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San Antonio Mayor's Race Could Spark Political Shuffle

State Reps. Trey Martinez Fischer and José Menéndez both said Monday they will consider running for Leticia Van de Putte’s seat in the Texas Senate if she leaves it behind for the top spot in San Antonio.

State Reps. José Menéndez (left) and Trey Martinez Fischer, both Democrats from San Antonio, are seeking the Texas Senate seat vacated by Leticia Van de Putte, who is running for mayor of San Antonio.

Election season may not be over just yet in San Antonio, where a game of legislative musical chairs could begin if state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte launches a bid for mayor.

A day after Van de Putte seemed to leave the door open for a mayoral bid, state Reps. Trey Martinez Fischer and José Menéndez both said Monday they'll consider running for Van de Putte’s Texas Senate seat if she steps down.

“I definitely am seriously considering that possibility,” Menéndez told The Texas Tribune, emphasizing that Van de Putte’s departure was still a hypothetical. “Obviously, if she chose to go into a different situation, someone has to step up.”

Menéndez, first elected to the Texas House in 2000, said he shares Van de Putte’s interest in helping veterans, noting that he chairs the House Defense and Veterans’ Affairs Committee, which “mirrors” Van de Putte’s leadership of the Senate's veterans affairs committee.

Martinez Fischer, also elected in 2000, hinted in a Twitter post Sunday night that a Senate run was on his radar. He confirmed that interest in a statement early Monday.

"If Senator Van de Putte chooses to continue her service to our community by entering the race for San Antonio Mayor, I will give serious consideration to asking the voters of Senate District 26 to allow me to be their voice in the Senate,” Martinez Fischer said.

Martinez Fischer, a Democratic firebrand, appeared at many of Van de Putte's events during her unsuccessful campaign for lieutenant governor.

The speculation about Van de Putte's political ambition comes on the heels of her loss to Republican state Sen. Dan Patrickwho will preside over the Senate when the Legislature convenes in January.

Van de Putte said on Sunday that she has received calls from business and community leaders asking her to “play a new role” as mayor of her hometown, but she clarified in a statement that she had not made a decision.

"At this time, I am enjoying my family and praying for guidance,” she said.

Van de Putte, who has two years left in her term, was previously mentioned as a possible candidate for the mayor’s office, but she quickly sought to quiet those rumors.

“Under no circumstance will I be running for mayor of San Antonio. I will be in the Senate come January 2015,” Van de Putte said at the time.

If Van de Putte does run for mayor, she will be facing another state legislator. State Rep. Mike Villarreal has been setting up his mayoral campaign since May, after Julián Castro left the office to become U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

San Antonio Councilwoman Ivy Taylor was appointed mayor after that, but has since said she is not running for office next year.

Last week, Villarreal resigned his seat in the next legislative session in a letter sent to Gov. Rick Perry in hopes that Perry would call a special election to fill his seat as early as December. 

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Politics State government José Menéndez Texas Legislature Trey Martinez Fischer