August 05, 2004
Don't let the door hit you on the way out

Buh-bye, Ron.

State Rep. Ron Wilson of Houston, a 27-year legislative veteran unseated in last spring's Democratic primary, has resigned from the Texas House five months before his final term ends.

"It was fun. Now, it's time to move on," Wilson said Wednesday. He declined to discuss his plans but said he had "lots of options."

Wilson, an attorney, said he quit quietly Saturday in letters sent to Gov. Rick Perry, Speaker Tom Craddick and the chief clerk of the House. His term officially ends at noon Jan. 11, the day the next regular legislative session begins.

If Perry wants to fill the seat before then, he will have to call a special election for the remainder of Wilson's term. Perry spokeswoman Kathy Walt said Wednesday no decision has been made on whether to call such an election.

That sure seems like a flaw in the elections code, doesn't it? Wilson was knocked off in the primaries by a candidate who is now running unopposed in the general election, and it's long past the filing date for other potential challengers. Wouldn't it make more sense in this instance to give the Governor the option of appointing the primary-elected unopposed-in-the-general candidate instead of calling a special election which would almost assuredly be won by that candidate anyway? It's a moot point anyway, since barring an extremely last minute special session there's no compelling need to fill the seat before November.

Whatever. So long, Ron. It's not been nice knowing you.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on August 05, 2004 to Election 2004 | TrackBack

Hopefully one of those options includes convincing Wayne Dolcefino to dust off his conga drums and get the Rhythm Fish back up and playing.

Posted by: Laurence Simon on August 5, 2004 9:08 AM

'Tain't a flaw in the election code, boyo. It's a constitutional mandate. Governors can fill absences in Senate seats, but empty House seats can only be filled by a special election; black-letter Constitutional law.

Norm Ormstein and the Continuity of Government Commission have suggested, inter alia, an amendment to allow governors to fill empty House seats by appointment in the case of massive losses.

Posted by: Greg Morrow on August 5, 2004 9:16 AM

Yes, but we're talking the State House here. I don't think the US Constitution extands to that, though I would expect that the Texas Constitution would have to be amended to allow what I suggest.

Posted by: Charles Kuffner on August 5, 2004 9:32 AM

What'd he do? Defect during re-redistricting?

Posted by: niq on August 5, 2004 10:46 AM

Niq - it's way more than that. Wilson was closely aligned with Craddick and the GOP all throughout the session, he testified for the new map in the federal trial, and he's got a long history of making personal attacks. Byron has a partial list of reasons to dislike the guy; there's plenty more where that came from.

Posted by: Charles Kuffner on August 5, 2004 3:00 PM