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Elizabeth Ames Jones

Catching up on some older stuff: The State House is down to 149 members as Elizabeth Ames Jones (R, San Antonio) declined her seat after being named to the state Railroad Commission.

On the morning she was to be sworn in to her third state House term, San Antonio Republican Elizabeth Ames Jones confirmed that she was declining her seat to fill a vacancy on the powerful Railroad Commission, a springboard to higher office.

“It’s a very bittersweet day for me,” Jones said as her House colleagues prepared to take their oath of office on the opening day of the 79th Texas Legislature. “I felt like this was an opportunity I could not pass up.”

In accepting Gov. Rick Perry’s appointment to the three-member commission, Jones, 48, a two-term House member and the daughter of a wealthy San Antonio oilman who “grew up in an oil patch,” becomes one of the state’s brightest Republican stars.


Jones has long been involved in Republican politics. In 1980, she worked with Karl Rove, believed to be the mastermind behind President Bush’s rise to political prominence, on behalf of then-Gov. Bill Clements.

“We cut our teeth in politics,” Jones said of herself and Rove.

A name to watch for the future, I suppose. Via Vince, who did a lot of Googling for more info about her.

A special election to replace Jones has been set for February 5. This is a strongly Republican district – Jones ran unopposed in 2004 and had only a Green Party opponent (who got 10%) in 2002. Nonetheless, Andrew hints that someone from the Democratic side will make a race of it. This article suggests a couple of names.

Until an election is scheduled, no one can officially declare their candidacy. But four politically connected people have expressed interest in the seat: Democrats Melissa Kazen and Chip Haass and Republicans Joe Straus III and George Pierce.

The district, which stretches from Olmos Park northeast to Windcrest and north past Loop 1604, is considered a Republican stronghold.

In the six general elections up to 2002, District 121 voters have consistently voted for Republican candidates in higher percentages than the rest of the state for all major statewide offices.

“That is a very Republican district,” said U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith, R-San Antonio, whose district largely overlaps the House seat. “I can’t see a Democrat winning the seat.”

Nevertheless, some Democrats consider the district winnable and are contemplating a run, hoping that strong name identification and a quickly mounted grass-roots operation will be key given the short time frame of a special election.

The election has already been set; this is apparently an update to earlier versions of this story, one of which mentions former State Supreme Court Justice Rose Spector as a possible candidate. It’s all a little confusing, but I’m sure we’ll know for certain who’s running soon enough. Given that the election is the day before the Super Bowl and that the campaign season will be three weeks long, this ought to be a tiny-turnout election, and as such anything could happen. I’m not expecting much, but there’s more randomness in a race like this than in a normal election. And isn’t that potential for chaos what makes observing politics fun?

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  1. Justice Rose Spector Looking to Run in HD121

    Andrew noted earlier that a high-profile Democrat had plans to step up to run for the House seat being vacated by Elizabeth Ames Jones, who was appointed by Rick Perry to the Railroad Commission. Now, we hear that former State…

  2. Chris says:

    Is it just me or does the sentence “the daughter of a wealthy San Antonio oilman who “grew up in an oil patch,”” seem an oxymoron or just plain old contrived.

  3. mary says:

    i think it is amazing what this woman is doing. she seems to be working so hard and putting forth an effort (which is more than I can say for myself and for most people, I’m sure) to stand up for what she believes in and to actually work for it instead of waiting around for something to come to her. Congrat’s Mrs. Ames Jones! We are rooting for you!

  4. joe ray says:

    The section and appointment of Elizabeth Ames Jones to the Texas Railroad Commission was not because of her experience and understanding of the problems of the independent oil operators in Texas, but using this very important state agency as a “stepping stone” for higher office.

    This is just another abuse of position and power by the “Insiders” to take another right from the average person, whether that person is a republican or not(as I am).