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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has set Tuesday, Feb. 17 as the runoff election date for the Senate and House seats being vacated by state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte and state Rep. Mike Villarreal, the two leading candidates in the San Antonio mayor’s race. Early voters will have five days, Feb. 9-13, to cast their ballots.
Villarreal, who launched his mayoral campaign last July, already has vacated his seat, choosing not to be sworn into office for a new term this month after winning re-election in November. Van de Putte, who is halfway through a four-year term, will resign her Senate seat once her successor is elected.
Two Democrats, state Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer and state Rep. José Menéndez, face each other in the District 26 Senate runoff. Martinez Fischer won 43% of the vote in first round, while Menéndez won 25%.
Former City Councilmember Diego Bernal, the Democratic candidate, faces Republican Nunzio Previtera in the District 123 House runoff. Bernal won 47% in the first round voting, while Previtera won 21%.
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Voters in House District 17, which runs east of I-35, from south of San Antonio through Bastrop to north of Austin, also will go to the polls on Feb. 17 to pick a successor for Rep. Tim Kleinschmidt, a Republican who won re-election and then announced he was stepping down to become general counsel for the Texas Department of Agriculture. Two fellow Republicans, John Cyrier and Brent Golemon, finished first and second in a field of five candidates in the Jan. 6 election.
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The runoff winners will be sworn into office after final voting results are canvassed, and could take their seats in the recently opened session of the Texas Legislature by the end of the month.
For more election information, including voting locations, visit www.bexar.org/elections.
*Featured/top image: Diego Bernal (left photo) and Trey Martinez Fischer (right photo) at their respective election watch parties on Jan. 6, 2015. Photos by Al Rendon.