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A pair of mid-afternoon announcements and one U.S. Senate vote left two important chairs empty and opened the possibility that another incumbent legislator might leave before his term is over.

HD28: Rep. John Zerwas (R-Richmond), chair of the House Appropriations Committee, announced he would resign effective September 30.

Rep. John Zerwas

Rep. John
Zerwas

I have served under three speakers, and each of them gave me incredible opportunities to lead for which I am grateful,” Zerwas said in a statement. “Although I am leaving elected office, I look forward to continuing to serve Texas in another capacity.”

His resignation would require a special election, which is unlikely to coincide with the November general election and will instead fall somewhere during the 2020 primary schedule.

Zerwas reported having just $17K on hand as of June 30 after raising $22K during the two weeks that followed the legislative session. He won a seventh term in 2018 over Democrat Meghan Scoggins, 54%-46%, his closest race to date. Since 2002, the precincts currently comprising HD28 have shifted steadily closer to parity, moving from 14 points redder than the state as a whole to less than a point, with a little over half of that shift occurring since 2014.

HD26: Rep. Rick Miller (R-Sugar Land) is on a list of two names Gov. Greg Abbott (R) released as potential new leaders for the Texas Dept. of Family and Prospective Services, reported the Texas Tribune’s Edgar Walters. The other name belongs to Deputy Comm. Trevor Woodruff, who is the acting commissioner.

Rep. Rick Miller

Rep. Rick
Miller

Miller, who is serving his fourth term, already faces at least three primary and three Democratic challengers. He reported having just $7K on hand as of June 30 after raising less than $20K during the two weeks following the legislative session. If Miller takes the reins of the agency, a special election would be required to fill his unexpired term.

Miller won re-election in 2018 by less than 5 percentage points of Democratic nominee Sarah DeMerchant, whom he defeated by nearly 16 points in 2016. Miller won the 2014 general election by nearly 40 points. Since 2002, the district has shifted from being nearly 15 points redder than the state as a whole to 1.2 points bluer in 2018, and half of that shift occurred in the last four years.

SC6: The U.S. Senate confirmed Justice Jeff Brown (R) as a federal judge for the Southern District of Texas on a 50-40 vote. Brown was re-elected to a six-year term on the state’s high court in November. Gov. Greg Abbott (R) will appoint a replacement, who will then need to be elected to the remainder of Brown’s unexpired term.

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