The race to replace Sen. Mario Gallegos is cranking up, even though Gov. Perry has yet to set a date for the election. Patricia Kilday Hart laments this “delay”, writing in the Houston Chronicle:
When will the constituents of the late Sen. Gallegos finally have representation in the Texas Senate?
Robert Miller laid out the technical requirements for calling the election back on Nov. 12th on his “View from the Gallery” blog (by far the most informative place for issues about the Texas Legislature):
Earliest scenario: If the canvas occurs November 21 and the Governor issues a writ of election the same day, the special election could be held Saturday, December 15. The local canvas could occur December 26, and the runoff election could be set for January 8.
Latest scenario: If the canvas occurs December 6, the Governor could issue the writ of election on December 26. The election could be called for February 5. If the local canvas then occurs February 15, the Governor could wait until March 6 to order a March 30 runoff election.
It looks as though the “Latest scenario” is the path that the Gov. is taking, not a bad idea if you want to push conservative legislation through the Senate early in the session. I say that because it changes the 2/3 “rose bush” tradition by one vote – R’s would need only 1 Dem vote vs 2 if the SD6 seat is filled. Who knows, that could be the difference between passing vouchers or not. Or any other controversial conservative legislation.
Driving around the district, Carol Alvarado has the early lead in getting her signs up, I’d guess she has about 4 signs up for every 1 that Sylvia Garcia has up. That will change as Garcia gets ramped up but it does show that Alvarado was more prepared for the eventual death of Sen. Gallegos. I recall that back in August, when he was in critical condition, rumors were circulating of Alvarado visiting him in the hospital asking him to resign so that she could be on the ballot. Yes, politics is a brutal game.
And that is one of the reasons that I think Garcia has the edge, she often missteps because of her aggressiveness. Way back in the Chron.com archives, you’ll find lots of stories about her, including the time she was Mayor-pro-tem and bonuses were issued – she claimed not to know about them. One of the interesting things in that article Dr. Richard Murray’s prediction of her future in politics:
“Even taking the best case, that she’s telling the truth and didn’t know what was going on, it’s still a huge political misstep and probably ends any possibility that she could be elected citywide to any seat like controller or mayor. That’s probably unrealistic,” says University of Houston political scientist Richard Murray, who taught Alvarado when she attended UH.
“Very likely she would have to go for a district seat, maybe congressional down the line, but more likely a state representative or Senate seat based substantially in the community that she grew up in, where voters would be more forgiving.”
And that is exactly how it played out. There are two other reasons that I think Garcia has the advantage. If you look each of their supporter lists, you’ll see that Alvarado has the black community leaders and Garcia has the Latino leaders. In a district that is heavily Latino, those networks of Latinos should prove very helpful. And the last reason is that I think many Republicans in the district are very familiar with Garcia’s work as County Commissioner and for the most part are favorable toward her. Yes, there is a Republican on the ballot, and that might affect the first election, as Robert Miller notes, but realistically, it is an overwhelmingly Democratic district,R.W. Bray has no money, and hasn’t proven to be an effective fundraiser.
There may be other candidates that get involved but I don’t think they will affect the race in a substantial way. So for now, I’d put my money on Garcia, get out the popcorn, and watch the two Democrats tear each other apart.