July 05, 2006
Vilma Luna to resign

Today's turning out to be a busier news day than I expected, and we don't even have a ruling from Judge Sparks in the DeLay ballot replacement lawsuit yet. State Rep. Vilma Luna, one of the top Democratic lieutenants of Speaker Tom Craddick, is going to resign her seat at the end of this month.

State Rep. Vilma Luna announced Wednesday that she is resigning effective July 31.

Democratic Party Chairman Alex Garcia and several others confirmed the resignation will be effective at the end of the month.

"My constituents have seen me grow from a single woman to a married woman to the mother of two wonderful boys," she said at a press conference at her legislative office on Gollihar Road. "My family has been blessed many times over, and we tried to give back ... but it is time for my family and I to have more flexibility in our lives."

Luna, D-Corpus Christi, was elected to the District 33 seat in 1993. Luna serves as vice chair of the House Appropriations Committee and also has served on the House Calendars and Ways and Means committees.

She said the timing of her resignation was in the best interest of her constituents because it allows the election code process to be followed and for her successor to be elected in the regular November election and to serve a full term.

I presume what she means by this is that there wouldn't be time for a September special election, so the November general will be the one to fill her spot. I also presume this will be a general and not a special, which means that the Nueces County Democratic Party will pick her successor. Luna had no Republican opponent, so if that's the case then whoever gets chosen there will be a shoe-in. According to Phillip, that is indeed what will happen.

Matt is asking similar questions, but he's got a flawed assumption in here:

The real question that arises is what happens to that seat for November? Luna was unchallenged in the Democratic primary and she had no opponent in the November general. Luna, has said that this will allow voters pick a candidate to serve a full two year term. Which makes it sounds like there will be a primary election before November, but I am not sure about the law on that.

No matter what, this district is overwhelmingly Democrat and I view this as a victory for the party. Like Al Edwards being beaten by Boris Miles or Carlos Uresti defeating Frank Madla... Democrats have picked up yet another D vote for January.

Actually, based on 2004, this district was pretty darned purple:

Candidate Party Votes Pct
BUSH/CHENEY R 23,932 54.1%
KERRY/EDWARDS D 20,280 45.9%

VADEN, WILLIAM R 14,100 32.9%
ORTIZ, SOLOMON P. D 28,817 67.1%

CARRILLO, VICTOR G. R 18,333 46.2%
SCARBOROUGH, BOB D 21,382 53.8%

BRISTER, SCOTT R 19,475 47.5%
VAN OS, DAVID D 21,528 52.5%

KEASLER, MIKE R 18,264 44.1%
MOLINA, J.R. D 23,133 55.9%

I called this a missed opportunity for the Republicans, and with Luna dropping out it's even more so. Another item for the "Why Run Everywhere?" files.

Be that as it may, this is sure to be another chink in Craddick's armor. It's still too early to speculate about who might replace him, but I'm certain he's not very happy with the news. South Texas Chisme, on the other hand, is.

UPDATE: Rico Politico speculates on Luna's future.

UPDATE: More speculation, this time about who replaces Luna, from BOR.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on July 05, 2006 to Election 2006 | TrackBack

Prediction: Solomon Ortiz Jr. gets the Dem slot for this seat and succeeds his father in Congress when Sr. retires.

Posted by: Nathaniel on July 5, 2006 2:49 PM