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Special Elections in May Explained

Special Elections in May Explained

Are you ready for Election Day tomorrow (May 7, 2016)?

Maybe you’re asking yourself: “Wasn’t Election Day back in November – and didn’t Texas already have its primary?” Well, that would be correct. But there’s a special election Saturday – and then another one a few weeks after that. Let’s explain: it all breaks down into short term versus long term.

First, the short term:

This whole thing stems from last December when Sylvester Turner was elected Mayor of Houston. He took office in January and had to give up his job in the Texas House. So suddenly Mayor Turner’s seat in District 139 is empty.

Saturday’s special election decides who’s going to serve out the rest of his term, which ends this coming January.

Now, the long term:

What happens after January? Who’ll represent the district from then on – aka the next two years? Well, because no Republicans have registered to run in that race, the longer-term future of District 139 will be decided May 24 — that’s the primary runoff for that race.

Here’s where it gets complicated: There’s only one candidate running on both the May ballots. So it’s possible one person could represent the district until January and then a different one could take it from there. Or it could be the same person the whole way.

So the short-term is determined Saturday. The long term is determined May 24.

The job could be a little different in the short term versus the long. There’s not much officially going on in the short term – unless the governor decides to call a special session. Whoever’s in place for the long term would serve during the next regular session of the legislature, beginning Jan. 10, 2017.

About the Author

Michael Hagerty

Michael HagertyMichael Hagerty is the Senior Producer for Houston Matters. He has a degree in journalism from Abilene Christian University and has served as news director for NPR and PBS stations around Texas and The West, including: KUNR-FM in Reno, Nev.; KNPB-TV in Reno, Nev.; and KWBU-TV/FM in Waco, Texas. He got his start on the air as a college student hosting Morning Edition at KACU-FM in Abilene, Texas. A native of the Chicago area and an avid Cubs fan, Michael spent four seasons as the public address announcer for the Reno Aces, the Triple-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks.View all posts by Michael Hagerty →