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Sullivan says he’ll step down if he wins primary

He’s hoping to defuse a campaign issue.

CM Mike Sullivan

Houston City Councilman Mike Sullivan will submit his resignation in July if he wins the Republican nomination for Harris County tax assessor-collector in April’s primary, he said.

The resignation would not be effective until January, when he would be sworn in as tax assessor if he wins the Republican primary and the November general election. He will face incumbent Don Sumners in the primary.

[…]

Submitting the resignation letter in July would allow the city to hold a special election on the November ballot to finish the remaining year on his term.

In planning for his departure, Sullivan said, he looked for “the most democratic process we can engage in at no cost to taxpayers for there to be an elected representative for District E.”

This issue has come up before, in 2006 when Shelley Sekula-Gibbs was running for Congress, and in 2008 when Adrian Garcia was running for Sheriff. Both remained in office during their races, both faced that as a campaign issue to varying degrees, and both were replaced in a special election the following May after they won their elections and subsequently resigned, leaving their seats empty for the interim. Sullivan seems to have found a loophole, which I must admit is clever. It’s clever enough that I’m sure he’ll still be criticized for it, but I give him credit for coming up with a creative way to avoid the mid-year special election, which would save the city a few bucks.

“I understand his logic,” Sumners said of Sullivan’s plans. “Somebody is just going to have to explain to me an election for a position that still has an occupant.”

Um, we just had one of those last year. Jarvis Johnson, Ann Clutterbuck, Sue Lovell – they were all still Council members in November and December, even though everyone knew they were not going to be Council members as of January. They even voted on stuff, along with defeated CMs Jolanda Jones and Brenda Stardig. It’s called being a lame duck, a position with which I hope Sumners becomes familiar later this year. If that’s the best you can do, maybe Sullivan won’t face any flak for this. Campos, who notes that this is also an issue for CM Wanda Adams, has more.

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4 Comments

  1. Mainstream says:

    I am not sure I understand. In the event he becomes the Republican nominee, but loses the general election, does he leave his city council seat Jan. 1 of 2013 and hold no office at all? Or is there some loophole by which he could stay on City Council? Can a resignation letter for a future date be withdrawn prior to that date?

  2. My interpretation of this is yes, he would leave his seat on January 1 of 2013, because his replacement will have been elected in November (or December, if there’s a runoff) of 2012. He’d be resigning to run, win or lose. At least, that’s my take on it. I guess you’d have to ask him yourself if that interpretation is correct.

  3. […] I know, there are no city of Houston elections this year. (Not yet, anyway.) But the candidates and officeholders have to file reports anyway, covering the period […]

  4. […] here for some background. Sullivan headed this off as a campaign issue for the primary and will […]

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