The Future Of Mario Gallegos' Senate Seat

The passing of State Senator Mario Gallegos leaves a lot of questions about who will represent Senate District 6 in the future. Gallegos is expected to win re-election because it's too late to remove his name from the ballot

 

State Senate District 6 leans heavily Democratic, which means although Mario Gallegos has died, the election will likely go to him posthumously through straight party voting.

If Gallegos does win, Governor Rick Perry will have to call a special election to fill the seat.

Rice University Political Science Professor Mark Jones says he could do that very quickly and get someone new elected by the end of the year.

"Of if he chose to drag the process out, he could likely delay the arrival of the new senator until late April, when the session is almost over. It ends at the end of May."

Jones says the outcome of another election could affect what happens in Senate District 6.  

Up in Fort Worth, there's a heated contest between incumbent State Senator Wendy Davis, a Democrat, and Republican challenger State Representative Mark Shelton.

The outcome of that race will affect the balance of power in the state senate.

"Things become very interesting if Davis loses and her opponent, the Republican Mark Shelton wins, because then there are very strong incentives for Governor Perry to delay this process as long as possible so that Republicans will have a two-thirds majority in the senate for as long a time as possible."

On the other hand, if Davis wins reelection, the Democrats will already have enough votes to block legislation and there would be no political advantage to delaying an election in District 6.  

Carol Alvarado and Sylvia Garcia are considered frontrunners as candidates to win the seat whenever the Governor does call an election, although neither one has announced intentions to run.

Bio photo of Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...