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Santa Perry Gives the Gift of Three Special Elections

Also, freshman Hurd scores a rare subcommittee chairmanship, and Empower Texans will factor the speaker vote in its legislative scorecard.

Christmas tree grower Marshall Cathey, center, and his family from Denison, TX arrive via horse-drawn carriage at the Texa...

And on the 12th day of Christmas, Gov. Rick Perry gave Texas a trio of special elections.

That’s right, the governor has selected Jan. 6, or the Day of the Epiphany on the Christian liturgical calendar, to fill upcoming vacancies in two San Antonio legislative seats — the SD-26 and the HD-123 seats belonging to mayoral candidates Leticia Van de Putte and Mike Villarreal — and the HD-17 seat belonging to Tim Kleinschmidt, R-Lexington, who is leaving to become general counsel at the Texas Department of Agriculture.

For the districts, it means residents won’t go too long before knowing who their new representatives will be. But for the prospective candidates, it means that any hopes they would have time to celebrate the holidays have now been officially quashed.

Would-be candidates for all three seats have until Monday at 5 p.m. to file to run. Early voting begins the following Monday, or just 10 days from now.

“This is breathtaking,” Steven Rivas, a spokesman for SD-26 candidate Sylvia Romo, told the San Antonio Express-News. “It’s not often we see campaign signs next to Santa Claus on people’s lawns.”

Romo is a recent addition to the field, announcing on Tuesday her intent to run. The entry of the former county tax assessor-collector immediately raised the odds of a runoff in the contest that already features sitting representatives Trey Martinez Fischer and Jose Menéndez.

The HD-123 contest also features some heavy hitters on the San Antonio political scene. Former City Councilman Diego Bernal, public relations consultant Melissa Aguillon, former City Councilman Walter Martinez and State Republican Executive Committeeman Nunzio Previtera have all said they are running for the seat.

In the contest to represent HD-17, which covers several Central Texas counties east of Austin, two Republicans — Brent Golemon and John Cyrier — have announced candidacies.

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U.S. Rep.-elect Will Hurd, R-San Antonio, announced on Thursday that he has been tapped to chair a House subcommittee on information technology. He said that he’s the only incoming freshman to be given a chairmanship.

A former undercover CIA officer, Hurd defeated Democratic incumbent Pete Gallego of Alpine to take the sprawling West Texas-based Congressional District 23.

Hurd also said he’s been picked for a spot on the House Homeland Security Committee, which is chaired by Austin Republican Michael McCaul.

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Empower Texans announced this week that it is modifying its Fiscal Responsibility Index for the upcoming legislative session to take into account the vote for speaker.

From the announcement:

The Fiscal Responsibility Index will now reflect, positively or negatively, the actions of the winning Speaker candidate as a part of the ratings of those members supporting that candidate ... At the end of the session, members who vote for the winning speaker candidate will receive positive ratings boosts for those priority issues that receive a vote on the House floor. Similarly, negative points will be assigned to members who vote for the winning speaker candidate for each priority issue that does not receive House floor consideration.

Empower Texans is promoting a challenge to Speaker Joe Straus by rising sophomore state Rep. Scott Turner, R-Frisco.

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In inauguration news, the inaugural team has named its leadership team: Ardon Moore of Fort Worth (Chairman); Alejandra de la Vega Foster of El Paso and Toni Brinker Pickens of Dallas (Co-Chairs); and John Nau of Houston and Trevor Rees-Jones of Dallas (Finance Co-Chairs).

Also, the 2015 Inaugural Committee now has a website.

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