Democrats Christina Morales and Melissa Noriega appeared headed for a runoff in the special election Tuesday to fill state Sen. Carol Alvarado’s seat in the Texas House.
Early voting and absentee ballot totals showed Morales, a city planning commissioner and the CEO of an East End funeral home, leading Noriega by a few percentage points, though neither candidate was within striking distance of the 50 percent needed to avoid a runoff.
Republican Martha Fierro was a distant third among the eight candidates vying for the seat in Texas House District 145.
The district runs from the Heights through downtown, along Interstate 45, to parts of Pasadena and South Houston.
If Morales or Noriega do not break 50 percent Tuesday, it will be up to Gov. Greg Abbott to schedule a date for the runoff.
That was the early report from the Chron. The final tally had Morales with 35.78%, Noriega with 31.13%, Fierro at 25.20%, and no one else above three percent. Turnout, by the way, was 3,481 votes, or 4.77% of registered voters. Remember how I said that turnout in the SD06 special election had been 4.69%, which would be 3,430 votes in HD145? And when I said that turnout on Tuesday (which was 1,888) could very well exceed early turnout (which was 1,593)? Yeah.
The runoff, which I’m guessing will be in the first week of March, should be a more spirited affair, now that there’s more time to campaign. You heard it here first: Turnout in the runoff will exceed turnout in this election. It looks like this will be the only runoff as well, as Art Fierro looks headed for a clear win in HD79. Next up, the special election in HD125, for which early voting starts Monday. We’re getting closer to full strength in the Lege. Congratulations to Christina Morales and Melissa Noriega, and best of luck in overtime.
UPDATE: It’s official, Art Fierro wins without a runoff in HD79.