Four Democrats officially are in the running for Texas House District 124, the Bexar County seat that opened up with José Menéndez's promotion last month to the upper chamber.
Candidates for the March 31 special election to replace the San Antonio Democrat include firefighter Nathan Alonzo, former San Antonio City Councilwoman Delicia Herrera and attorney Ina Minjarez. Rounding out the ballot is David Rosa, an independent insurance agent who unsuccessfully ran in 2012 as a Republican against U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio.
Manuel Medina, chairman of the Bexar County Democratic Party, said Herrera could be considered the early favorite given her relatively high name recognition in the district. Calling a runoff likely, Medina suggested the race could turn into a repeat of the bitter contest that sent Menéndez to the Senate instead of another San Antonio Democrat, state Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer.
"It will allow a contested runoff between two Democrats that will differentiate themselves in style somewhat like in the Senate race," Medina said, offering some advice for the new candidates. "You consolidate your base and then you reach out to independents and Republicans because they vote in special elections, too."
The district, which covers a western patch of Bexar County, easily re-elected Menéndez six times since he captured the seat in 2000. Whoever wins the special election will finish the two-year term he won in November.
Early voting in HD-124 runs from March 23 through March 27.