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San Antonio Special Election Likely Headed to Runoff

It's likely that no candidate will clear 50 percent in the special election for the unexpired seat in Texas House District 120, voters will be asked to come to the polls again this summer for — yes — an extra special election.

Ruth Jones McClendon (c), D-San Antonio, and Sylvester Turner, D-Houston, criticize Republican Senators and Gov. Rick Perry …

Members of Texas House District 120, in east San Antonio, went to the polls today to vote in a special election — hoping to find a candidate to step in and fill the remainder of former state Rep. Ruth Jones McClendon's term, which ends in January.

But because it is likely that no candidate will clear 50 percent in the race for the unexpired seat, voters will be asked to come to the polls again this summer for — yes — an extra special election.

According to Gilbert Saiz, a Bexar County election coordinator, the runoff will likely take place this summer. As a result, the winner will ultimately only serve for a few months before handing the seat over at the start of the 2017 regular legislative session.

Although District 120 has over 127,500 legal adults in its boundaries, only 2,000 showed up to vote in the special election. This was a disappointment to independent candidate Laura Thompson, who got the biggest share of the votes — roughly 650 ballots, with 95 percent of precincts reporting.

"I didn't want a runoff, but I'm willing to work for it," Thompson told The Texas Tribune. "I'm just thankful and humble to get the votes that I got."

Lou Miller, who was second with 29 percent of the vote, did not respond to requests for comment. 

Over the course of the evening, Thompson and Miller kept a steady lead over Chris Dawkins and LaTronda Darnell. Dawkins told the Tribune he planned to concede, while Darnell could not be reached for comment.

Members of Texas House District 139, in northwest Houston, also went to the polls Saturday elect a new state representative to replace Sylvester Turner. Turner stepped down from his seat after the legislative session in order to serve as the mayor of Houston. 

In District 139, Houston entrepreneur Jarvis Johnson maintained a massive lead over Rickey Tezino, a teacher. With all precincts reporting, Johnson captured more than 85 percent of the vote. Johnson and Tezino could not be reached for comment.

The results of Saturday's contest might help Johnson, whose name will appear on the ballot again in the runoff election on May 24. Johnson, who is hoping to stick around for the 85th Legislative session, will face social worker and activist Kimberly Willis in that race.

Last week, Johnson said his campaign team is already looking ahead to the May 24 election. Although running in two simultaneous elections for the same exact seat has been a challenge, Johnson told the Tribune he has made it a priority to educate voters. 

"We’re out phone banking, we’ve done mailers, we’ve done robocalls, knocked on doors — and we’ve expressly said to constituents, 'we know this is confusing,'" he said.

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