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Four Democrats Square Off in Special Election for Menéndez's Seat

Voters head to the polls Tuesday in San Antonio in what is expected to be the last of several special elections to fill empty seats in the Texas Legislature.

Vote signs outside of early voting locations in Austin on Feb. 23, 2014.

Voters head to the polls Tuesday in San Antonio in what is expected to be the last in a string of special elections to replace members of the Texas Legislature. 

On the ballot in House District 124 are four Democrats looking to fill the seat formerly held by José Menéndez, who last month won a promotion to the Texas Senate. The heavily Democratic district covers a swath of San Antonio's West Side.

A single front-runner has not emerged in the abbreviated race, which Gov. Greg Abbott scheduled a few weeks ago. The low-key contest is expected to go to a runoff between the two highest vote-getters. 

Delicia Herrera is seen as the best-known candidate in the race as a former member of the San Antonio City Council whose district overlapped part of HD-124. She has touted her familiarity with the district's unique issues, particularly when it comes to education and transportation. 

Former Bexar County prosecutor Ina Minjarez has captured some of the more high-profile endorsements in the race, including those of the San Antonio Express-News editorial board and Annie's List, a political group working to elect more Democratic women in Texas. Among her priorities are more funding for public education and improvements to infrastructure.

Nathan Alonzo, legislative director of the San Antonio Professional Fire Fighters Association, has racked up labor endorsements as he positions himself as a champion of the working class. He is running on a platform of public safety, economic development and tax relief.

Rounding out the ballot is David Rosa, an insurance agent who unsuccessfully challenged U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, as a Republican in 2012. This time around, Rosa is emphasizing his Democratic Party credentials by noting he was "raised a Democrat in Mayor Richard J. Daley's Chicago." 

Minjarez has proven to be the strongest fundraiser of the four candidates, taking in just over $32,700 as of March 21, according to state records. Alonzo, however, headed into the last week of the race with the largest war chest — just over $9,900.

Turnout is expected to be very low. The district is home to tens of thousands of voters, though just 848 of them cast ballots during the five days of early voting last week, according to the Bexar County Elections Department.

Tuesday marks the sixth special election since December. Once HD-124 picks a new representative, the Legislature will have filled all of its vacant seats. 

Polls in HD-124 are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday.

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