Monday at 5 p.m. was the deadline to enter the race to succeed Leticia Van de Putte as the next Senator from District 26 in Bexar County. The line up includes 3 Democrats (2 State Representatives and a small city mayor) and 2 Republicans.
What is sure to be a low turnout election on January 6th, possibly even in the single digits, will likely come down to a runoff that could leave District 26 without a Senator for the beginning of the 84th legislative session.
Initially it appeared that Republicans were lining up behind the more moderate Jose Menendez but with two genuine conservatives entering the race and another Democrat dropping out, the GOP vote split will likely lead to a runoff between two Democrats.
Former Democratic State Representative and Bexar County Tax Assessor-Collector Sylvia Romo has decided not to run after disclosing that she did not reside in the district. She initially said she was willing to challenge the residency rule in court.
Governor Perry setting the election date for January 6th has its pros and cons. It makes it difficult for Bexar County to prepare polling locations and allows for only 4 days of early voting that eclipses the New Year holiday and doesn’t leave much time for candidates to campaign. On the flip side that shortened campaign window will benefit the current elected Democrats as it will be hard for the lesser-known Republicans to raise their name ID.
That fact hasn’t stopped GOP operatives and right wing policy groups from trying to take advantage of this opportunity. The blog “TexasGOPVotes” is pushing Alma Perez Jackson saying that she has “proven herself by being elected to the State Republican Executive Committee for SD26 and by working long hours recruiting Precinct Chairs for Bexar County.” They also state that she, “has been endorsed by Texans for Fiscal Responsibility and received a 92% from the National Rifle Association.”
Converse, Texas Mayor Al Suarez entered the race saying that his knowledge of local issues and having to deal with the consequences of unfunded mandates by the state gives him the experience he needs to be an effective legislator. He is a Democrat and has served in the city’s top post since 2007.
Rep. Martinez Fischer’s campaign recently sent out a release accounting an event that featured “dozens of state Senate District 26 precinct chairs and captains,” special guest Congressman Joaquin Castro, and at least one his Bexar County House delegation colleagues rallying in support of his Senate bid.
In early December Rep. Menendez released his list of supporters that included some big names from San Antonio’s business community saying that, “creating local jobs is my top priority.”
As I stated before, given that these two members will not have to give up their current seats and barring last minute negative campaigning, running for the open seat is a win-win. In the end one will lose but in doing so will provide a great deal of legitimacy to the winner. And with the hard push to the right in the Texas Senate they will need all help they can get.
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