Updated, Jan. 23, 2:35 p.m.:
Gov. Greg Abbott announced Friday that Feb. 17 will be the runoff date for three special elections — Senate District 26, House District 17 and House District 123. Early voting will begin on Feb. 9 and go through Feb. 13.
Original story, Jan.6:
Texas voters will still be sifting through candidates to fill out the legislative roster after the Legislature convenes next week.
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All three of Tuesday’s special legislative elections are headed for runoffs, according to unofficial numbers from the secretary of state’s website. While a clear leader emerged in each race, no one broke the required 50 percent threshold needed to avoid a runoff in three crowded elections — Senate District 26, House District 17 and House District 123.
In HD-123, Diego Bernal, a Democrat and former San Antonio city councilman, led the pack with 47 percent of the vote. Trailing in second was Republican Nunzio Previtera, who runs an insurance agency with his wife, with 21 percent of the vote. Bernal received a lackluster endorsement from the San Antonio Express-News earlier this week.
“…None of the major party candidates demonstrated thorough enough knowledge of the issues facing the Legislature to show serious preparation for the job,” the paper wrote on Monday. “However, former City Councilman Diego Bernal is obviously the best choice.”
In SD-26, Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, D-San Antonio, was headed to a runoff against Rep. José Menéndez, D-San Antonio. Martinez Fischer, a San Antonio attorney who has served in the Texas House since 2001, had 44 percent of the vote with 91 percent of the precincts reporting. Menéndez, the vice president of a local licensing firm and also a representative in the Texas House since 2001, had 25 percent of the vote.
And in HD-17, two Republicans will face each other in a runoff. John Cyrier, a general contractor, received 46 percent of the vote while Brent Golemon, a local businessman and an entrepreneur, received 24 percent of the vote.
Special elections in SD-26 and HD-123 were triggered when Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, and Rep. Mike Villarreal, D-San Antonio, both announced they were running for San Antonio mayor. Meanwhile, a special election was triggered for HD-17 when state Rep. Tim Kleinschmidt, R-Lexington, resigned his seat for a job in the agriculture department.