Nine out of ten Constitutional amendments are on their way to passing.
Amendments to the state constitution that would make it harder to enact a state income tax, stabilize funding for state parks and allow retired law enforcement animals to be adopted by their handlers received wide support from voters Tuesday.
Supporters of one of the most contentious issues on the ballot — Proposition 4 — proclaimed victory within hours of the polls closing, with about three fourths of voters supporting the proposal in early voting returns.
The only item on the ballot that looked as though it might not pass was Proposition 1, which would permit elected municipal court judges to serve multiple municipalities at the same times. With votes still being counted late Tuesday, returns indicated that it had received just over one-third of the vote.
The other propositions were poised to pass easily. Proposition 5 would stabilize funding for state parks and received overwhelming support. The proposition allows money accumulated from existing sales tax on sporting goods to be used for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Historical Commission. Current law allows the Legislature to allocate that money however they see fit.
Proposition 10, which had the highest level of support, amends the state constitution to allow retired service animals, such as dogs or horses, to be adopted by their handlers or other qualified caretakers. These animals are currently classified as surplus property or salvage and can be “auctioned, donated or destroyed.”
Prop 4 is terrible, but that usually doesn’t stop us. I just hope it’s not as bad as I fear it may be.
Meanwhile, in Fort Bend:
A Democrat and a Republican were leading in unofficial returns Tuesday night in a nationally targeted special election for a historically Republican Texas House seat.
Democrat Eliz Markowitz — the only Democrat in the race — was in first place, while Republican Gary Gates was in second, according to unofficial returns. The race will head to a runoff if no candidate gets over 50%.
Gates was one of three serious GOP candidates out of six total. The two other viable Republicans in the race, Tricia Krenek and Anna Allred, were third and fourth, respectively. Allred appeared to concede at about 10:30 p.m., saying she was “disappointed with the results” but “pleased with our campaign.”
The race for House District 28 — where former state Rep. John Zerwas, R-Richmond, stepped down at the end of September — was one of three contests Tuesday to fill state House seats. The two others happened in solidly Democratic districts where runoffs were also looking likely, based on the early vote and initial Election Day results.
In House District 100, where former Rep. Eric Johnson, D-Dallas, vacated his seat earlier this year after becoming Dallas mayor, Democrat Lorraine Birabil had a wide lead over three Democratic rivals but had not clinched more than half the vote. James Armstrong III, Daniel Davis Clayton and Sandra Crenshaw were in a close race for second place and a spot in an expected runoff.
Markowitz got 39.1% of the vote, with Gates getting 28.5%, Tricia Krenek 18.1%, and Anna Allred 9.3%. While I expect Republicans to unite for the runoff, I can’t help but feel that Gates was their third best choice in this race. His main asset is that he’s loaded and willing to spend on himself, which I figure helped him in this race. How much he’ll excite voters as that kind of candidate in December is the question. I feel very certain he won’t have a clear path to the GOP nomination in the March primary. Here’s the Chron story on this race.
I’m saving the HD148 race for last, because of the delay in Harris County results (see here for why that happened.) As of 5 AM, we still didn’t have full results. The best I can tell you at this time is this:
Eastman 1,870 17.87% La Rotta 1,818 17.37% McConnico 1,266 12.10% Garcia 1,261 12.05% Leal 904 8.64% Shaw 853 8.15% Watt 667 6.37% Camarena 473 4.52% Carmona 433 4.14% Block 311 2.97% Nunez 185 1.77% Denson 165 1.58% Trevino 140 1.34% Mundy 71 0.68% Isaacson 49 0.47%
There’s still a lot of votes out as of this post, so things can change quite a bit. My initial speculation that some people may vote for Adrian Garcia based on the belief that he’s the County Commissioner appears to have had some validity. Beyond that, we’re just going to need to wait and see what the final tally says. Note that the total Republican vote is 34% – Ryan McConnico got 32% against Jessica Farrar a year ago. Put a pin in this one, we’ll come back to it. Oh, and as with the Republicans in HD28, I don’t think Anna Eastman (assuming nothing weird happens between now and the final count) will have a clear path in March, either.