Early voting starts Monday, Sept. 10 in the special election for the Texas Senate District 19 seat formerly held by convicted felon Carlos Uresti. Early voting runs through Friday, Sept. 14. Election day is Tuesday, Sept. 18.
Former Congressman and State Representative Pete Gallego (D-Alpine) faces retired Game Warden Peter Flores (R-Pleasanton) to fill the vacant unexpired term of Uresti, who resigned earlier this summer. The term expires at the end of 2020.
Gallego and Flores emerged as the top two finishers among a field of eight hopefuls in July’s special election. Flores topped all candidates with 34 percent of the vote, but failed to gain the 50 percent required to win the election outright.
It has been a quick campaign as Texas Governor Gregg Abbott, a Republican, scheduled the Run-Off Election for Sept. 18, giving the candidates about a six-week campaign window across a sprawling District 19 that is the state’s geographically largest, including all or part of 17 counties from Bexar (San Antonio) on the east to Pecos and Brewster on the west. It covers more than 35,000 square miles including 400 miles of the U.S.-Mexican border. The district’s population is about 800,000 people.
Gallego faces a new challenge to his candidacy after the Texas state Republican Party filed a complaint against him with the FBI over his residency.
According to Austin lawyer Trey Trainor, the complaint was filed after consulting with the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Texas. At the core of the allegation is information Gallego provided on loan paperwork for a house in Austin owned by Gallego and his wife.
“He received a loan on it in both 2000 and then again in 2009, both times saying that it would be where he would reside. And he’s told the secretary of state he resides in Alpine,” Trainor told Texas Public Radio.
Gallego says he lives in Alpine, which is within the sprawling 19th District.
Gallego served as a U.S. congressman for Congressional District 23 and as a state representative for House District 74, both of which overlap the same area of the state covered by Senate District 19.
Earlier this month, a state district judge in Travis County denied the Republican Party’s request that would’ve temporarily kept Gallego’s name off the ballot.
“They lost at the courthouse and they lost at the secretary of state’s office, and now they are looking for another venue, and I think desperation does terrible things to people,” Gallego told Texas Public Radio.