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The race to replace Glenda Dawson

As you will recall, Republican State Rep. Glenda Dawson passed away in September. By law, she could not be replaced on the ballot for her HD29 race, so she will remain there against Democratic candidate Anthony DiNovo. Since a win by Dawson would mean a special election afterwards, the Republicans are playing the hand they’ve been dealt.

A slick new campaign mailer shows a smiling state Rep. Glenda Dawson meeting with Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. It reminds voters of Dawson’s many notable achievements in education, economics and politics.

What the ad doesn’t say is that Dawson has been dead since September.

The recorded message for the Dawson campaign headquarters also notes that “your message and vote are very important to us.”


State Rep. Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, who is overseeing the Dawson campaign, said that Dawson’s daughter had mailed out a letter two weeks earlier noting her mother’s death and asking voters to continue to support the campaign.

Bonnen said the new flier was prepared as a “tribute” to Dawson and did not attempt to conceal her death, although there’s no mention of it on the mail piece.

“We don’t suggest that there’s a great thing she’s going to accomplish for the voters in the future,” he said. “We had already made it clear to voters in one piece that she had passed away. We didn’t think it was necessarily necessary to repeat it.”

Story also noted by HouStoned. Hey, as long as that recorded message isn’t someone impersonating Dawson, then I’ve got no problem with any of this. It’s not like a dead candidate can’t win – just ask John Ashcroft about that.

Assuming Dawson’s name and party carries her to a win in her 60%+ Republican district, the ensuing special election could be pretty high profile. Given that a three seat gain by Dems might be enough to topple House Speaker Tom Craddick, it’s easy to imagine that special election being cast as a battle for the Speakership. It would also very likely take place quickly, probably in mid-December, so that the new member can be in place when the 80th Lege is sworn in. I’ve heard some interesting early reports about potential candidates on the Dem side, though it’s too early to say if they might pan out. A single Dem versus multiple Rs could make for a favorable dynamic, and it rather goes without saying that a runoff would be an extreme example of a low-volume base turnout race. This will be one to keep an eye on Tuesday and beyond.

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