Texas runoffs close out 2019’s special state legislative elections

On January 28, three districts in the Texas House of Representatives held general runoff elections to fill seats that were vacated in 2019. Races in Districts 28, 100, and 148 advanced to general runoffs following the general election on November 5, 2019. None of the seats changed party control as a result of the special runoffs.

  • The District 28 seat became vacant after Rep. John Zerwas (R) resigned effective September 30, 2019, to take a position with the University of Texas System. Gary Gates (R) defeated Elizabeth Markowitz (D) in the runoff with 58.0% of the vote.
  • The District 100 seat became vacant after Eric Johnson (D) was elected to serve as mayor of Dallas on June 8, 2019. Lorraine Birabil (D) defeated James Armstrong III (D) in the runoff with 66.3% of the vote. The special election for this seat was the only one of the night to be between two candidates of the same party.
  • The District 148 seat became vacant after Jessica Farrar (D) resigned on September 30, 2019. Anna Eastman (D) defeated Luis LaRotta (R) in the runoff with 65.5% of the vote.

All three newly elected members will serve the remainder of the previous occupants’ unexpired terms, which end in January 2021. They have all filed for election in the regular election on November 3, 2020. A primary is scheduled for March 3, 2020. The challengers they each faced in the special runoff elections have also all filed for the same seats in the regular election, meaning all three will or could face a rematch in either the primary or the general.

In 2019, 77 state legislative special elections were held in 24 states. Between 2011 and 2018, an average of 77 special elections took place each year. Eight state legislative seats changed hands in special elections in 2019—five from Democrats to Republicans, two from Republicans to Democrats, and one from a Republican to an independent.

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Additional reading:
State legislative special elections, 2019
State legislative special elections, 2020
State legislative vacancies, 2019