Voter ID: A divided Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied plaintiffs’ request to hear an initial appeal of the recent Voter ID ruling en banc. Instead, the appeal will be heard initially by a three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit, which is customary. Plaintiffs had hoped to expedite the process by taking the case straight to the full Fifth Circuit. Ten of the justices voted to deny the request, and four were in favor of taking on the case. In September, a divided Fifth Circuit panel stayed a lower court ruling preventing the state from implementing its revised Voter ID law. Absent further judicial action, that law will be in effect for this year’s general election, and it remains to be seen whether the appeal will have run its course prior to the 2018 primary elections. Whichever party loses with the three-judge panel will almost certainly seek an en banc hearing.

Rep. Kyle Kacal

Rep. Kyle

HD12: Rep. Kyle Kacal (R-College Station) announced he would seek re-election.

CD27: Corpus Christi resident Eric Holguin formed a campaign committee for a potential challenge of U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Corpus Christi) as a Democrat. Holguin, who most recently served as the Manhattan Borough liaison for New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, ran unsuccessfully for city council as a college student.

CD32: Richardson transgender activist Danielle Pellett announced she was ending her campaign for the Democratic nomination, citing the large field of candidates. “Judging from the current political landscape, this fight is going to get real dirty, real fast,” she wrote in a Facebook post. “I am withdrawing from this race and hope that the other candidates will follow suit so we can have a peaceful discussion on the issues and a civil primary.” She did not indicate in the post if she would support a particular candidate. At least 11 others have taken a formal step toward seeking the Democratic nomination to challenge U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Dallas).

Hays Co.: County Comm. Will Conley (R) announced he would run for Hays County Judge. Conley was first elected in 2004 and has been re-elected three times, and he has chaired the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization for the last six years. Incumbent Bert Cobb (R) is not seeking re-election and is currently absent while he undergoes treatment for Leukemia. Conley must resign to run for the position but will continue to serve until a replacement has been appointed.

McAllen: The city council has set a January 20 special election to fill the unexpired term of council member Richard Cortez, who resigned to run for Hidalgo County Judge. At least three candidates have already announced for the race: physician and former McAllen ISD trustee Joseph Caporusso, attorney Javier Villalobos and businessman Timothy Wilkins. Cortez will continue to serve until a successor is sworn into office.

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