State Rep. Mike Villarreal said Friday that Gov. Rick Perry has set Jan. 6 as the date for a special election to fill his position in the state House and a Senate seat being vacated by Leticia Van de Putte.
Villarreal and Van de Putte are leaving the Texas Legislature to run for San Antonio mayor.
In social media posts Friday, Villarreal divulged a snippet of a conversation he had with Ken Armbrister, a top Perry staffer, about the scheduling of the special election.
“He just called to let me know that the election will be called on Jan. 6,” Villarreal said in a phone interview. “This will minimize the possibility that there’s a vacancy in the House.”
The legislative session starts Jan. 13.
A Perry spokeswoman declined to confirm the date, saying: “We don’t have anything to announce on this. When we do, we will put out a press release.”
A formal announcement from Perry’s office could come as early as Monday.
Villarreal tweeted and Facebooked the news, which as you can see is unconfirmed at this time. Villarreal seems to be the only one willing to state this for the record, but we’ll know for sure soon enough.
Former San Antonio Councilmen Diego Bernal and Walter Martinez, who is also a former state representative, and Melissa Aguillon, who runs a public relations firm, all Democrats, are vying for Villarreal’s House seat. Nunzio Previtera, a Republican, and Libertarian Roger Gary are also eyeing the race.
State Reps. Jose Menendez and Trey Martinez Fischer, both Democrats, have launched campaigns to replace Van de Putte in the upper chamber. GOP activist Alma Perez-Jackson is also mentioned as a candidate, but has not officially announced her campaign.
I’ve said before that the special election in SD26 is a worthwhile shot for the Republicans to take, though I wouldn’t bet any money on their candidate making it to a runoff. Worst case scenario is a few fat cat donors waste some money.
Bexar County election officials already were urging reconsideration of the Jan 6. date.
Elections Administrator Jacque Callanen said Friday the date wouldn’t allow the two days needed to prepare polling sites in schools that will be closed for the holidays until Jan. 5.
Surely there is an accommodation that can be made here. Both these races are near locks to need runoffs, so the sooner they are held, the better.
On a tangential note, January 14 – Day Two of the session – is the day that Rep. Tim Kleinschmidt is planning to resign to take the job of general counsel for the Ag Department. I would presume a special election to fill that seat, for which I have urged Dems to take a shot, will follow shortly thereafter. Assuming one of Reps. Martinez-Fischer or Menendez wins in SD26, we will need one more special election, likely in early March, to fill that vacancy. Barring any unforseen additional departures, that should be it for the time being.