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Janek to leave Senate in June

State Sen. Kyle Janek has made official his departure from the Senate.

Sen. Kyle Janek, R-Houston, announced today that he was resigning his Senate seat, effective June 2, to spend more time with his family.

The resignation date, he acknowledged, is different from the March 10 timetable he gave Senate colleagues in a conference phone call on Monday.

He said he prolonged his departure to give more potential candidates time to consider a race to succeed him and to give voters in District 17 more time to consider their options.

A March 10 resignation would have allowed Gov. Rick Perry to schedule a special election on May 10 to fill out the remainder of Janek’s term, which expires in January 2011.

A June 2 resignation means the governor could either set the special election on the same day as the November general election, which is the next uniform election date, or declare an emergency and set a special election sometime after June 2.

In other cases like this, Governor Perry has consistently picked election dates that best served whatever political purpose needed serving, so who knows what he’ll do. If he thinks the GOP has better odds of retaining the seat with a standalone election, he’ll declare an emergency. If not, he’ll let it do till November.

Former Harris County Republican Chairman Gary Polland, state Rep.Charlie Howard, R-Sugar Land, and state Rep. Scott Hochberg, D-Houston, have said they will consider a Senate race.

Hochberg would be an exciting candidate, partly because it’d be great to see him become more influential, and partly because his need to step down to run for the Senate would mean that his fairly swingy seat would go from being uncontested this year to hotly contested as an open seat pickup opportunity for the GOP. The part of me that envisions Senator Hochberg wants him to run. The part of me that imagines him losing, and his House seat falling to the GOP wants him to stay put. I’m also curious to know what other possible Dems there may be for this seat.

Janek said sportscaster and former Houston Oilers football player Spencer Tillman of Sugar Land, who he had been considering a race, is out of the running because he doesn’t live in the district.

So much for Burka’s teaser, though honestly it’s unclear to me why this would be a big deal, given how loosely the residency requirement is interpreted for most other members. Maybe he doesn’t have a relative who lives in the district whose house he could claim as his own.

(On a side note, I guess this means Tillman is a Republican. Alas.)

So. Who do you want to see run – or not run – to fill this seat?

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2 Comments

  1. Drew says:

    I’m a little confused. Charlie Howard is on the ballot for HD 26. He has a credible opponent. If indeed, he prefers the Senate seat and decides to run for that seat, while remaining on the primary ballot; assuming he wins, his name will appear on the November ballot in two spots. Is that legal?

    By the way, I agree with you about Hochberg.

  2. Drew – The stuff about Howard was under the assumption that there would have been a May special election, under which he (or Hochberg) could run without leaving their existing seats. With a November election, that’s off – they’d have to withdraw, and replacement candidates would be selected. There could still be an “emergency” special election before November under which the May rules would apply, but I think that’s doubtful. You never know, though.