January 31, 2008
Puente to step down

Retiring Craddick D Rep. Robert Puente is going to vacate his seat early.

State Rep. Robert Puente will leave office Friday, he said in a letter submitted this morning to Gov. Rick Perry.

Puente, dean of the Bexar County legislative delegation, said he's urging the governor to call a special election to fill his District 119 seat in May.

In October, the San Antonio Democrat announced his decision to retire from the Legislature, saying he wouldn't seek his ninth full term this year. That opened the way for Democrat Roland Gutierrez.

Gutierrez stepped down from the City Council in December to run for Puente's seat. As it turned out, he was the only taker; no one else -- Democrat, Republican, Libertarian or independent -- filed to compete in Texas House District 119.

Puente said his decision to leave office early stemmed from talks with Gutierrez.

"He's the heir apparent, he's going to be the next state representative," Puente said. "The more we talked about it, the more it became apparent that I should resign, let him take over early and hopefully get some seniority built up."

Seems wasteful to hold a special election for a seat that isn't contested in November, but the seniority rationale does make some sense. I doubt Governor Perry cares about giving someone like Roland Gutierrez a leg up, but I suppose you never know.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on January 31, 2008 to That's our Lege