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When will there be a special election to fill Mayor Turner’s legislative term?

Mayor Sylvester Turner

Mayor Sylvester Turner

The Leader News brings up a point that I haven’t seen mentioned elsewhere, namely that HD139 is now vacant since the inauguration of Mayor Sylvester Turner. They have their top-of-page-one story devoted to this, but of course you can’t find it on their crappy website, so you have to go to their digital edition to read it. I don’t know where they get the claim that there could be as many as six elections to finally fill this seat – by my count, there will be the primary, a primary runoff, the November general – all of which is for the 2017-2018 term – and when one is called, a special election and likely runoff to fill the remainder of his 2015-2016 term. That’s five elections, not six; I think they double-counted the special election. That’s predicated Greg Abbott calling a special election, which I expect he’ll do but don’t think he’s required to do with the legislature not in session. Sec. 203.004 (a) of the Election Code says “Except as provided by Subsection (b), 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.” I don’t see anything that specifies a deadline for calling the election outside of a time when the Lege is in session or is expected to be, so I suppose in theory Abbott could let this slide.

If I’m wrong about that, then there would likely be a special election in May, with a runoff in June. If the winner of that is also the winner of the March primary and runoff, then that person will be the beneficiary of a couple extra months’ seniority over everyone else who gets elected for the first time this year. Or we may get someone who only gets to serve as a representative for six months. We may also get someone running against two different runoff opponents, depending on when the primary runoffs get scheduled. But again, it all begins with Greg Abbott. We’ll see what if any action he takes.

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7 Comments

  1. PDiddie says:

    The voters in that district should have already petitioned the governor for representation. If they have not or do not raise their voices, I wouldn’t be surprised if Abbott left the seat vacant for all of 2016.

  2. Joshua ben bullard says:

    Naturally, I would assume that the law would permit the governor to appoint whomever wins the democrat primary,once the run off is complete,the winnergoes.

  3. Edward Ybarra says:

    The Texas Governor does not appoint a person to a vacant state representative or Senator position. A special election will called by the Governor to elect someone to serve out the remainder of this term, to December 31, 2016. The next term, beginning in January, 2017, is already being fought out at the primary of March 1st, with the General Election not till November 8th.

  4. joshua ben bullard says:

    Edward Ybarra ,is actually more wrong than he is correct =i am actually more right than i am wrong =heres why =the law permits the governor of the state to appoint any texas resident whom is qualified to a state rep position provided that the governor =does not call for a special election on the seat,As i suspected=the governor is not manadated by law to call for a special election ,he can stand down on this action , choosing to instead wait to see whom is elected in the democrat primary and then appointing that person to the seat with out ever calling a special election.which is what the governor should do,dont call the special election , and then appoint the winner of the democrat primary to the seat.

    The law is clear,the governor can appoint in lieu of calling a special election and still be within the law.joshua ben bullard

  5. Mainstream says:

    I believe the election code does indeed require a special election, but not on a rush basis in the setting where the legislature is not in session.

    Where the Leader got it wrong was in their assumption that the special election follows the regular partisan primary format. They did not understand that in the first special election you can have multiple candidates from all political parties in a free-for-all, followed by a run-off if needed by the top two.

    Here’s the problem: The district is overwhelmingly Democratic. The first Democrat primary on March 1 has multiple candidates, and so the general election candidate may not become known until after the May 24 run-off primary, which is later than the uniform election date in May. I don’t think the governor is bound by the uniform election dates for specials, but an election after May 24 would likely give the Democrat nominee a clear shot at taking the seat early, while an election before that time would be a distraction and a waste of campaign resources.

  6. Joshua ben bullard says:

    I’ve studied the law since I was 18 years old,the governor will appoint whomever wins this democrat primary-bet your house on it.the governor will call q special election

  7. […] I’m glad to hear it, though this is likely to get messy. There will surely be some overlap between the primary runoff and the special election, so if the top two special election finishers and the two primary runoff candidates are not the same, it could be quite confusing for all involved. But that’s a worry for another day. For now, at least someone will have a chance to get in the door early. That’s a good thing. […]

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