency necessitating an early election. In 2018, U.S. Rep. Michael Cloud (R-Victoria) won an emergency election declared so by Abbott because of ongoing issues connected to “devastation resulting from Hurricane Harvey.” Today, Rep. Terry Canales (D-Edinburg) requested Abbott declare an emergency for Brooks, Kleberg and Jim Wells Cos. arising from ongoing wildfires there. Jim Wells Co. is located within CD34 as it is currently configured.
We rated the district Likely D in the 2020 general election, which Vela won, 55%-42%, over a Republican who raised $20K for the race. Given the circumstances, we would rate a special election as Lean R.
HD19 open (Safe R): Gov. Greg Abbott (R) endorsed Justin Berry (R) in the runoff over Ellen Troxclair.
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