Deaths: Sen. Mario Gallegos, D-Houston, of liver disease more than five years after receiving a liver transplant. The 22-year state legislator and former firefighter was 62. He was best known as a stalwart Democrat — the legislator so determined to block a voter ID bill in 2007 that he recovered from his liver transplant in a room next to the Senate chamber, where he could be counted against the bill if it was brought up for a vote. He was still at it to the end: Check his sentiments on public school vouchers at the top of Quotes of the Week.
Gallegos remains on the ballot and if voters reelect him in that overwhelmingly Democratic district, the governor will call a special election to replace him. Gallegos will be memorialized and buried this weekend, but quiet jockeying for his seat has already begun. State Rep. Carol Alvarado and former Harris County Commissioner Sylvia Garcia are among the names mentioned and that list could grow after the mourning is over and politics becomes more seemly.
There is a Republican on the ballot: R.W. Bray, driving out of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina was the only opponent signed up against the incumbent.